The blockchain technology is here to disrupt all sectors ranging from manufacturing to healthcare. It is certain that big things are there for blockchain technology in healthcare too. But, we may have to wait long to notice a considerable change in our hospitals. So, what are the current trends in the healthcare sector with respect to blockchain? How soon can blockchain help in changing its face? Can healthcare blockchain companies make an impact? After all, is blockchain necessary to make the situation better?
Need for blockchain technology in healthcare
With its numerous potential use cases, blockchain is emerging as the must-have technology of the 21st century. Now, we have applications ranging from authenticating of practitioners to supply chain management. These actually have great capacities to transform the healthcare space. The robust privacy and interoperability of blockchain can aid in a wide range of healthcare needs.
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The major advantages of blockchain technology in healthcare sector are as follows:
- It can provide a consistent and standard chain of ownership with full access to data.
- Also, it has the potential for tracking patients and the procedures or tests they’ve had. Moreover, blockchain can use this in a secure and scalable manner.
Besides, other advantages of blockchain technology in healthcare also contribute towards its working. Yet, it relies on three major principles. A combination of these principles helps in providing secure and safe digital relationships.
- Private key cryptography
- Distributed ledgers
In other words, blockchain technology is a boon for the healthcare industry because it has the capacity to simplify the complex medical billing processes by the elimination of the cumbersome validations. Also, the multiple third parties who act on behalf of other entities make the whole process less efficient. Furthermore, regulatory bodies can develop a shared stream of patient information in an easy manner now. Not only this but also patients will have the authority to allow only particular individuals to access their medical information.
Today, many healthcare firms are looking out for new ways to find out what’s possible with the blockchain technology. So, can blockchain make healthcare better and affordable in the future? If yes, how long must we wait for a big change in the healthcare space? What are the current trends in healthcare systems?
Current trends in healthcare systems
More and more healthcare executives are showing interest in the new blockchain technology. Though blockchain is surging across many industries, healthcare isn’t among them yet. But, the patents for blockchain healthcare applications have begun to rise. Also, many industrial sectors see blockchain as a necessary step towards achieving interoperability. Today, there are many issues in transactional processes and the healthcare industry wants to get rid of it too.
According to the Healthcare IT News report, there will be more opportunities for deploying blockchain applications in the future.
Also, there are a lot of advantages of blockchain including centralization, speed and privacy. However, the major key is knowing when to opt between centralization and decentralization.
In fact, blockchain can help in solving some of the industry’s most pressing issues. Some of these issues are compliance, interoperability and data security. But, discovering the blockchain’s potential for the healthcare industry will be a slow process for now.
So, what are some ways the blockchain technology can prove to be a panacea for the healthcare sector? Let us take a detailed look at some of the potential use cases. Besides, healthcare blockchain companies can adopt these too.
Easy management of population health data
The largest challenges faced in population health management include data security, shareability, and interoperability. Also, it is often not possible for a smooth exchange of information between multiple data systems. This leads to a decrease in the number of population health data sets across various patients.
But, blockchain technology in healthcare can provide the best solution. It can actually improve security, data integrity and data sharing capabilities. Also, people can monetize their data in the form of tokens using blockchain. Thus, better data and sharing of population health data will result in better care delivery across the population.
Secure healthcare setups
The current healthcare systems operate uses a single database. Moreover, only one person of an organization can manage it. Hackers can attack such systems having a single point of operation with much ease.
Blockchain technology in healthcare can help in protecting the internal infrastructure of an organization. The presence of multiple independent actors having different levels of access on a blockchain ledger can be the best solution. The blockchain ledger will have encryption embedded within the blocks that will save organizations from any threats and attacks.
Some healthcare startups that are using blockchain include PokitDok, doc.ai, Medicalchain and Gem.
Most of them aim at making the whole healthcare process easier for patients as well as doctors. For instance, the PokitDok platform helps healthcare organizations to develop modern commerce experiences across the healthcare chain.
However, other US-based companies like the Gem Healthcare Network, focus on the patients’ welfare. This company aims at adding security via permission by which patients can control access. In fact, the shared ledger system will also record each and every new change.
Patient’s payments through cryptocurrencies
The use of cryptocurrencies instead of cash is another benefit of the blockchain. Also, cash payments in medical practices are prevalent. But, the health care costs are not defined in the proper manner.
In fact, even today 5-10% of the cases are due to fraud in terms of money. Also, this includes billing of services that have never been performed at all.
That is why blockchain is a cure for all here. The bill processing using blockchain can remove the third parties from the chain. Moreover, it will definitely reduce the administrative costs. Besides, when institutions adopt cryptocurrencies, they can track each penny. This can ensure that no frauds are happening.
The World Health Organization estimates that 50% of the drugs for sale on the Internet are fake.
Further, 1 million patients die annually from toxic counterfeit pharmaceuticals.
Drug counterfeiting is a huge problem in the pharmaceutical space today. It causes deaths of lakhs of people who consume the wrong medicine. The main aspect of blockchain that will help in drug traceability is its security. Using blockchain, every new transaction is time-stamped and added to a block that is immutable.
Besides, the main parties involved in the drug supply chain include the manufacturers, wholesalers, pharmacists and the end users. With blockchain technology, whenever the manufacturer produces a drug, a hash is added to the blockchain. After this, the transaction between the manufacturers and wholesalers is stored permanently in the blockchain. Similarly, each transaction between the pharmacists and customers is also stored in the blockchain safely.
Moreover, the feature of data transparency in a blockchain system is also a boon. It can aid in verifying and finding the complete path and origin of the drugs. This is what will actually help in eradicating the circulation of fake drugs.
The blockchain is ready to go big in healthcare soon. Its advantages like high security and resilience make this cryptographic digital ledger technology the best. Moreover, blockchain brings trust in the healthcare industry. But, while other industries are already building on it in many ways, blockchain healthcare applications are in its early days.
In fact, smaller projects that don’t need patient data can help in preparing healthcare organizations for larger blockchain tasks. It will also add value by cutting costs and streamlining data. Also, if you are a blockchain healthcare startup building healthcare apps, there is a long way to go. So, what are you waiting for? Are you excited to embrace this new technology for your healthcare needs?