The phone, tablet, or computer that you’re reading this on has more computing power than the machines that guided the first men to the moon.
Okay, so maybe that’s not shocking. After all, the first mission to the moon was half a decade ago. Of course, we have better computers now. Think about this though: if you have a toaster with a computer controlled start and stop button then your toaster has more computing power than the system that navigated the Apollo ships.
Consider that and the unimaginable amount of transactions and checks we use modern computers for every day and it’s not hard to see that while our current method of computing works, it is extremely inefficient.
Take, for example, your average visit to the doctor. The moment you check in at your doctor’s office there is a chain reaction of transactions as your records are pulled up from your insurer, pharmacist, other doctors, and everyone in between. Given the fact that modern toaster has enough computing power to guide a spaceship to the moon, who knows how many more times computing power you use just to have your medical records checked and updated.
In terms of medical records that’s not just inefficient, it’s dangerous. The more transactions and the more data that is being sent the more opportunities for cybercriminals to find a way to break the process and steal valuable information.
One solution to inefficient and easily hacked medical records already exists though, and providers are hoping that it will shift the momentum in the battle between cybercriminals and the healthcare industry. It’s called Blockchain
A blockchain system in the medical industry would be a game changer for several reasons. The first is that instead of gathering records and information through several transactions, all of that information could be read from one Blockchain and those records would be stored in distributed ledger system. The distributed ledger format would mean that instead of one ransomware attack taking down a whole hospital, it would take several ransomware attacks across different locations and several different networks with unique network security. That means it would be more efficient and safer to retrieve and view medical records in a Blockchain system.
Another benefit of a Blockchain system is that once information is published, it is unalterable. That means that there would be no way for a hacker to change data so they can gain access to various parts of a network. For example, that would make administrative permissions much more difficult for a hacker.
However, Blockchain systems are not without their faults. Take the unalterable data for example. While the data can’t be changed by hackers it also can’t be updated by the people who need it, so the medical industry would need to find an efficient way to update Blockchain data after it has been published without making it vulnerable to a cybercriminal.
The good news is that the resources are there to develop applications that use Blockchain applications. Organizations like the Linux foundation have spearheaded a collaborative effort between 200 other tech companies and organizations to create and support Hyperledger, an open source platform designed to support the creation of applications using Blockchain technology, and that’s great news because it looks like the future of healthcare is changing in Blockchain’s favor.
In 2018, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services intends to transition 50% of Medicare payments from the traditional healthcare model to a value based model. If you’re unfamiliar with value based care, it means that instead of paying a doctor based on the number of visits you have you pay them based on if your health improves. Value based care is focused on the quality of care instead of the quantity, and that means efficiently accessing accurate records could be the difference between whether a healthcare provider gets paid or not.
We still have a long ways to go before value based care or Blockchain become standards of the healthcare industry, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be preparing. After all, what do you have to lose from having or at least being aware of more a more secure and efficient way to access data?
You don’t have to be in the healthcare industry to benefit from the benefits of Blockchain and other cybersecurity developments. Many other organizations, such as schools, are easy targets for ransomware attacks and other kinds of cybercrime. Blockchain may not be the perfect answer for you, but being aware of it could lead you to exactly what you and your business or organization need to survive and increasingly digital and dangerous time to do business.