These days, the use of ‘big data’ seems to be the most effective asset in solving complex issues. Big data is required in many areas beyond healthcare, but one of the most relevant examples would be how it’s used to track and trace infections with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Along with artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain has also risen to become one of the healthcare industry’s sought-after technologies. Besides providing accuracy and ensuring privacy, it also gives users more control over their own healthcare data. But first, let’s dive into the relevance of AI, big data, and blockchain in healthcare:
- AI: AI is not just one technology, but rather, an umbrella of technologies with high relevance to healthcare. Machine learning, natural language processing, and robots, are some of the many examples that you might be more familiar with.
- Big data: In healthcare, big data refers to the substantial amount of health data amassed from several sources, such as electronic health records and clinical data. Due to a large amount of information collected, it’s often processed with the help of machine learning.
- Blockchain: Blockchain technology stores healthcare-related operations such as medical records, tracking drug supply chains and more, in secured and fragmented systems that contain a comprehensive amount of data and information. This allows providers to keep an elaborate database of patient information.
We’ve only graced the tip of the iceberg. As we’ll be focusing on blockchain in telehealth, read on to find out more about its uses and benefits.
1. Gives patients control over their personal healthcare information
Besides patients themselves, their medical records stored in blockchain will only be shared with a trusted provider, such as a virtual doctor, once they’ve agreed to it. Anytime the blockchain is updated with new information, the registered devices will receive an updated version of it. However, only those with a private key can access the patient’s health data security, making it almost impossible to hack.
As a result, blockchain can then establish a more streamlined exchange of data if patients were to see a doctor online. And in terms of making changes to the data, patients are in control of who can access their records and who can edit them. Once the change has been authorised, each local copy of the health data will be changed to reflect that. A blockchain approach can help to foster empowerment for individuals regarding their medical history, preserve patient’s privacy and create more accountability across the spectrum.
2. Streamlines identification process of patients
Be it their names, home address, or medical providers, patients may go through various changes in their lives. Hence, ensuring that the patient’s healthcare data follows them throughout their lifelong journey without duplication, deletion, or discrepancies is exceptionally challenging, yet essential to achieve.
Like how a doctor must identify the root cause of a certain illness, it’s also crucial that the medical records are matched correctly to the respective patient. In the case of misidentification, it might lead to a wrong diagnosis, improper treatments and poor patient experience. Hence, blockchain may be the solution to keeping patients and their records together so they can receive the care they need, regardless of the provider.
3. Facilitates the work between different providers
Aside from patients, providers also benefit from having access over a piece of unified information across different teams. Consequently, blockchain technology helps rather than hinder the care coordination process, making the patient’s wellbeing the number one priority – as it should be.
This arose from the main issue that most of these healthcare data are siloed from one another based on individual care providers. Hence, it’s not as readily available by the team of different providers that are engaged in the care of one unique patient.
With blockchain, it centralises your individual healthcare data records. This way, both patients and providers can form a combined effort of a care team through physicians from various facilities. Meanwhile, the responsibility of bringing files back and forth between multiple appointments will be reduced on the patient. Instead, providers can collaborate with one another with the main authority lying in the patient’s hands.
Sometimes, the line between technological innovation and privacy can get blurred. The issue with machine learning lies in its ability to change and evolve with time. But with the implementation of blockchain technology, it empowers patients to take control of their own healthcare data information, alongside the guidance of medical professionals.
SSIVIX Lab’s MyCLNQ app stores encrypted data and only allows authorised owners to access the user’s health records and personal data. Anytime the user is concerned about their privacy, they can be rest assured knowing that we only collect the user’s personal data based on a set of criteria. For instance, when the user seeks the assistance of a private ambulance in Singapore or other healthcare services, we may collect and use the user’s personal data to serve them better. We also tap onto the big data technology using Amazon cloud service for reliable and secure patient data storage, and utilise AI feature for patients to get the earliest available doctor and the best suitable appointment slot. As demand for telehealth grows, we stay on top of technological advances to meet today’s digital healthcare needs.