Healthcare Blockchain Companies… Why do we need them?
Over the past decade personal health information has been, and still continues to be collected by various “touch points” throughout a persons journey to lead a healthy life. When your sick, you see the doctor. That visit is recorded into a medical record and only (easily) accessed by that health network. It becomes difficult for a patient to access my health online or another doctor to get visibility into those records. Often it requires written consent and a fax machine to successfully share the relevant personal health information.
Now, we live in a world where other aspects of our health are being tracked on a more granular level. The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT – connected fitness) devices are gathering information across numerous third party applications more than ever. Even in 2018, there is no easy way to share this important data and achieve meaningful use. As more IoT and IoMT sensors light up across the landscape of “smart” gyms, medical clinics and other fitness related activity tracking devices there needs to be a better way to securely bring all that data to a single source of truth, and provide value based care with it.
Why is this so important?
It’s much more than convenient access to health data. The effects of poor and mismanaged personal data can lead to several critical issues…
The healthcare industry has the most frequently targeted cyber attacks, with 164 threats detected per 1,000 host devices, according to a recent Vectra Networks study. “The data shows that healthcare is consistently targeted and attackers can easily evade perimeter defenses,” the Vectra Networks report states.
Vectra notes that the healthcare industry has seen a significant increase in the number of Internet-connected devices due to the expanding footprint of IoT and IoMT devices in hospitals. “These unsecured devices are easy targets for cyber-criminals,” the report states.
A recent Ponemon Institute survey of 242 medical device manufacturers and 262 healthcare delivery organizations (HDOs) found that 67 percent of manufacturers and 56 percent of HDOs believe an attack on a medical device built by or in use by their organizations is likely within the next 12 months.
According to FortiGuard Labs, almost half of the top 10 threats were triggered by botnets, some of which leveraged compromised IoT devices. IoT exploits now comprise two of the top 10 application vulnerability exploits in healthcare. New attacks span malware families and swarm to target multiple attack vectors simultaneously, making them more difficult to prevent. This trend towards multiple, simultaneous attacks is likely to spread to IoMT devices as well.
Healthcare data breaches are devastating for any healthcare organization, and the subsequent recovery costs are very expensive. Implementing new tools to aid in prevention and detection measures are not cheap, but not taking necessary steps to head off potential issues will likely result in more expensive recovery costs and data privacy concerns.
The Ponemon study shows that stolen healthcare records cost the most. As of 2017, a single compromised record can cost an organization up to $380 each. Just to put that into perspective, back in 2016, Banner Health was attacked and over 3.7 million patient records were stolen. At $380 a piece, that’s a serious problem.
It makes you pause to question, “How secure is my health online?”
Duplicate patient records can cost organizations $96 each and the cost of repeated tests or delayed treatments caused by duplicate records can add another $1,100 per patient.
The overall impact of the duplicate records problem isn’t just financial. More than 100,000 people die annually because of patient information mismatches.
Missing or incorrect information in duplicate medical records can cause severe injuries, illness, insurance claim issues and even death. Duplicate medical records and data overlap also tends to effect reimbursement, administrative inefficiencies, resource drains, liability concerns, and perhaps most significantly, compromised care delivery and threats to patient safety.
Many of these fatalities are the result of duplicate patient records & data mismatches. As the use of EHR/EMR has grown over the past decade, so has the problem of integrating patient records across different IT systems.
These issues noted above tend to further effect the increase in administrative inefficiencies & resource drain. The ripple effect creates a healthcare system that lacks interoperability, security and leads to higher costs to deliver the worst service. These are all symptoms of an underlying illness across the health systems of the world. The ‘centralized’ architecture of these fragmented data silos are like a virus. It has spread and taken up residence in the same house that holds all of our health data. It has been a weight on the industry for decades. In order to resolve these issues and mitigate cyber security threats, I think it’s time to put the control back into the hands of the people.
All of us hold a complex and unique biological database. Collecting that data and extrapolating meaningful insight will also pave the way for advanced precision medicine and usher in a world of personalized healthcare.
I believe this centralized “walled garden” of an architecture is a poor methodology that has lead to overwhelming cyber attacks, wasted spending and inefficiencies that drive up the cost of healthcare & put peoples data at risk.
Ok. So, what is a Healthcare Blockchain anyway?
A Blockchain is a digital ledger in which transactions made in digital tokens or cryptocurrency are recorded chronologically and publicly. These records are highly encrypted and are immutable. This innovation has created a perfect solution to store personal health information records. The wave of new healthcare blockchain companies are now leveraging this technology, sometime referred to as medical blockchains, and Helix3 is at the forefront of these ventures.
Introducing The “Digital Twin” Health Profile
Imagine you didn’t even have to think about it. Systems and devices that you interact with begin pulling data and syncing it with your personalized digital health profile. From your medical records and genetic data all the way to fitness & nutrition information. This data is now in control by you! You decide which clinical trials to participate in. You gain full transparency and control when doctors or companies look at your data. This shift will help usher in a new personalized healthcare ecosystem that is fueled by the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) and health rewards.
Wellness Rewards & Incentives to Drive Healthy Behaviors
Helix3 is one of a few healthcare blockchain startups working on solving these problems. We are unique in that we enable people to live healthier lives through gamification of health. It’s not enough to just store and manage health data on a medical blockchain platform when nearly half (45 percent) of all Americans suffer from at least one chronic disease. More than two-thirds of all deaths are caused by one or more of five chronic diseases: heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and diabetes.
We must incorporate a way to drive outcomes and key results (OKRs) and create a catalyst to move personal health information to a healthcare blockchain. In order to provide a meaningful and engaging product that will be a disruptive innovation, the Helix3 platform has baked in a dynamic health rewards system that allows users to earn digital (HLX) tokens for completing challenges sponsored by your doctor, insurer, local gym and many others in your personal health ecosystem. The HLX tokens can be redeemed for health related products & services in the form of HealthOns (Health and Wellness Discount Coupons) in the Helix3 marketplace.
Our goal is to drive a fundamental change to empower the patient to take control of their health through meaningful data. At the same time, providers and insurers will be able to streamline their process to generate a more efficient, transparent and personalized value-driven healthcare system for the future.