The Social Benefits of Blockchain for Health Data: Securing Patient Privacy and Control
A blockchain system for electronic health records (EHRs), framed as a protocol through which to access and maintain health data, guarantees security and privacy through empowering the user with control of their own data. While using a blockchain architecture approaches interoperability through centralization of data, the use of Ethereum’s smart contracts enables an unprecedented ease of data sharing which transcends in simplicity of use and security. Despite this potential, these advancements depend on patients’ ability to own their health data and the establishment of a structure for identity verification. Furthermore, the establishment of these systems is contingent on the ability of patients to navigate these systems with competence. Separate even from patient use, the viability of a blockchain solution is determined by the security and standardization of the existing EHR systems. And aside from the security of a blockchain solution, there are few incentives for individual hospitals to work to make their EHRs accessible through a blockchain, and thus the government must lead this endeavor.
About the Authors
Formerly European Commission, Directorate-General for Research and Technological Development, Directorate on Science, Economy and Society
Science and Technology Innovation Program
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