Can blockchain secure health data?

Can blockchain secure health data?

If blockchain technology can secure financial transactions, why can’t it be applied to securing health information?

That’s what the Department of Health and Human Services is asking with an ideation challenge that explores the use of blockchain to address privacy, security and scalability challenges of managing electronic health records and resources.

Blockchain is the distributed public ledger technology behind Bitcoin that uses cryptography to securely record transactions. HHS’s Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology is interested in ideas that address using blockchain in health IT and or healthcare related research.

The technology could be used to digitally sign information, enable smart contracts and manage connected health IT devices as well as distributed encrypted storage and trust. HHS is asking for white papers that examine how blockchain can advance health IT interoperability and healthcare delivery needs along with recommendations for implementation.

Healthcare is not the first industry to consider blockchain-based security. The Department of Homeland Security has also shown interest in using the technology for identity management, FCW recently reported.

The Health IT challenge will award up to 15 winners a cash prize ranging from $1,500 to $5,000. Up to eight winners could also be invited to present their papers at the Blockchain and Healthcare Workshop hosted by ONC and the National Institute of Standards and Technology on Sept. 26 and 27.

More information is online here.

About the Author

Amanda Ziadeh is a Reporter/Producer for GCN.

Prior to joining 1105 Media, Ziadeh was a contributing journalist for USA Today Travel's Experience Food and Wine site. She's also held a communications assistant position with the University of Maryland Office of the Comptroller, and has reported for the American Journalism Review, Capitol File Magazine and DC Magazine.

Ziadeh is a graduate of the University of Maryland where her emphasis was multimedia journalism and French studies.

Click here for previous articles by Ms. Ziadeh or connect with her on Twitter: @aziadeh610.

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