Application of Blockchain Technology in Healthcare
What is blockchain technology?Initially emerged as an alternative for traditional online payment methods, blockchain brings excessive transparency and security in data storage. This technology provides a way to store data in a dynamic collection of blocks. Each new block connects to the previous one making an unending chain.
Each stakeholder with access to the chain can view the information stored in blocks. However, information is immutable. In essence, the data in blocks is represented by hashes which disallow modifications. Thus, unlike traditional databases in hospitals, banks, and other institutions, there is no centralized authority in the blockchain.Although blockchain can also be public, as in the case of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, yet healthcare requires private blockchain. In this approach, the blocks are accessible to only a limited number of people and groups associated with the department. Every node in the chain takes part in decision making. Thus, a modification in any block will require approval from all nodes.Another factor making blockchain crucial for healthcare is its high degree of fault tolerance. Since this information storage scheme follows distributed rather than a centralized approach, the information will be accessible even if multiple nodes are down or unavailable.Some businesses are also trying to utilize blockchain as an analytics platform and to address large storage issues. However, the technology proved its mettle the most in ensuring data security since its advent in 2009.