Blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies have found extensive application across various sectors, with significant guidance on their utilization within the field of electronic healthcare. IoT devices possess the capability to enable the transmission of real-time sensor data from patients for processing and analysis. However, the utilization of this approach may lead to various challenges, including a single point of failure, lack of trust, data manipulation, tampering, and privacy concerns.
As a result, Blockchain technology has been recently adopted in the healthcare and medical industry. Blockchain can be effectively utilized to address IoT device-related issues by providing shared computing and storage for IoT data. Further, the distributed nature and security features of Blockchain technology make it an extensively desirable technology for resolving security concerns in IoT systems.
So, how exactly is Blockchain technology combined with IoT-based systems? The following blog defines both the technologies (Blockchain and IoT), describes the role of Blockchain and IoT in the healthcare system, and shows how Blockchain and IoT systems will monitor healthcare data.
Blockchain Technology – What is it exactly?
Fundamentally, Blockchain is an extensively distributed digital ledger designed to store various types of information. It has the capacity to capture and store data related to cryptocurrency transactions, ownership of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), as well as decentralized finance (DeFi) smart contracts.
Where traditional databases can also store such information, Blockchain stands out because of its completely decentralized nature. While traditional databases are typically stored in a centralized manner by an administrator, such as an Excel spreadsheet, a Blockchain database consists of numerous identical copies distributed across a network of multiple computers. These individual computers are commonly referred to as nodes.
Here, the digital ledger is frequently characterized as a “chain” comprised of discrete “blocks” of data. At regular intervals, new blocks of information keep on getting attached to the Blockchain. However, before the addition of the new block, the data is verified and validated to confirm its legitimacy. Hence, creating a highly secure network for data storage.
Internet of Things – What does it mean?
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a networked system where various computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, or individuals are assigned unique identifiers (UIDs) and possess the capability to transmit data over a network autonomously with other devices and systems over the internet. IoT connects the physical and digital world using a variety of technologies.
For example, the physical objects are embedded with sensors, such as a fitness-tracking digital watch, which monitors factors like body temperature, heartbeat, etc. These sensors communicate via a wireless or wired network and help in monitoring and managing the health and actions of connected systems and devices.
What is the role of Blockchain and IoT in the health industry?
Blockchain technology and IoT have shown tremendous growth in the healthcare sector. The role of Blockchain and IoT is to bring significant changes to the healthcare system, such as lowering costs, better patient outcomes, better security, good coordination, and interoperability.
The implementation of Blockchain’s distributed ledger technology enables secure transfers of patient medical records, enhances the protection of healthcare information, manages the integrity of the medicine supply chain, and empowers healthcare researchers in unraveling genetic codes. Real-time patient monitoring can be achieved through IoT devices, while Blockchain technology can safeguard the confidentiality and integrity of patient data. By leveraging blockchain, the risk of data breaches can be mitigated, thereby safeguarding sensitive patient information. The decentralized nature of Blockchain and its secure ledger system contribute to upholding the privacy and integrity of patient data.
The healthcare sector can benefit from the potential of Blockchain technology, which offers a secure and unalterable environment for storing and exchanging sensitive healthcare data. By leveraging smart contracts, patient health records can be safeguarded against unauthorized access and tampering. The execution of smart contracts eliminates reliance on third parties and prevents any modification of the predefined rules.
How will Blockchain and IoT help monitor personal healthcare data?
During the unexpected global spread of Covid-19, the shortcomings and limitations of the traditional healthcare system were revealed. It was seen that the traditional healthcare system posed serious risks, such as security and privacy issues while transferring and logging information. However, Blockchain and IoT technologies can be utilized to assist with these issues and help people digitally using smart gadgets.
To monitor patients’ data, IoT-based devices can be utilized for collecting valuable data and providing additional perceptions of behavior and symptoms. Further, Blockchain will enable a highly secure exchange of personal healthcare information, including the medical delivery network. Blockchain technology can be utilized to build a privacy scheme that safeguards patients’ health data to leverage the concept of transparency, nonrepudiation, and tamper resistance.
Blockchains are specifically designed to maintain their unchangeable nature once information is recorded, except if there is backing from 51% of the network for a modification. This remarkable attribute makes Blockchains highly suitable for storing patient medical records since it guarantees the integrity of the data contained within the records, preventing any unauthorized tampering.
Further, the data on a Blockchain is distributed across multiple nodes. There is no centralized structure vulnerable to attacks by malicious users. The presence of numerous copies of the data on different nodes ensures a decentralized and resilient system, making it difficult for any malicious actor to target a single point of failure. Hence, a Blockchain and IoT-based healthcare system is effective for personal data monitoring.
Other Applications of Blockchain and IoT in the Healthcare Industry
- Drug Traceability –
Earlier, drug traceability was being performed in a centralized manner where factors like privacy, authentication of information, and flexibility were not achieved. To resolve these problems of drug traceability, a blockchain-based solution was proposed that will help in authentication and maintaining privacy. For example, a Blockchain-based system enables drug transparency and traceability within the supply chain network.
Further, integrating IoT with Blockchain makes the system more reliable and secure. In the healthcare industry, the primary aim is to minimize counterfeit drugs, which can be eliminated using two technologies (Blockchain and IoT) by enhancing the visibility and traceability of drugs. Blockchain provides enhanced transparency by permanently recording every single transaction on the blockchain, making sure that all modifications are visible to all users.
- Managing Medical Records –
The conventional method of managing medical records needs to be updated from paper to digital records. Blockchain and IoT are employed in the healthcare sector to optimize the utilization of medical resources and improve the quality of patient health.
The implementation of Blockchain and IoT in healthcare applications tackles various limitations, such as security concerns, privacy issues, and the problem of doctors recommending unnecessary medications and tests to patients driven by profit motives.
The convergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) and Blockchain technology has revolutionized the monitoring of personal healthcare data. IoT architecture offers a secure, real-time method for collecting, storing, and sharing healthcare data. Through the utilization of Blockchain technology, data immutability is ensured, safeguarding patient privacy and enabling its utilization for research and other purposes.
This powerful combination empowers individuals to take greater control over their healthcare data, determining access rights and dictating its usage. Furthermore, healthcare providers can leverage this data to gain deeper insights into patients’ conditions, facilitating personalized treatments. This synergy enhances the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of healthcare systems, ultimately leading to improved patient outcomes.
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Last modified on August 21st, 2023 at 12:30 pm