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Blockchain application in healthcare
Why does the healthcare sector especially hospitals have been slow to upgrade their system software especially considering the fact that they are very prone to external malware/ransomware threats? Can investments in blockchain based operating system be the way forward to ensure the safety of patients' well being?
Blockchain is an innovative technology with a great deal of promise for healthcare system applications. Yet healthcare is just now at the "tip" of the blockchain iceberg in terms of applying the technology to healthcare applications. Traditionally healthcare has underinvested in IT as compared to other industries such as banking, manufacturing, etc. In the U.S. it wasn't until the HITECH and other regulatory acts highly incentivized hospitals and clinicians to move to EHRs. The pace of adoption was fast and the implementation cycles often painful, long, and expensive. And overall there wasn't a big concern about malware because well, it wasn't a problem then. The focus was more on patient data confidentiality and some level of security, although we now know (obviously) that it wasn't enough.
With respect to cybersecurity, many in U.S. healthcare are realizing (often the hard way), that a HIPAA compliance assessment is not the same as a cybersecurity assessment. That is another conversation entirely...
Any future blockchain applications for healthcare need to incorporate the following:
1) seamless integration with existing (expensive) infrastructure. For example, any blockchain solution cannot require a "rip and replace" of a multi-million dollar claims processing or back office administration system. No one has that kind of $.
2) compelling business case with real ROI
3) proven advantages over security risks. I have seen many studies in the last month stating the biggest malware/ransomware risks are from internal issues (i.e., employees opening phising emails, and/or staff not updating server patches in a timely fashion).