3 key thoughts on blockchain's potential for healthcare data management

J. Gopal Rao, COO of blockchain and artificial intelligence cancer screening company Lancor Scientific in London, England, discusses how blockchain technology can help share and secure patient data better than ever before.

Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Question: Where is blockchain in healthcare now?

J. Gopal Rao: The increasing prevalence of blockchain technology in the healthcare industry is a function of how increasingly 'data-fied' this industry, and medicine in general, is becoming. Blockchain is a way of coping with the growing quantities of data the healthcare industry is churning out. Not only is healthcare becoming increasingly 'data-fied,' big data has been prevalent in the sector since the beginning. Healthcare is reliant upon hosting patient data on platforms.

There have been several solutions over the years, but I believe that blockchain offers the first scalable, instant and secure network. At its core, blockchain technology allows people to securely host and share data.

Q: How will blockchain technology continue to develop in 2019?

GR: Into 2019, blockchain technology is helping to imagine a process whereby patient data is never lost or unlawfully accessed. Patients can own their data and better manage their healthcare, whilst ensuring that clinicians have a holistic view of existing conditions and treatments.

Q: What do you think will be the most significant blockchain applications in healthcare over the next five years?

GR: Blockchain is and will continue to improve outcomes for health professionals and patients. We are noticing large corporations and governments take real notice of the technology. Support from the Austrian government into a blockchain company like Lancor Scientific at national level will help fast track innovation and allow people to employ digital currencies for everyday use, whether that is for shopping online, paying for mortgage or even managing cancer treatment. Political support of the technology is crucial for its mass adoption.

When it comes to cancer screening, blockchain technology allows for better targeting of at-risk groups because the data available is better. Patients own their own healthcare data when blockchain technology is used so the data has greatly more integrity than can be achieved in other models of data handling.

In summary, blockchain technology will allow for trust in the data throughout the healthcare system by making the patients owners of their own data.

To participate in future Becker's Q&As, contact Jackie Drees at jdrees@beckershealthcare.com.

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