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Forkast.Focus | HKFinTechWeek: Startups Capitalize on Cryptography in Medicine

The increasing use of big data in the medical industry has left some concerned regarding their rights to privacy, though some companies are working on blockchain and cryptography applications to address the issues.

California-based startup blockdoc is one such digital health and security company that is using advanced cryptography. Another is Blue Cross (Asia-Pacific) Insurance, which earlier this year said it was the first in Hong Kong to introduce blockchain into the local industry.

Because of blockchain’s immutability and record-keeping functionalities, as well as its use of cryptography, it has been hyped for its use in the healthcare sector to improve management, the processing of insurance claims, and to accelerate research.

Some use cases of blockchain technology involve the recovery of data subjects’ rights, writes Hyung-Jin Yoon from the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Medical Big Data Research Center, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.

“Medical data should be possessed, operated, and allowed to be utilized by data subjects other than hospitals. This is a key concept of patient-centered interoperability that differs from conventional institution-driven interoperability.” 

However, he warned that there are a number of challenges yet to be addressed in blockchain, such as data standards, scalability, speed, incentives, governance, and further issues in security and privacy.