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Can blockchain really shape the future of healthcare?

29. December 2022

The world of healthcare is changing. Healthcare startups are popping up everywhere, and medical facilities are starting to use innovative new technologies to improve patient care. But what role will blockchain play in the future of healthcare?

The potential uses for blockchain technology in healthcare are vast and varied. From streamlining bureaucracy to ensuring the security of patient data, there are many ways that blockchain could help to improve the efficiency and efficacy of the healthcare system. However, blockchain is still in its early stages of development, and several barriers must be overcome before the healthcare sector can widely adopt it. 

One of the biggest challenges is creating an interoperable system with existing health IT infrastructure. Additionally, there are concerns about the scalability of blockchain solutions and the lack of regulations around this emerging technology. Despite these challenges, the potential benefits of blockchain in healthcare are too great to ignore, and we will likely see more and more applications for this technology in the years to come.

Why Blockchain for Healthcare

While some may find Blockchain technology to be enigmatic, the basic functionality of it is rather straightforward to grasp. What’s happening in a blockchain is that the individual data blocks link together sequentially on a digital ledger, with each block relying on the previous one for sequential identification performance. Then, a public network of users, called nodes, evaluates and audits the ledger. Due to the combination of this data performance and transparency, a continuous verification process that ensures accuracy is created. And since the blocks use one-way encryption, nodes can verify data while keeping proprietary or sensitive data safe.

This qualifies it for use in the healthcare industry, where accuracy and confidentiality are crucial, and fraudsters are widespread. Keeping that in mind, let’s explore some specific use cases to determine how blockchain technology can be applied to the healthcare industry.

1- Medical records keeping

In this age of electronic medical records, blockchain technology could majorly impact medical record keeping. Since blockchain provides a secure and decentralized way to store data, it could be used to create a tamper-proof record of a patient’s medical history. This will help provide greater protection for patient privacy and ensure the record’s accuracy. 

In addition, blockchain could be used to give patients greater control over their own medical records, making them more accessible and transparent. In this way, blockchain can transform how medical records are managed, making them more secure and efficient.

2- Insurance 

The insurance industry is currently undergoing a digital transformation, and blockchain has the potential to streamline processes further and reduce costs. Insurance companies can use blockchain to store medical records, which are typically intertwined with insurance. Unfortunately, these medical records are often scattered across different databases, making it difficult to access complete information. Plus, not to mention the even greater need for their accuracy, fraud detection, and protection from stealing. However, blockchain technology without a doubt can deliver on such critical needs. Providing a single source of truth for both patients and insurance service providers can speed up the claims process, reduce fraud, expand access to insurance coverage, and more.

3- IoT security

As the world becomes increasingly connected through Bluetooth and WiFi devices, these devices can offer real-time data for the healthcare industry (in particular). From the patient’s perspective, this could mean a wearable medical gadget that transmits data to the physician for real-time monitoring while the patient is still at home. Similarly, for medical facilities and doctors, this can assist them in determining things like the movements of patients in a hospital, together with the usage of other useful resources throughout the facility, which will, in turn make scheduling and assignments more efficient. 

Moreover, as these devices are constantly generating medical data, this data needs to be protected from cyberattacks. And blockchain provides the most secure way to gather and analyze that sensitive information while also making it highly available when queried.

4- Credential verification

In the medical field, blockchain technology can be used to verify credentials. This is important because credentialing inaccuracies are uncommon, and faking credentials is also a problem. With blockchain, credentials can be verified in an up-to-date and secure way. This is because blockchain is a distributed database constantly being updated and verified by multiple parties. As a result, it is very difficult to fake credentials on a blockchain.

Furthermore, blockchain technology can also speed up the hiring and transfer process by providing the up-to-date verification of certifications and qualifications of the professionals.

5- Drug authentication

Drug authentication is an important way to help ensure that patients receive safe and effective medication. However, one major challenge in drug authentication is the risk of counterfeit drugs. Counterfeit drugs are often made with dangerous substitutes, which can lead to serious health consequences for patients. Blockchain technology offers a potential solution to this problem. By creating a digital record of each transaction, blockchain can help to track the movement of drugs and identify counterfeit products. Also, blockchain can be used to verify the identity of buyers and sellers, which can help to prevent fraud. 

Concluding remarks

The potential for blockchain technology in the healthcare industry is huge, and it’s clear what promises it holds for improving various areas like medical records, insurance, drug authentication, etc. Now tell us what you think about the impact of blockchain in the medical field. Finally, ask yourself whether this transformative technology can improve your business processes and how you deliver patient care. If so, our software development team can help you analyze the potential impact of blockchain on your business, decide which blockchain platform to choose, and develop a cost-effective plan to implement it.