Should the NHS move to blockchain?

“The technology offers the potential to improve health care”
Author: 
Valerie Janczewski

Government’s Office for Science says patient data could be much better protected using the same encryption employed for cyber currency Bitcoin

[London, UK] The NHS should start looking into using the same ultra-secure tech behind cyber currency Bitcoin.

The reason? It's simple - to benefit from the same levels of privacy that users of the so-called ‘crypto currency’ enjoy – and thereby reassure patients that their personal electronic medical data is as digitally well protected as possible.

The idea comes in the shape of a new report from the country’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Mark Walport, who also thinks other parts of the public sector should be investigating the power of the technique, like in taxation or passport control.

But it’s in the health context he seems to see the biggest potential, arguing, “In the NHS, the technology offers the potential to improve health care by improving and authenticating the delivery of services and by sharing records securely, according to exact rules."

Wide range of public sector potential uses

The study delves into a number of use-cases for the basis of Bitcoin, ‘blockchain,’ or ‘distributed ledger,’ detailing how some countries are already using the approach.

These include Estonia, which already uses it to help citizens check the accuracy of the records their government keeps on them, and Honduras, which is looking into its use to protect land registry data.