Kali Durgampudi, CTO of payments company Zelis, believes the adoption of blockchain technology is vital to protecting sensitive patient data from cybercriminals.

- Advertisement -

Speaking to Health IT News on July 20, Durgampudi noted that some of the biggest concerns in healthcare are data privacy and security as the industry works to digitize its “archaic paper-based processes.”

- Advertisement -

“Blockchain technology can solve many of these problems,” he said, highlighting the importance of using an “impenetrable” digital ledger to protect sensitive patient data and financial data in the face of a growing number of cyberattacks around the world.

“Because information cannot be changed or copied, blockchain technology greatly reduces security risks, giving hospitals and healthcare IT organizations a much stronger line of defense against cybercriminals.”

- Advertisement -

Durgampudi went on to point out that blockchain technology could also play a key role in healthcare payments as it could help bring greater transparency and efficiency compared to current healthcare payment models. He said many payers and providers were hesitant to share information via email because the emails could be in error and there was no proof of delivery.

“Blockchain provides both payers and providers with complete information about the entire lifecycle of an application, from registering a patient at the front desk to contesting a cost and sending an explanation of benefits,” he added.

Real world usage

One of the largest companies that has worked on blockchain-based healthcare solutions is the multinational tech giant IBM.

The blockchain division of the company has rolled up from several healthcare solutions such as medical certificate verification, Trust Your Supplier service for sourcing verified suppliers, and Transparent Blockchain Supply, which enables temperature-controlled pharmaceutical supply chain traceability.

In March 2021, Cryptooshala reported that IBM was working on testing a COVID-19 vaccination passport dubbed the “Excelsior Pass” in collaboration with former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. The passport was designed to be able to verify a person’s vaccinations or test results using the IBM blockchain.

Blockchain without cryptography: implementation of decentralized technologies

Another key player in blockchain-based healthcare is the VeChain enterprise blockchain. Last June, the project teamed up with Shanghai’s Renji Hospital to launch a blockchain-based in vitro fertilization (IVF) service application.

VeChain also partnered with the Republic of San Marino in July 2021 to launch an NFT-based vaccination passport, which is said to be verifiable worldwide by scanning QR codes linked to the certificate.

David Gia, blockchain investor and Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Oxford, echoed the same sentiments as Durgampudi this week.

In a July 21 blog post on Gia’s Medium underlined that blockchain technology can greatly improve drug traceability and verification, as well as the management of clinical trial data, patient information, and claims/billing.

“The long-term accuracy of medical records, as well as accessibility, is important because it is essential that an individual card can be transferred relatively easily between providers, insurance companies and professionals. If medical records are stored on the blockchain, they can be securely updated in near real time,” he wrote.