A Finnish perspective on Blockchain adoption
Posted 15th May 2019 by Joshua Sewell
The first topic I worked on that combined Blockchain and healthcare was the project I’m going to talk about at the Blockchain in Healthcare Congress. It was commissioned by the Finnish government, looking at how blockchain technology and Smart Contracts could help in a planned governmental social and healthcare reform.
What Blockchain can offer healthcare
We looked into existing literature and research, and interviewed people in Finland and abroad regarding healthcare and blockchain.
The main challenges we identified concerned data. We do not recommend putting all health data in a public blockchain system – there are obvious issues concerning privacy and it’s not scalable with current blockchain technologies. But for consent and permissions, there is a reasonable amount that can be done and built on a blockchain architecture.
Then in the area of self-measurements, we’re in the process of making a new project related to this kind of citizen science, which is even broader than the self-measurement of health. We are currently developing a blockchain solution to verify data provided for scientists by citizens. This type of solution would also be very useful for this self-measurement of medical-related data.
For Smart Contracts, we feel that business-to-business players could benefit because there are a lot of small service providers and different stakeholders in the industry. Simple and self-enforcing smart contracts could actually help in making the healthcare economy more fluid and transparent.
Finally, we proposed setting up a trial here in Finland – perhaps together with Sweden and Estonia – utilising a ‘coin’ for individual citizens. The idea is to create incentives for individuals to find the best possible healthcare, and also to enable them to select what is most suitable for them. There are aspects of this which are already in existence, which translates to the industry, but this kind of national project has not yet materialized.
In Finland, we need reform in the structure of our healthcare. One way to rethink the system would be to accept that we have a very diverse field; instead of trying to centralize everything, we could actually use blockchain information exchanges and Smart Contracts to have a decentralized structure. This promises to be very efficient and effective, whereas at the moment it is inefficient and is becoming increasingly expensive.
Our proposal is that with the help of this new technology, the need to continue the ongoing centralisation processes is unnecessary.
The process has been very expensive and poorly executed, with hundreds of millions put into an information system that doesn’t provide the benefits it’s supposed to. Given that it often doesn’t even provide the basic functionalities that an information system for healthcare should provide, it seems sensible to abandon the centralisation process and build a more decentralised structure.
In a decentralised Blockchain system, even smaller units can join in and work very efficiently together. We can put the individual in the position of having deciding power, the possibilities to make decisions, and also information about different services.
Kimmo Halunen is Senior Scientist of Cybersecurity at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd. He will be speaking at CybSec & Blockchain Health.
CybSec & Blockchain Health offers the opportunity to hear experts from international healthcare organisations, academia, and companies at the leading edge of technological solutions and cybersecurity. There is still time to join us and avoid disappointment, so take a look at the agenda here.
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