Blockchain
Hospitals and Health Care
Article

Blockchain in healthcare: Reality or a distant dream?

by
Kartheek Kodey
September 13, 2022
3
min(s)
Blockchain in healthcare? There's a better chance of humans inhabiting Mars!

Two unlikely scenarios, but one has already become a reality, and it will astound you. Yes, we are talking about the implementation of blockchain in the healthcare industry. Why is this astounding, you ask? This is because the healthcare industry is infamously known for being resistant to change and technology. So, how did this technology-based change occur? Well, the benefits offered by blockchain not only overcame the resistance, but it smashed the whole wall down. 

So, let's move on to how blockchain is impacting the healthcare industry.

Blockchain and healthcare

When we think about blockchain, cryptocurrency is the first thing that jumps to mind. But as the technology evolves and moves towards greater adoption, blockchain is no longer restricted to digital currencies. Blockchain is a digital and decentralized ledger that tracks assets and records transactions across a network. Because of the various advantages of blockchain, it's now being incorporated across industries like advertising, music, insurance, and supply chain. When it comes to applying blockchain in the healthcare industry, numerous benefits and significant opportunities are up for grabs. 

Since blockchain provides enhanced privacy, it can be incorporated in numerous ways across the healthcare industry. And here are some of the popular use-cases of blockchain in healthcare:

  • Electronic health record data management
  • Protection of healthcare-related data
  • Handling electronic medical records (EMRs)
  • Genomics management
  • Personal health record controlling
  • Drug supply chain renovation

Blockchain’s unique composition also helps remove the requirement for a centralized administrator, while offering scalability, data privacy, and access security simultaneously.

How does blockchain help the healthcare industry?

Let’s take a look at how blockchain is revolutionizing healthcare:

Securing patient data

Patient data is extremely sensitive and should be kept securely, and that’s where blockchain enters the frame. This is because if such data is not secured properly, it can result in the theft of banking details and health records. Blockchain is the best option for security since it is decentralized, incorruptible, and allows doctors and patients to share sensitive information rapidly and safely. 

Furthermore, blockchain also promises secure storage and data recovery in case mishaps occur. Having such important patient information at hand speeds the communication process and leads to quicker diagnosis. 

Not only that, blockchain allows patient data to be stockpiled securely with stringent authorization measures that prevent any data misuse. 

Drug traceability

In recent times, there has been an influx of counterfeit drugs and medicines in the market. Blockchain is being used across supply chain management to prevent this from happening to track and ensure that the drugs are original and authentic.

Real-time patient care monitoring

Due to its benefits, blockchain can also be used for sharing real-time patient data such as blood pressure and sugar levels through wearables. This helps doctors to monitor their patients during emergencies and alert their caregivers if required. 

Managing patient directories

There are high chances of patient data being duplicated, mismatched, or misplaced in hospitals. With the help of blockchain, such issues can be prevented since blockchain records and stores the data in a single ledger, thus avoiding duplication

Assists with health insurance

Blockchain can also be used for handling health insurance claims since it can give out medical events sequentially without any risk of altering records for scam purposes. This system works on a validation-based approach and conversation that allows claims to be verified against frauds and errors. 

The future of blockchain technology in healthcare

The scope of blockchain in healthcare is promising since it helps resolve several problematic issues. As we proceed with the technology, patients will become keepers of their medical records rather than being dependent on a single source. 

Like any other emerging technology, there are bound to be technical issues. For example, recording, searching, and accessing data are complicated and lengthy. However, with the help of artificial intelligence and machine learning, it can be simplified to a great extent. This can only help in the mass adoption of blockchain, not only in healthcare but across other verticals and fields as well.

The bottom line

Blockchain has the potential to disrupt the healthcare and medical industry by putting the patients at the nucleus of the ecosystem while boosting data maintenance, privacy, security, and interoperability. This ground-breaking technology is meaningfully enhancing and transforming healthcare services for both patients and healthcare providers alike.

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Kartheek Kodey

Kartheek Kodey works at Mutual Mobile as a Senior Engineer.

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