Centralized vs. decentralized data systems —which choice is best?

by | Sep 12, 2022 | Technology

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Healthcare and insurance payers spend nearly $496 billion each year on billing and insurance-related costs, noted Bruce Schneier, chief of security architecture at Inrupt — a company created by the father of the modern web, Tim Berners-Lee. As the amount of data continues to grow, it is becoming more difficult for healthcare providers to access necessary information when treating patients.

Providers typically turn to centralized means such as healthcare information exchanges, but these present a laundry list of potential problems, Schneier argues.

“Centralized systems face the risk of security breaches as well as ethics and confidentiality issues,” Schneier told VentureBeat. “Decentralized data systems can provide healthcare providers better access to important data and information and enable citizens to control what data is being shared and to what provider. For example, one person can have their own data profile and give their doctor access to relevant information needed for their appointment, leading to better care.”

The question of whether to use centralized or decentralized data in the healthcare sector is just one industry example. To help CIOs — regardless of industry — better understand the benefits and shortfalls of each approach, VentureBeat asked Schneier to detail the pros and cons. A slightly edited version of the conversation follows:

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