There is so much to be excited about blockchain in healthcare, from improving the quality of care to patients to securing patient data better than ever before.
With so many data breaches attempted every day and the huge costs of running a business in this sector, this comes as amazing news to the healthcare industry.
With technology advancing all the time, blockchain offers healthcare companies and organizations a chance to take a step in the right direction, both for themselves and those they care for.
Here are 6 reasons why everyone is excited about blockchain in healthcare this year.
1. Blockchain In Healthcare Will Improve The Drug Supply Chain
This has particular significance in pharma. This industry faces great difficulty from counterfeit medicines on the market that can do more harm than good to patients.
One of the reasons this happens is because, to date, there is no secure platform that tracks where treatments originate from. Current processes and systems do not sync with each other, meaning that information is not shared between organizations to prevent tampering.
As such, drug manufacturers lose money and the patients don’t get the quality of care they need.
Blockchain in healthcare can solve this problem.
This is because everything is decentralized, so all data is safe from manipulation and all records are secure and legitimate.
So, when put into practice, all the data that both ends need to see will be available, making it almost impossible for imposters to get their counterfeit product on the market.
2. Blockchain In Healthcare Increases The Success Of Clinical Trials
Blockchain technology records every single change and entry in the network, all of which must be validated before the sequence can continue.
Applying this to healthcare, it can be used to improve the success of clinical trials.
Clinical practices currently use audit trails to find out who entered certain information and the location of entry. This has a number of potential issues, such as a high chance of human error, a host of data privacy issues and regulations to adhere to.
However, using blockchain in healthcare ensures that these problems cease to exist.
In terms of data privacy, blockchain can be set to only allow certain people to access certain information, making it as flexible or strict as it needs to be.
It can also integrate with EHRs by automatically replicating patient data. This means that duplicate records can never be created and will keep track of existing patient IDs.
So, when the time comes for a clinical trial, the system can find the right people with vastly improved accuracy and reliability compared to traditional methods.
And since all blockchain records must be validated, it only adds to the trustworthiness of the results.
3. Blockchain In Healthcare Improves Medical Adherence
Guardtime has launched the world’s first Personal Care Record Platform using blockchain technology in the UK. According to reports, it’s estimated to save the UK’s healthcare system £800 million and $290 billion in the US.
The idea behind it is to automate the medication adherence process and protect patient data rights in line with GDPR.
Before blockchain, it’s been tough to deliver medical adherence due to patient consent issues and actually developing a system that can deliver personal care information compliant with the necessary rules and regulations.
4. Blockchain In Healthcare For Smart Contracts
There is an awful lot of paperwork in the healthcare industry, from patient waivers to contracts between vendors and hospitals.
But the introduction of smart contracts will revolutionise the entire industry.
According to Healthcare Weekly, the patient-hospital application is going to be huge:
“For many years, middlemen have existed in the healthcare ecosystem primarily because there’s a lack of trust between patients and health institutions/providers. These two parties can’t seem to trust each other when it comes to conducting transactions. With blockchain-based smart contracts like the one developed by Robomed Networks, that becomes a thing of the past.
Currently, hospitals must use a number of complex commercial and custom systems to automate several aspects of healthcare transaction processing.
Some of these systems are currently riddled with gaps and sometimes need manual/human intervention. This not only wastes time, but it can also be costly.
Smart patient-hospital contracts, on the other hand, present a more efficient, cost-effective, and simpler solution in which self-executing contract rules that insurer and other parties must build on top of the blockchain. As such, when a patient visits the doctor, for instance; the blockchain ledger is updated (which is immutable).”
5. Blockchain In Healthcare For Insurance Providers
Specifically with micropayments. Current systems take a long time to process a transaction, even if the amounts are small. Furthermore, the systems are not very clear cut.
However, according to Digital Authority Partners, blockchain in healthcare solves both of these issues.
Firstly, blockchain eliminates any need for a third-party payment service. In its place, payments are made and received in tokens from a digital wallet. These tokens can then be exchanged for cryptocurrency of regular currency. This saves insurance providers money as there is little to no charge for processing a crypto transaction, compared to those currently used.
All transactions are also processed instantly through the blockchain.
In terms of transparency, through the use of smart contracts, payments are automated and distributed between all those involved with the contract.
6. Blockchain In Healthcare To Sell Medical Data
Patients often allow medical organizations to share their data. In many cases though, they allow their data without knowing it. This is because many of the permissions are hidden away in the fine print.
However, some companies are taking a stand against this and giving patients more control over their data and privacy using blockchain technology. For example, through the use of smart contracts, patients can negotiate which medical data they consent to be shared with other healthcare companies.
Another application comes from the Open Health Platform, where blockchain technology is used to share data with healthcare providers, researchers and insurers.