With hacking attacks on the rise, healthcare organisations need to beef up measures to ensure better protection of sensitive patient data. Infosec teams may find the emerging Blockchain technology helpful in tackling the hacking threat. Blockchain is seeing growing support because of its capabilities to offer impregnable security.
The technology may be new but Blockchain incorporates a lot of older security standards like the Secure Hash Algorithm 256 (SHA), developed by the United States National Security Agency (NSA). Each Blockchain will need to go through a security-hardening period.
A project to develop Blockchain use in healthcare security is being undertaken by the Austin, Texas-based tech company Factom. The project is supported by a grant from The Gates Foundation.
"We are building a decentralised medical record management system that will help doctors, clinics, and patients manage their records in countries that do not have the EHR [electronic health record] infrastructure," Factom co-founder & CMO Tiana Laurence told HealthManagement.org.
Hospital administrators often complain about doing a lot of paperwork, redundant record keeping, and compliance requirements. These are all opportunities that Blockchain technology could be used to streamline, said Laurence.
"Blockchains enable as near permanent data as there has ever been. System administrators can create snap shots of their systems at a simple level. There are many more complicated things that can be done through Data Access Objects (DAOs), smart contracts and chaincode," she explained.
Currently, a number of Blockchain projects are going through testing. Laurence thinks it may be two or more years before we see software integrations in the public domain.
Besides its ongoing project with The Gates Foundation, Factom is also working on a project securing Internet of Things (IoT) devices for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. "IoT devices are another source of vulnerability in the healthcare market," Laurence noted.
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