The concept of blockchain was brought to popular consciousness in 2008 as the distributed ledger behind bitcoin transactions. However, since then experts have attempted to deploy blockchain technology to meet a variety of needs in different industries.
Its popularity, security, transparency, traceability, and incorruptibility must have compelled the health care professionals to take on to it as an update to the outdated technology and practices practised earlier.
Some experts even stated that implementing blockchain technology in healthcare industry could bring a revolution in the entire medical world.
Blockchain is simply a shared database; a system of recording information that is distributed on nodes of a computer network. This distribution is what makes it impossible to be tampered with.
It records information in blocks. Once the information has been recorded, the block is closed and linked to the previous block. A new block would be created for any new information, and would be linked to the chain of previous blocks. This is how the term blockchain was coined.
As implied by it, all information is linked and immutable because each block is protected by complex cryptography.
The industry experts have curated some applications for blockchain technology in the healthcare industry. Apparently, it can be applied to everything from securing patients’ data to following pharmaceutical supply chains.
Here are some ways the healthcare industry can benefit from blockchain technology.
1. Data Security Through Blockchain:
Blockchain provides transparence, immutability and decentralization which makes medical data more secure. This way everyone involved in treatment would have the same data, including the patients, which would enable them to control their own records and other data, thereby eliminating the risk of data breaches.
There were more than 200 million medical data breaches reported in the past decade alone; blockchain would prevent patients’ data from being stolen, sold, or used against their will.
2. Blockchain in Healthcare Supply Chains:
Blockchain technology would make it possible to follow the entire supply chain of products, like pharmaceuticals, from the manufacturer to the consumer to be followed, and to track the lifecycle of drugs.
If appropriately implemented in drug supply chain, it would reduce fraud and ensure legitimate manufacturing and distribution of medical drugs, and even save lives!
3. Blockchain Medical Records:
The modern medical world faces the challenge of efficient management of medical records ensuring security as well as ease of access.
A transition to blockchain medical records may solve many of their issues as the data would be easily accessible by all doctors, pharmacists, physiotherapists, and everyone else involved in the healthcare chain, therewith, putting an end to the delay in attending patients due to the time consumed by attempting to access all medical records of the patients. It would also allow more personalised treatment plans.
4. Tracking Organs and Transplants Via Blockchain:
The decentralised nature of blockchain technology would settle a fair selection of organ recipients from the waiting list by terminating the control of a single party.
It would also provide secure and authentic data records of the recipient and the donor, and control organ trafficking.
5. Verification of Credentials Through Blockchain:
Recording digital credentials on a blockchain ensures traceability, auditability, and verifiability instantaneously. It would entirely eradicate the problem of fake certificates, and the validity of credible identities would not be open for questioning.