Blockchain is Coming to Data Management

If you haven't noticed, blockchain, cryptocurrency, and Ethereum have infiltrated the tech and investment industries. But the new technology has already started to infiltrate other sectors, adding serious value to a company's management and security practices. So what do these Internet-based technologies have to do with your data management practices?

First, let's explain blockchain. It's an encoded digital ledger that records new transactions or data points. It's decentralized which means it doesn't rely on a single server to function and can freely distribute data online, through an extremely secure environment. It made its debut in cryptocurrency platforms, specifically with Bitcoin, to authenticate records of monetary investments.

But beyond the world of cryptocurrency, financial institutions and insurance companies have taken the biggest interest in blockchain technology. And it's already permeating the healthcare industry. Five healthcare organizations - UnitedHealthcare, Humana, Optum, Quest Diagnostics and Multiplan - are launching a blockchain pilot to help payers tackle mandated provider directories. It costs an estimated $2.1 billion to chase and maintain provider data across the healthcare system, so the goal is to use the technology to improve data quality and reduce administrative costs for insurers.

Government organizations should also keep an eye on developments since they could benefit as much from the tech. Agencies in the public sector that implement blockchain tools can help manage documents and digital assets, protect data, and build networked public services. It will protect trusted records and simplify citizen services.

Whether it's a local, regional or national agency, the organization must maintain and manage trusted information. With limited resources and minimal staffing, overseeing and protecting data can get complex - especially when documents are in both physical and digital forms, located in multiple silos and difficult to access. But if government agencies start to implement blockchain technology in pilot programs, they can digitize and organize data in an extremely secure way. The idea is to ultimately create �smart� data management practices and create algorithms that enable blockchain-protected data to be shared with third parties. 

  • Blockchain tech will significantly enhance protection and better protect against data breaches.
  • Employees could easily access, own, and transfer information on blockchain registers to eliminate paper processes.
  • Organizations can remove data silos and share information to speed up process times for customers or citizens, who can give or deny permission to specific areas of personal information.
  • Agencies can quickly transmit information between one another if data needs to be transferred.
  • Ledgers can reduce the risk of unauthorized access and data manipulation.

You may hear the term distributed ledger technologies (or DLT for short) as this technology makes its way into various networks. But for data management as a whole, blockchain can provide a permanent record of transactions available to multiple viewers, as new transactions get added and certified according to specific rules. This will avoid duplicates, improve efficiency, and add security. 

Organizations are dealing with more electronic data than ever before, data breaches are still a constant threat, and compliance standards and regulations are getting more complicated. But how does blockchain fit into federal and industry security standards? Experts are working on it. For example, blockchain technology could potentially comply with HIPAA regulations, but additional measures may need to be put in place to ensure data transfer is still secure.

Get ready. It may still be in its early stages, but blockchain technology could be a serious disruption in the way data is managed. We'll keep you up-to-date on the latest news and how the technology could improve your business operations.

Contact DRS Imaging to learn more about our information governance and document management solutions.