Every industry is looking to mine its depths and tug out those crucial threads of insight that will allow for them to improve performance and outcomes, but the healthcare industry has specific nuances that make the data even more valuable. There is immense potential to be found in data-driven healthcare that not only streamlines data management but improves systems for patients, practitioners, and institutions.
Data-driven healthcare can be analyzed into three different elements:
• The use of data by patient and practitioner
• The regulation of data to ensure privacy and security
• The innovations that are driving the creation of this data
• The use of data by patients and practitioners: In 2020, a report undertaken by Pew Charitable Trusts identified the need for improvements in how patient data is used and accessed. The report highlighted how important it has become for patients to gain deeper control over their own data and for the flow of their information to become more accessible and seamless. There are challenges when patients visit different practitioners and institutions, data is not readily available and can even limit patient care. While there are clear privacy and data protection considerations that have to be put in place before data can be so easily moved between medical practitioners and healthcare facilities, the benefits to patients and practitioners are clear. Patients with chronic health conditions would really see the value of visible data and access as they would be able to share information when needed while reducing their own admin and cost burden.
• The regulation of data to ensure privacy and security: Cybercrime has become a phenomenal risk over the past few years and has only increased in intensity as cybercrime becomes more profitable and capable. The war for data is one of attrition, fought in regulation and legislation and on the front lines of system and security. This is further complicated within the medical sector as data here has to remain private and risk must be mitigated as effectively as possible. The GDPR in Europe set the gold standard for the protection of personal information and countries worldwide are looking to how they can follow suit. There’s a growing awareness around the management and collection of personal data and this will have a fundamental impact on the healthcare sector, particularly as it moves towards more data-driven systems and approaches.
• The innovations that are driving the creation of this data: Machine learning, automation, deep learning, artificial intelligence (AI), neural networks, and intelligent algorithms are the drums of innovation that are beating within the healthcare industry right now. The data that these systems and solutions create is extraordinary, filling up vast virtual lakes with information that could potentially cure disease, manage treatments and improve patient care. These are equally the tools that can be used by the healthcare industry to dig deeper into this data and uncover insights that could change how a patient is treated or how a medical institution approaches patient care.
In 2014, longevity innovator Dr. Alex Zhavoronkov and their company, Insilico Medicine, said:
"The company was based on a simple but radical premise: using AI to accelerate drug discovery and development. At the time, the use of AI was still nascent, both in public awareness and its applications to medicine. But in the seven years since I invested in this company, it has used AI to transform research and development in the therapeutics sector completely. Its rapid discovery and development of new therapies result from the incredible amount of data they process searching for the next best cure."
Dr. Alex Zhavoronkov is known for his work on longevity tech. He is also an advisor to blockchain medical data marketplace Longenesis, which launched a joint project with the Bitfury Group to establish a blockchain-based consent management system for the healthcare industry.
Working with massive amounts of data presented unique challenges regarding centralization and security. Data in healthcare tend to be scattered and siloed. Each doctor, medical center, and hospital maintains its silo and, due to privacy regulations, data is typically only shared when necessary for patient care. Having access to synthesize patient data was critical for Insilico’s AI algorithms to be successful, and it just was not available.
There are thousands of outstanding startups, research institutions, and physicians working tirelessly to improve the human lifespan. They could all benefit from blockchain-unlocked data and the analytical power of artificial intelligence. The average hospital generates 760 terabytes of data annually, yet 80% of this valuable data is unstructured and unavailable to researchers.
It needs to remain secure, and patients need to provide ongoing consent for its use. This disconnect is holding back progress across every aspect of medicine. The pairing of blockchain and AI can unlock this data for analysis, facilitate patient consent, track usage of clinical data, and more.
Blockchain has the power to bring out a massive breakthrough in the healthcare ecosystem, as it can easily bring specific changes in the healthcare management of the patient. With the aid of this technology, the power will come back to people’s hands. It means that individuals will be responsible for handling their own records, and getting the overall control of their own data.
The technology holds the ability to successfully improve patient care quality while maintaining the funds at a reasonable rate. All the challenges and hindrances that occur in multiple-level authentication can be eliminated through blockchain. With the increasing adoption rate, blockchain has made its way to the healthcare sector. In fact, technology is being positively accepted by people in the healthcare ecosystem.
It has taken the healthcare industry by storm over the past year and many solutions are being developed to adopt it. With so many potential use cases and possibilities, blockchain is sure to disrupt the healthcare landscape for good.
Thus, without blockchain, artificial intelligence lacks the ethically sourced and protected biomedical data it needs to find new solutions. Without artificial intelligence, the vast amounts of data protected by blockchain remain secure but unusable for research. Progress happens when these innovations work together, just as critical public health initiatives of past decades succeeded thanks to the advent of the World Wide Web.