25 August, 2018

LIFEdata Blockchain @ Basel Life 2018

3 min read
LIFEdata’s CEO Omar Fogliadini will be part of “Genomics, blockchain smart contracts and the healthcare data sharing economy” at Basel Life 2018 on September 14th in Basel.


Blockchain beyond the hype: what are the real use cases for health data


Blockchain technology has the potential to do amazing things.
It can provide an immutable, digital audit trail of transactions, and can be used to cheaply verify the integrity of data.
Despite the hype, it’s still an immature technology, with a market that is still nascent and a clear recipe for success that has not yet emerged. With this in mind, how can companies determine if there is strategic value in blockchain that justifies major investments?
Blockchain´s advantages: Blockchain’s core advantages are decentralization, cryptographic security, transparency, and immutability. It allows information to be verified and value to be exchanged without having to rely on a third-party authority. At the interface between the offline world and its digital representation, the usefulness of the technology still critically depends on trusted intermediaries to effectively bridge the “last mile” between a digital record and a physical individual, business, device, or event.

Think about the problem of tracking babies within a hospital ward and beyond. The consequences of a baby being mistaken for another baby can be horrendous. Therefore, storing records that contain a baby’s current location in a way that makes these data points immutable and verifiable seems like a great use of blockchain technology.
But there is a big problem with using blockchain to solve such a problem. The digital records may be immutable and verifiable, but how does someone know which digital record is attached to which baby? To link an entry on the blockchain to an actual, real-life baby, we need to give the baby a physical identifier through a physical tag, or in a more futuristic world, a small chip or digital genome record that links the baby to its digital record. The technology would have to rely on humans to correctly and honestly implement the match between baby and digital record. And if humans get that wrong or manipulate the data when it is entered, in a system where records are believed ex-post as having integrity, this can have serious negative consequences.

Every two years the world’s database doubles, and every three years health information alone also doubles. By 2020, global healthcare data will double every three days. This is the field where blockchain technology collecting and storing automatically data from different sources (EHR, clinical trial, genome…) – in a secure decentralized way – and allowing access according to specific terms (smart contracts) will make the difference.

See you in Basel #blockchain #blockchainhealth

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