Blockchain Technology in the Healthcare Industry: Five Realistic Benefits that Apply
It’s no secret that a lot of countries around the world spend a huge amount of their GDP (gross domestic product) on healthcare. And yet, the costs for hospitalization continues to increase, as well as the number of data breaches in both the public and private sectors. To decrease costs, strengthen data security, digitize transactions, and streamline how information is shared between health providers and patients, blockchain technology can be extremely helpful.
- Better security of patient health information
One of the benefits of blockchain technology in healthcare is that it can streamline authorization and security of patient data. By securing the medical files of a patient on a decentralized, peer-to-peer (P2P0 network, medical practices will reduce data breaches. In the absence of a single point of failure SPOF), a system storing critical data becomes nearly impossible to hack.
Furthermore, the stakeholders involved – medical practice, physician, patient – can easily access the data without fearing that any information has been tampered with. Every exchange of data is automatically marked by a timestamp, enabling physicians to keep track of information, monitor their health status, and take immediate action in case an emergency happens.
- Seamless exchange of information between healthcare providers
From an organizational perspective, blockchain technology can act like a safety net for health providers that need to share information securely. The decentralized nature of distributed ledger technology allows them to exchange all kinds of documents and medical images, so that in the end, the parties involved can reach an agreement, place a correct diagnosis, or better address clinical trials.
Traceability without security concerns facilitates better supply chain management. Blockchain technology can also help prevent counterfeit drug incidents or document falsification of patient medical files. It is estimated that in the medical insurance industry, organizations have better chances at backing up medical insurance policies, as well as storing them safely and preventing them from being stolen or modified.
- Information transparency & authenticity across the supply chain
The authenticity of medicine has always been an issue in the healthcare sector. Transparency concerns across the supply chains can break trust between providers and facilities, manufacturers and health practices, ultimately having a great deal of impact on patient health. A blockchain-based system can help mitigate such risks by tracking items across every step in the supply chain.
A great example of a blockchain-based protocol is MediLedger. It helps companies verify that all medicines transacted are authentic, and in collaboration with artificial intelligence, MediLedger provides customer confidence, supply chain optimization, and compliance.
- Smart contract for settlements & better medical insurance
Companies like Curisium and Chronicled use blockchain platforms to bring together, on the same decentralized network, multiple healthcare stakeholders – such as insurers, wholesales, pharma companies, and health providers – with the ultimate goal to authenticate them, track every transaction made, log in details in smart contracts related to services and goods offers, and a lot more.
Such environments enable providers and trading partners in the healthcare industry to embrace digitalization, automate tasks, and ultimately provide exceptional user experiences to their patients. Digital contracts between providers, manufacturers, and distributors closed on a decentralized ledger such as the blockchain makes sure that every stakeholder has an exact copy of a contract, without any way of making modifications after it has been signed.
- Remote monitoring via IoT technology
Remote monitoring is one of the most influential trends in digital healthcare. Measuring the vital signs of patients can provide physicians with viable data on their general health, enabling them to be more proactive when settling for diagnosis. The issue with IoT technology in digital healthcare is that it’s insecure.
Making sure that patient data is 100% private is challenging, and in case of an emergency, people’s lives can be in danger. To keep IoT devices safe, blockchain cryptography might be an excellent solution. Because the technology only has one unique hash function, once information has been recorded, it cannot be tampered with. Furthermore IoT devices can easily be interconnected, without having to use any sort of centralized server.
There’s no doubt that blockchain technology can provide huge benefits in healthcare. The only concern is that health practices and organizations at large are still in doubt when it comes to adoption. If you’re interested to learn more about use cases of blockchain in the healthcare sector, schedule a meeting with a competent blockchain consultant who will guide you through the process and help you both understand the perks and apply them to your own blockchain-based product.