What Is a Blockchain?
A Blockchain is a distributed database that is shared among the nodes of a computer network. As a database, a blockchain stores information electronically in digital format. Blockchains are best known for their crucial role in cryptocurrency systems, such as Bitcoin, for maintaining a secure and decentralized record of transactions. The innovation of a blockchain is that it guarantees the fidelity and security of a record of data and generates trust without the need for a trusted third party.
How Does a Blockchain Work?
The goal of blockchain is to allow digital information to be recorded and distributed, but not edited. In this way, a blockchain is a foundation for immutable ledgers, or records of transactions that cannot be altered, deleted, or destroyed. This is why blockchains are also known as distributed ledger technology (DLT).
Blockchain consists of three important concepts: blocks, nodes and miners.
The Future of Blockchain in Healthcare-
Blockchain has applications that began in finance but have expanded to government, healthcare, manufacturing, supply chain and others. The future outlook is that blockchain could lead to radical changes in many industries, with a probable impact on whole economies, including healthcare. There is real interest is in its potential to enable secure lifetime patient record sharing among dispersed healthcare providers. A blockchain for healthcare would need to include technological solutions for three key elements: scalability, access security and data privacy. Other key potential benefits are immutable audit trails, data provenance, availability and security as well as privacy.
How will blockchain technology be used in healthcare?
Fewer than 5% CIOs and only 12% of the payer industry executives have blockchain figured out in their roadmaps. That’s why, keeping aside the hype, we need to understand the realistic applications of blockchain in healthcare.
Here are five ways blockchain can benefit healthcare:
1.) Single, longitudinal patient records
Longitudinal patient records- compiling episodes, disease registries, lab results, and treatments- can be achieved through blockchain, including inpatient, ambulatory and wearable data- assisting providers in coming up with better ways of delivering care.
2.) Master patient indices
Often when dealing with healthcare data, records get mismatched or duplicated. Also, different EHRs have a different schema for every single field- coming up with different ways of entering and manipulating the simplest of data sets. With blockchain, the entire data set is hashed to a ledger, and not just the primary key. The user would look for the address- there can be multiple addresses and multiple keys, but they will all yield to single patient identification.
3.) Claims adjudication
Since blockchain works on a validation-based exchange, the claims can be automatically verified where the network agrees upon the way a contract is executed. Also, since there is no central authority, there would be fewer errors or frauds.
4.) Supply chain management
Blockchain-based contracts can assist healthcare organizations in monitoring supply-demand cycles through its entire lifecycle- how is the transaction taking place, whether the contract is successful, or if there are any delays.
Interoperability, the very promise of blockchain, can be realized by the use of a sophisticated Application programming interface to make EHR interoperability and data storage a reliable process. With blockchain networks being shared with authorized providers in a secure and standardized way, that would eliminate the cost and burden associated with data reconciliation.
Other than these, blockchain can transform revenue cycle management, drug supply management, clinical trials and prevent fraud.
How Is Blockchain beneficial in Healthcare?
1. Patient’s Medical Verification
Suppose you visited a doctor in 2010 to get a consultation on a disease that was then treated, but in 2021, after 11 years, the condition relapses. Now, in a centralized world, you will be needing the details of the evaluation from 8 years back, for which you will have to track down the consulting doctor and hope that he has the records.
Cut to the Decentralized Blockchain world, where Blockchain Technology in Healthcare is the norm.
2. Supply Chain Management
The Healthcare industry is 80% dependent entirely on the global supply chain of medical products and services. The capability of Blockchain in Healthcare to keep immutable records solves a number of issues that are associated with Supply Chain Management.
- Assuring that the active ingredients used for drug creation are as per the medical standards.
- Traceability of Counterfeit products – Counterfeit drugs and devices are the number one issue that healthcare organizations face. Tracking the origin of the counterfeit drug and device can solve a number of issues later.
- Information related to the movement of pharmaceuticals and the inventory offers great value to all – pharmaceutical companies, pharmacies, and healthcare providers.
3. Clinical Research and Drug Development
The traceability of data that is generated during the process of the clinical trial is a key to evaluating the proposed medical interventions.
Also, when Blockchain and Healthcare are combined in a way that it is integrated with the users’ health-based IoT devices, detailed documentation of observational data and patients’ actions can be made.
Since the information that is collected with the integration and implementation of Blockchain in Healthcare is much higher, better drug formulation can be done which would be more in direct sync with the users’ exact condition.
4. Impact of Treatment Regimen
Through the validated access to detailed patient data, healthcare research companies are able to study the impact of a specific treatment regimen on a large fraction of the customer population. This kind of downstream research on the impact of the treatment regimen on a patient’s well-being provides an enhanced basis for the continued improvement in intervention customization to meet the patient’s specific characteristics.
5. Change in Business Model
Blockchain, when integrated with the operations and environment of the stakeholders can lead to the creation of new business models. Here are some of the examples of how the healthcare stakeholders’ business model can change with the expansion to Healthcare Blockchain–
- Pharmaceutical Companies – With the data that is collected on the Blockchain platform in real-time, pharma companies can provide a range of different medical products and treatment regimens that are customized according to the patient’s exact genomic.
- Pharmacies – With the data of patient requirements now readily available, pharmacies can look over the drug prescriptions and can guide patients on how the drug needs to be taken.
- Healthcare Professionals – Healthcare providers can now access the information that is related to a patient’s conditions and requirements. When integrated with the real-time data of patients’ health performance, collected through wearables, healthcare providers can employ new methods to alert the patients of health risk and can guide them when there is a change in the environment.
Limitation & Future Scope-
The big problem with the utilization of this advanced technology for medical facilities is the lack of expertise. Blockchain applications are still in the early stages and must do more work for technology exploration and research. It, however, applies to medical associations and regulators’ obligations. The time has come for the health sector to improve. Blockchain in the field of healthcare is very likely to expand in the future.
Although blockchain is in its early stages of getting tested in the healthcare industry, it has a great potential to grow and build the core for transformation and transactions of information.To name another great impact of blockchain in this field, could be helping to keep the track of the outcomes and progress in the treatment process.)is core to validating transactions and transfers of information.
Blockchain will provide numerical security by public and private key encryption to the patient’s level as the foundation of a new generation of health information sharing. This technology promises to treat patient records, infringement prevention, interoperability improvement, the rationalization of procedures, medication and prescription control, and medical and supply chain monitoring.
The verdict – Blockchain has not yet but definitely will bring in a Healthcare Evolution. And now you know how you can prepare your healthcare app for it when the time does come. Still, need some clarifications? Contact our team of Blockchain App Development Company today, and they will help you with scaling your Healthcare App with Blockchain technology.
If you think you are ready to imbibe the change in your organization and ready to adopt the trending ideas, then you can refer to Talin Labs, a trustworthy and reliable company dealing with Blockchain.