The healthcare system is in the eye of the COVID-19 storm, generating massive amounts of data and patient information that could be used on a wider scale for research and analysis to better understand the virus, its spread, and treatment. The problem is there isn’t enough interoperability across the healthcare system to make it work, and organizations are largely left to deal with disparate data pools, creating massive inefficiency and less comprehensive data.
In addition, we’ve already seen the risk outdated infrastructure poses to patient data from the number of healthcare breaches over the past few years. The centralized nature of existing infrastructure also makes interoperability harder to achieve across healthcare providers, limiting their ability to develop optimal response strategies. The U.S. has already been widely criticized for its pandemic response.
HashCash Consultants is looking to change that by leveraging its blockchain network, HC Net, to record COVID-19 patient records. The company says the blockchain solution will increase patient data security while also driving interoperability that will help streamline the healthcare process and drive more effective pandemic response.
The project is built on the scalability and immutability of HC Net, allowing multiple healthcare providers to store their data on the distributed network, where they can be processed, authenticated, stored, and mined by any parties with the appropriate credentials. Cryptographic encryption will ensure data security and privacy of the information, while blockchain’s immutability will ensure the information, once recorded, cannot be changed. Any change will be recorded as a new entry in the distributed ledger, creating a permanent audit trail.
While the initial plan is to build out the solution specifically for COVID-19, the ultimate goal is to extend the technology to all medical records and patient management systems.
There’s no question the lack of interoperability is a challenge for the healthcare system. A successful blockchain project could set the stage for a massive overhaul of the healthcare system and eliminate much of the inefficiency that has plagued the system for years. That’s on top of driving more effective COVID-19 research and response in the shorter term.