With cyber attacks continuously on the rise, key industries are now being forced to leverage new strategies and technologies to ensure that data and assets remain protected. One of the most popular technologies leading this charge is blockchain which is already being utilized within a number of sectors.
The healthcare field in particular has been implementing blockchain as they shift toward a data-centric discipline regarding the integrity, safety and storage of sensitive patient information such as electronic health records (EHRs). However, lax data security among enterprises has made patient information an easy target for cybercriminals, making blockchain the perfect solution.
Electronic patient information might originate from any number of sources — such as healthcare providers, wearable devices, and personal fitness trackers. The Affordable Care Act has mandated and provided funding for healthcare providers to transition into using this information to building electronic health records. However, there’s no official universal protocol for sharing and securing EHRs.
According to the Chamber of Digital Commerce founder, Perrianne Boring, blockchain technology is a potentially highly promising innovation for the healthcare field as it provides an unprecedented level of privacy, security, and verification capabilities.
Locking Down Patient Data
According to the WEF Global Risks Report, the global economy may have suffered $8 trillion in losses because of cybercrime. Blockchain has so far fueled the cryptocurrency industry, and finance, healthcare and real estate leaders see the technology as a possible cybersecurity solution. It can potentially help companies limit their exposure to malicious online actors as well as provide legacy network access management.
One of the leading innovators in blockchain technology has been ALTR. In June 2018, ALTR made a splash in the healthcare scene with its announcement of multi-million-dollar funding to advance is blockchain cybersecurity initiative. The company’s proprietary Altrchain technology, a blockchain derivative, is the first “commercial software package” available for enterprise security. “Our platform monitors all queries that come in and data that flows out,” says Dave Sikora, CEO at ALTR. “This visibility enables organizations to understand deeply the relationship between users and data, as well as identify risks.”
With healthcare and patient data continuing to become a targeted asset for cyber criminals, look for more healthcare organizations to implement similar blockchain technologies into their security strategies to better understand data and identify potential flaws in their security infrastructure.
Forging the Road Ahead
Software as a Service (SaaS), cloud and micro-services, native mobile apps, new digital threat vectors and the Internet of Things (IoT) are all rapidly changing and emerging. To date, blockchain technology that’s suitable for securing highly sensitive data is an extremely rare commodity.
Donor Concierge, a service provider in the fertility industry, revealed in October that it is working with ALTR to secure patient data. The innovative data security acquisition applies blockchain to Frtyl, the world’s largest service that links clinics with parents seeking donated eggs, sperm, embryos and surrogates.. The private blockchain technology is being used to protect highly sensitive health and medical information from unauthorized access.
Furthermore, it provides a tamper-proof record of all data access requests and responses as well as administrative and irregular activity. Their technology provides the “digital truth,” making all stakeholders in the chain trustworthy.
This new application for blockchain technology fragments and replicates data such that cybercriminals find it practically impossible to steal or alter data. . Data engineers designed it to overcome the economic incentive for the theft of private data and end the never-ending cycle of cat and mouse that typically leaves digital information security vendors and professionals on the losing side of the cybersecurity battle.
The Case for Blockchain
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recognizes the potential of blockchain for the security-sensitive healthcare information. To further the advancement of the technology, the agency hosted the HHS Blockchain Challenge, awarding high profile entrants such as Deloitte, IBM, MIT and The Mayo Clinic.
The award winners provided the HHS with possible blockchain solutions for information such as health insurance claims, payment information and Medicaid applications as well as the exchange of data between stakeholders.
In the future, innovative blockchain designs will help enterprises comply with government mandated privacy and trust requirements while providing a cybersecurity framework that’s virtually impenetrable to attack by cybercriminals.
Partnerships such as the Donor Concierge collaboration are one of the first applications for blockchain as a powerful data security framework to support the important work of medicine. According to representatives, the technology will not only keep sensitive data safe, but it will also provide both patients and care providers with peace of mind and a better overall experience.
As research and development continues, expect the use of blockchain technologies to expand beyond healthcare, IoT and finance industries into sectors like education, manufacturing and telecommunications.