Benefits of blockchain in healthcare
From a general understanding, blockchain is now quite a popular name among the people. In fact, its popularity has boosted through the years since its inception – slowly and then all at once. To support this unprecedented popularity, here are some facts and predictions about blockchain:
- By 2024, the market value of the blockchain industry is predicted to reach $60.7 billion.
- Global spending on blockchain technology and solutions is estimated to reach $2.7 billion by the end of 2019.
- The US will become the largest spender on blockchain solutions by the year 2022 with the estimated expenditure of $4.2 billion.
Although, these statistics are just a few facets of a gigantic industry on a rise.
The technology behind the first exotic virtual currency, Bitcoin has now been recognized as having immense potential because of its characteristics like decentralization, immutability, and transparency. With the realization of this technology’s remarkable abilities, many industries adopted blockchain in a heartbeat in one way or the other. With healthcare no exception.
The Healthcare segment embraced blockchain technology to mitigate various traditional challenges and come up with better opportunities for both patients and service providers.
So, rather than making a fuss here, let’s have a look at the ways in which blockchain technology can and is changing or rather improving the whole of the Healthcare industry.
Effective solutions than EHRs
It is undeniable that medical errors are among the top reasons contributing to the death rate. It happens because of the inefficiency and lack of transparency between the hospital systems to effectively transmit and share data with one another.
Though EHRs were a solution for some time to manage patients’ data, it was never meant to hold lifetime medical information of patients among numerous institutions.
EHRs failed to be the ultimate solution as patients during their lifetime spread their medical data across several institutions, which obviously makes it challenging to keep one record of all the crucial past data. Another problem adding to the top is the numerous ways that hospitals adhered to for management, making in even more strenuous to compile the medical data in one place for easy access by doctors.
This is where blockchain has been showing its magic. It acts as a secure and fairly simple way to transfer and share data both nationally and internationally among healthcare institutions in the form of its decentralized, immutable, and transparent data blocks. This lowers the transaction costs, reduce the risk of wrong or partial diagnosis while promoting medical tourism, and much more.
Secure Clinical Photography
Clinical Photography is a great method to diagnose in itself and with the integration of blockchain in it, it is enjoying the best of both worlds.
On its own, Clinical photography may raise security concerns among the patients, and rightfully so. This posed a huge impediment in the process of experimentation and analyses of this recorded data.
This problem can easily be eliminated with emerging blockchain technology. The blocks in the blockchain can be used to store the photographic data into them – controlled by the patients only via smart contracts. These smart contracts will work as an agreement between both the parties involved and will be automatically enforced. This way patients are the only ones to authorize access to their medical data.
Improvements in the Drug Supply Chain
The duplicity and inauthenticity of drugs are not new nowadays. It is the buyers who pay the cost of this fraud as the drug might be untraceable back to its origin. What we need right now is utter transparency and traceability of the drugs in their supply chain. Now, what blockchain can do is to record every step of the supply chain and provide from minute details to a big picture of the drug development and shipment journey.
Currently, blockchain is employed to improve the supply chain integrity by some renowned companies such as Walmart and IBM. Many other app development companies have also started to come forward with their take on blockchain.
A solution to Incomplete Medical research
More often than not, researchers are analyzing and researching the same topic or theory. But, are unaware of the results gained by others after clinical trials resulting in huge knowledge gaps.
Blockchain technology can easily help eliminate this problem by providing the facility of a centralized storehouse for all trial data. This way, doctors and researchers will be able to instantly benefit from the research made by an individual and contribute to better healthcare. What is more, blockchain also eliminates the possibility of tampering with the original data, lowering data errors and frauds.
Insurance Frauds and Management
Unfortunately, medical healthcare frauds annually amount to $30 million. And what is practiced as a solution to this fraud costs nothing less. Borrowers also have to bear the verification details charges every year, just to keep the data updated. What is more, the changed data has to go through many siloed systems, evidently increasing the process time and cost.
Blockchain as a solution will eliminate all such problems. A blockchain automation-based system will help reduce admin costs pertaining to claims, processing time, and payment and make the intermediaries irrelevant. Moreover, a blockchain ledger will work as a single accurate source of information and will unify all the parties in the network, i.e., borrower, lender, etc. In fact, employing smart contracts in every insurance policy will provide more security and accessibility to all stakeholders.
As far as we can conjecture, this is the dawn of the era of Blockchain technology. It has far more potential than what is so far recognized and we surely will tap into this technology more in the time to come.
Written by: Shivani Dubey
Shivani Dubey is a Content Writer at Appinventiv Technologies, an app development agency, who likes to scribble her musings and thoughts. She is intrigued by and terrified of AI technology all at once and likes to know about the latest mobile tech trends. She is very passionate about a lot of things including nail art, Marvel, dogs, and cheese fries.