- 20th June 2018
- Posted by: Manolis
- Category: Blockchain
Nowadays, we can see that there are a large amount of opportunities to leverage blockchain in healthcare starting from medical records to smart contracts for payment distribution to the pharmaceutical supply chain. This year, we can witness a huge amount of disruption in healthcare and there is every opportunity for blockchain to lead this healthcare transformation.
Blockchain has the potential to impact the complete landscape of how healthcare business is carried out. In this blog post I will let you know how blockchain is revolutionizing healthcare industry.
Blockchain is an open and secure distributed ledger technology(DLT) that logs the transaction records on the blocks that are connected and stores them on a distributed and encoded database that serves as a ledger.
It has exceptional security benefits as the records are spread over covering a replicated database network in which all the databases are in sync. The users can access only the blocks to which they have access and these updates get replicated across the entire network. All the entries are date and time stamped.
Though there exist few incredibly exciting ways blockchain technology can transform healthcare operations, it can’t be a solution for every healthcare problem, but it can be a step in the right direction. Nowadays, the healthcare industry maintains a massive amount of data in the form of medical research, complex billing, patient medical records, clinical trials and more.
The blockchain adoption and implementation will be an evolution over time as the applications of blockchain are evaluated and embraced as well as the industry coming together to determine the issues regarding governance and collaboration. Let’s discuss the major applications of blockchain in healthcare sector.
Blockchain Applications for Healthcare
Today, the digital infrastructure of the healthcare industry is on the verge a huge disruption. The present system doesn’t completely support the interoperability or security that is inherently necessary. To use the gathered medical data to its fullest potential, interoperability of records between systems and data portability is a must.
With the advent of various new IoT devices and wearables that are interconnected with their data flows harnessed, much better security is required and accessible to healthcare professionals. With the help of blockchain technology and its security, integrity, portable user-owned data, and interoperability, all these challenges could be minimized.
Blockchain stands to enhance the security of healthcare delivery. Take for instance, fraudulent medical billing costs the healthcare system around $60 billion every year. The establishment of an immutable blockchain the changes to the healthcare records and bills of the patients are informed to them would put an end to the possibility of such abuse. The establishment of such as system would also enhance the safety of device and drug supply chains.
Electronic Health Records
Blockchain can enhance the interoperability, cybersecurity, and immutability of EHR(Electronic health records) systems. The immutability is enhanced by file integrity where each and every blockchain event has a unique hash that corresponds to the contents of a record.
This implies, the users will be able to verify whether the contents of the record have been altered or not. The cybersecurity is enhanced through data access ,management where each hash may consist of particular user permissions for patients, nurses, doctors, or any authorized device or user.
The interoperability is enhanced through collaborative version control where every party consist of a record connected to the original record that is registered to the blockchain. In this way, every person who has the appropriate responsibility and role, can add information to the record circumventing issues like duplicate or inconsistent records.
Minimizing Billing Costs
In the year 2016, Medicare fraud caused around $30 million in losses in the U.S. Blockchain-based systems could prevent these losses. Additionally, it could minimize admin costs for billing by eradicating the requirement for intermediaries with more efficient processing and automated activities.
Extensive Medical and Surgical Research
A healthcare data supply chain could transform the next generation’s scientific research. Today, the extensive medical and surgical research is limited by the difficulty in developing large datasets across the existing silos of patient data. The labor, error, and cost involved in manual updation of databases such as the National Cancer Database, the National Trauma Data Bank, or the ACS NSQIP can be circumvented if the clinical data is integrated into a searchable, common EHC.
Besides, the power of this data will be intensified in the years to come if the troves of phenotypic data from wearable devices and genetic data from public online resources can be incorporated effectively into the EHC.
Today, many healthcare organizations and clients are adopting blockchain technology into their businesses due to its unique features. It is showing more promise in solving issues related to healthcare as it is enhancing the features of EHR systems. Many healthcare organizations and entities are testing and evaluating how the blockchain technology can better support their operations.
This is just the inception of blockchain revolution and few major obstacles to implementation remain. It is essential that further advocacy and research efforts led by doctors who have direct contact with patients emphasize potential advances in innovation and research as a result of blockchain technology.