Last Updated on May 29, 2023 by Guest
Since its inception in 2008, blockchain technology has shifted from theory to real-world application. The technology shows significant potential to change the landscape of various industries and organizations, such as the healthcare sector.
Blockchain can revolutionize the healthcare industry by providing a more efficient and patient-centered system, especially now that health is on everyone’s agenda. Moreover, it can significantly improve data privacy, accessibility, and security. It acts as a catalyst for collaboration among health professionals, improving the patient’s overall outcome.
But how exactly can the healthcare industry leverage blockchain in its operations?
A Quick Look Into Blockchain
Blockchain, a distributed ledger technology (DLT), allows decentralized data storage and sharing. The digital ledgers within the blockchain are tamper-resistant. In other words, no one can change the transactions after publishing.
This technology can solve the healthcare industry’s problems with data management and operations. However, it’s essential first to understand actual use cases. That way, relevant parties can see the potential for successful implementation and how they can adequately integrate blockchain into their operations.
How Blockchain Can Impact the Healthcare Industry
Challenges with data sharing and storage can hamper efficient operations. Medical information needs high protection to ensure privacy and authorized data exchange between health professionals. Utilizing blockchain technology can keep medical data secure and safe.
Medical information attracts hackers and cybercriminals more than financial data. According to a study, more than 176 million patient records succumb to data breaches from 2009 to 2017. Aside from stealing banking and credit card information, cyber thieves illegally obtain genomic testing and other health records. These data sell for a high price on the black market.
Blockchain can provide a solution to the increasingly alarming medical data breach problem. Health industry stakeholders can use its transparent, decentralized, and incorruptible technology to safeguard medical information. Furthermore, it deploys secure and complex codes to conceal a patient’s sensitive medical records.
As a decentralized technology, doctors, healthcare providers, insurers, and patients can share data safely and quickly. Swift access to medical information supports collaboration among those concerned parties. This operational improvement can result in positive patient outcomes and efficient healthcare services.
Many doctors and healthcare providers in the U.S. accept payments through Bitcoin, an open-source, peer-to-peer digital currency network. Cryptocurrency payments offer borderless transactions, lower fees than traditional options, and 24/7 access.
With blockchain technology, funds become accessible no matter where the user is. This benefit is a game-changer, especially during emergencies. Additionally, the patient does not need a bank account to pay, making it accessible to anyone.
Moreover, one of the crucial benefits of using bitcoin for payment is that it veers away from credit card transactions. This way, patients can lessen their exposure to identity theft and cyber threats. It also protects the patient’s personal information and medical and laboratory history.
Enables a faster transaction
In the past, people could only use blockchain for large transactions. However, the data for a blockchain use case in payment shows that there’s a platform for cost-effective and swift payment rails.
Each block can process unlimited transactions, removing system barriers or high fees. It ensures fast settlement even with the addition of new blocks to the chain. This breakthrough blockchain platform allows reduced transaction times and costs—features most needed in the medical field.
A hospital’s supply chain is the backbone of its operations. It ensures crucial pharmaceutical supplies, medicines, and vaccines go through the proper manufacturing and distribution channels. With that in mind, a seamless chain is beneficial as it allows the right healthcare products to reach the patient on time.
Blockchain technology can help identify the medical supplies’ trail through a transparent and secure system. It can also monitor carbon emissions and labor costs for more sustainable operations.
Meanwhile, Bitcoin payments within the medical supply chain provide cost-efficient transactions. It can handle bulk orders and payments without compromising speed and data privacy. Bitcoin economics and network security also ensure these healthcare supplies’ continuous and safe acquisition.
Medical research is a catalyst for countless cures and health protocols. The global pandemic has proven that research should not be limited to only one area or organization and that health professionals worldwide should work together to develop a viable solution. Blockchain can support this endeavor by allowing health organizations to organize and share data seamlessly.
Managing massive amounts of public health data and adverse event reporting is challenging. However, blockchain technology can facilitate efficient data sharing so that healthcare providers can create more accurate diagnoses and cost-efficient care. It can also allow collaboration between experts without compromising the research subjects’ data integrity and security.
The healthcare industry has adopted the Internet of Things (IoT) to collect and analyze patient-generated health data. IoT medical gadgets such as blood glucose monitors, home scales, wearables, and health apps can provide pertinent, time-sensitive data to medical professionals. However, these data must be transmitted instantly and clearly.
Blockchain allows health service providers to view and update data across all devices simultaneously. On top of this, it prevents unauthorized access, making it difficult to tamper with or hack. As a result, it may eliminate privacy and security concerns.
The global pandemic has placed the healthcare system in the spotlight. Now, people rely on it more than ever. The healthcare industry is working double time to provide the best service to everyone. However, traditional methods have given way to data management and operational issues.
New technologies have sprung up to avoid these problems. Blockchain, in particular, has features that ensure accessibility of medical data to related parties, patient privacy, seamless payments round-the-clock, and efficient supply chain management.
The transparency, security, and interoperability that blockchain offers can empower the healthcare industry. However, medical stakeholders still need to examine and implement specific blockchain protocols. It may take time and effort, but the benefits have the potential to change this industry for the better.