Blockchain technology is likely to significantly impact the world in the next few years. The term ‘blockchain’ is mostly heard with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum because it is the underlying technology for the cryptocurrency transactions.
The blockchain is a distributed ledger technology where digital information is divided into blocks and chained together. It creates a secure, digitized and distributed public ledger where the information shared by participants is not centralized by an authority. Hence, the information shared can’t be interrupted or stolen by anyone. Also, nobody can delete the information executed and shared on a blockchain.
Many business leaders call blockchain technology as the most important invention since the Internet. It should be considered an invention as important as the steam engine that can not only change the world of finance, law and logistics but also other industries including healthcare.
Can blockchain technology really transform the healthcare industry? How can blockchain address the challenges of the healthcare industry? Such questions always emerge when talking about blockchain in healthcare.
There are vast opportunities for medical organizations using blockchain. This article covers the potential of this technology in healthcare.
- Data Integrity
The blockchain is all set to become a critical part of the way hospitals work, considering the development of new healthcare record systems, medical examination systems, wearable devices and more.
With the rise in the number of patients every year, the medical organizations need to manage a huge amount of data regularly. This data includes patient health information (PHI), electronic health records, data collected from the internet of things (IoT) devices, medical insurance claims, monitoring systems and more.
It is becoming harder for the healthcare industry to securely process and store such amount of data on a daily basis. This is where blockchain can be very useful for them as the main benefit of this technology is data integrity. It can record the information and encrypt it in such a way that nobody can change or remove it.
Blockchain securely records the data and anchor it to a distributed public ledger. This approach generates a proof of data integrity so that users can verify the data timestamp with no need of relying on third-parties. It also enables the users to perform unchangeable medical audits, prove the integrity of clinical research results, verify PHI integrity, ensure data safety and regulatory compliance.
- More Secure Standards
A blockchain development company can build such apps that can protect the data more securely than any ordinary encryption method. The technology is moving forward in terms of adoption and allowing implementation of more secure standards for managing PHI, insurance claims and medical records.
With blockchain, there is no mediatory in data sharing and hence it increases the awareness of cryptography benefits.
With its decentralized network of computers and internet beyond boundaries, blockchain can allow a healthcare organization to fetch data of a patient from another healthcare organization without waiting for the information to travel long roads.
- Drug Traceability
Drug counterfeiting is one of the most critical issues in pharmacology. A research shows that around 10 to 30% of drugs in developing countries are not real. Businesses in the US alone lose nearly $200 billion every year due to drug counterfeiting. When the drugs are counterfeited, they don’t help the patients and may be dangerous to their health.
A web application development company can assign blockchain developer to build apps that can make all the transactions tamped and immutable. When blockchain is implemented, the companies will need to complete registration of all the drugs for authenticity and quality of drugs. Once the drug is shipped and moves from manufacturers to retailers, all the data will be recorded on the blockchain.
The entire path with which drug travels is visible to the entities and nobody could counterfeit it.
- Medical Research
The researchers and scientists conduct clinical trials to determine the effectiveness of medicines for specific diseases. Sometimes these trials are found effective, while other times the hypothesis is disproved. A lot of information like statistics, test results, quality reports, is obtained and recorded during those trials.
Criminals can steal the information and modify or hide it to change the outcome of the whole research. Also, they can use the research for their own benefits to harm the world, even if the information doesn’t coincide with reality.
Blockchain adds the data in form of transaction and validates it by all modes. It offers proof-of-existence and records immutable data. This can enable researchers to store their research results securely in such a way that it becomes impossible to modify the data.
As blockchain doesn’t involve any third-party to fetch patient data or to transfer patient information from one medical organization to another, it can significantly reduce the costs.
Blockchain technology can actually transform the healthcare industry and it’s not hypothetical. All the transactions could be seamlessly done with more transparency and data integrity. Every transaction could be tracked, so nothing on the network can be modified or stolen.
All the patient information could be shared with multiple healthcare providers with no security risk or data breaches. This is one of the biggest advantages of blockchain in healthcare, which also reduces the costs. A web development company in India has a series of new opportunities to develop distributed ledger applications and bring the technology to the healthcare industry in the country.
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