The blockchain is revolutionizing all industry sectors exponentially with its innovative potential and distributed ledger-based technology with high-security standards. As Blockchain got more popular with the success of cryptocurrencies and lots of hype, all industry sectors are embracing this latest technology to attain the pinnacle of their revenue with the high-security features of blockchain technology and here the healthcare industries are obviously not exceptional.
Blockchain paved the way for the Healthcare industry as it is highly promising for all stakeholders involved in this business operation. Many studies and the initial period of the 21st century are still proving that many sectors are having plans to implement Blockchain for their daily business operations. A survey conducted by IBM stated that 56% of healthcare executives had a plan to implement blockchain in the healthcare industry by 2020 and the numbers are expected to grow more in the near future. Many healthcare industries are grappling with existing technology and how implementing blockchain could mitigate the challenges faced by the daily operations of the healthcare industry.
Blockchain technology transforming the healthcare industry would solve many challenges faced and making use of this technology could develop the standard of care by implementing in data management of in-patients, drug distribution, or prescription with high data privacy and business transparency.
In this article, let us have a glimpse of how Blockchain is revolutionizing the healthcare industry with its applications.
Why Blockchain Technology for storing health information?
Situational awareness is very essential in the health care sector. The medical professionals will be able to perform to their utmost capacity if they can source and disburse the health information.
Nowadays, the health record system is highly digitised but remains totally insecure since organisations are transmitting data between incompatible platforms.
The databases and application, as well as equipment used to store the patient information, is susceptible to breaches. Moreover, they feature an extremely low level of interoperability.
When blockchain technology takes over in the health care sector, the patient is placed at the centre of the ecosystem, thereby increasing the interoperability, security and privacy of the data. Well, before we address the elephant in the room, or rather in the blog, let us delve into basics a bit.
What is Blockchain?
Blockchain is a digital ledger that records anything of value. The data is stored in a blockchain in the form of a shared database that reconciles continuously.
The absence of a centralised database ensures that the data remains corrupt-free and almost impossible to hack. The validation of transactions and data occurs by mutual consensus in the network.
Another unique feature of the blockchain network is that the data is hosted by millions of computers at the same time. Therefore, it is easily verifiable and is fully public.
Blockchain Revolution In Healthcare: Opening New Avenues
- A distributed ledger stores the medical records of the patient. Doctors, hospital administration, laboratory technicians, pharmacists and health insurers can gain access to the network with permission so that they can serve their purpose and record the data on the ledger.
- The blockchain health records will contain all the information related to a particular patient like the past and present ailments, treatments, family history of medical problems, etc. This ensures that each and every blockchain health record is permanent and accessible to all.
- The setup will have a mobile application on which the patient will sign up and gain a unique address and a password for logging into the application. The patient will also have another unique address meant for the health insurer, doctors and the government.
- The patient can access his medical information at all times. He will give permission to the doctors, to access the same to the doctors or other medical professionals as and when they send a request along.
- Blockchain in healthcare would ensure that the patient is billed only for the treatment rendered to him. Moreover, the health insurer can set up the terms of the contract through smart contracts and provide money almost immediately.
How The Blockchain Facility Works?
- 1. Admitting the patient to the hospital
- 2. Departure from the hospital
- 3. Notifications
A biometric device will be there in every hospital/clinic and the patient will have to punch in for the verification during each visit. A text message will be sent to the card holder’s mobile number instantly post verification.
When a patient leaves the hospital, a text message will be sent to the cardholder’s registered mobile number. This SMS will have the details of the bill breakdown and the balance in the card.
Notifications will be sent to the card holder’s registered mobile number from time to time. He/she will get a remainder notice when it is time for renewal of the card. When the balance in the card is nil, a similar message will be sent to the card holder’s number.
Features of Blockchain
- High Data Integrity
- High Security
- High Transparency
The transactions are immutable in the blockchain network. It means once data is approved, it cannot be modified or deleted from the network. The data is safe and the recorded timestamp can be verified by any blockchain account holder.
The data transactions are verified before it is recorded on the blockchain network. After verification, the encrypted transactions are added as a block to the previous block. This makes it insusceptible to security threats.
If the existing version to be modified, all the blockchain participants must agree as the records are stored across the shared network. An overall verification is required to change any transaction on the blockchain that makes the data transparent, consistent, and highly accurate over a decentralized network.
Implementing Blockchain Features In Healthcare
- Tracking Of Medical History
- Tracking Usage Of Medical Device
- Drug Supply Chain Management
- Validating Digital Identity
- Tracking Financial Transactions
- Backing Research Data With Smart Contracts
The treatment history of the patients can be accessed anywhere at any time. This provides the exact updated treatment details of the patient, which helps the practitioner to well understand the history of the patient.
Medical devices are used to track the health of the patients. The data from the medical devices would be difficult to be stored for each patient and so it can be stored in the blockchain with a recorded timestamp. This makes the data immutable.
Nowadays many drugs are counterfeited and due to this many pharmaceutical companies are losing their revenue every year. Blockchain can curb this activity by promoting the proof of authenticity and enables the user to verify the authenticity of the drug.
The immutable records of the blockchain will help to validate the digital identity of the patients and reduces the impersonation of the ID of patients and thus reduces medicine purchase for any drug abuse purpose.
As it is a highly secured platform, the made digital transactions are safe. The Bitcoin transactions can also be used in the Healthcare sector.
Logistical challenges are involved in sharing the medical reports and clinical trials among many institutions. Data theft can be reduced by promoting the authenticity of user documents by ensuring proof of existence. There is no fear of intellectual property theft.
ConclusionIt is true that nothing like the sorts of a blockchain based approach to store medical information is available at the moment but the potential of the advantage of blockchain in healthcare is immense. This would ensure that patients are the ultimate owners of their medical information. They can make sure that they pass on the information to any new physician or hospital in a safe manner as and when they please. Many developers have recognized this potential and is on the pursuit of developing blockchain application for Health care information for storing patient records. We can definitely say that a Blockchain Revolution in Healthcare sector is underway.
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