Blockchain Technology in Healthcare : Use Cases, Benefits & Challenges Unlocked

Published December 9, 2019

Blockchain Technology in Healthcare

The blockchain revolution has forayed into the healthcare ecosystem, and it has come a long way to notable transformations. Unlocking the true value of interoperability, blockchain technology creates unique opportunities to eliminate the friction, cost and complexities, enabling trustworthy collaboration, and creating secure and immutable information.

Hiring a Blockchain App Development Company for forcing digitalization strength to strength in your healthcare app has become a driving necessity. With the overall vision of blockchain to disrupt healthcare, there are many potential use cases where it has enhanced healthcare operations. Let’s explore and understand. But before that, let’s take a cursory glance on what blockchain is all about.

What is Blockchain?

Blockchains are distributed systems that log transaction records on linked blocks and store them on an encrypted digital ledger. In other words, a block is a record of new transaction (medical data like medical device logs, patient’s sensitive information, temperature-sensitive medicine info during transport TTSPP time, or the location of cryptocurrency). When a new block is completed it gets attached with the old previous blocks carrying information and this way blockchain is created.

Use Cases of Blockchain in Healthcare

  • Supply Chain Management : Seamless supply chain management comes as a challenge in every industry but in healthcare it comes with complexities and risks attached which can directly impact patients’ safety and health outcomes. Blockchain technology secures and optimizes health supply chain for the manufacture, distribution, and dispensing of pharmaceutical products. It offers solution to keep a track on drug ingredients, temperature of medicines while shipping, product tracing and verification, detection of counterfeit, unapproved and dangerous drugs.
  • Secure Patient Healthcare Records : Blockchain technology can allow patients to access their care records by providing them with a security key that matches their provider’s security key. Blockchain helps in gathering massive amounts of patient data and facilitates patient data sharing and improving interoperability to help population health initiatives. It also ensures the integrity of medical record by keeping it safe and unaltered.
  • Making Patients Aware of Clinical Trials : Research has shown that 85% of patients were unaware of the relevant clinical trials during the time they were considering treatments which debarred them to benefit from treatments that the trials offered. Also, the inability of healthcare providers to recruit patients in need led to major loss of time and money spent on developing drugs. Distributed ledger in blockchain technology helped in increasing the quality and quantity of patients recruited for clinical trials by storing the medical data of patients anonymously and making it visible to trial recruiters which helped them to reach out qualified patients.
  • Makes Claim Processing Easier : Today, there is no transparency and visibility between both the parties i.e. the healthcare stakeholders and the patient. Smart Contracts in blockchain improves data accuracy for providers, regulators, and other stakeholders, and give them more control of their own data which makes the processing of claims and payments efficient, secure and frictionless.
  • Identifying and Matching Patients : In healthcare solving patient-matching is no less than a challenge. Blockchain is certainly a technology that can be used to track the unique patient identifier.

Related Reading: Meet the Top Five Industries Unlocking New Values From Blockchain

Unlocking the Benefits of Blockchain Technology

  • Data Security: Blockchain is equipped with the latest cryptographic features that safeguard patient sensitive information and all medical data. It helps in checking the data authenticity with the help of digital signature and provides full protection to data.
  • Cost Savings: This ledger technology eliminates third-parties and banks by enabling peer-to-peer transactions which aid in lowering the transactional cost at a greater extent.
  • Increase in Patient Satisfaction: A blockchain platform coordinates patient records, a history of procedures, and insurance claims to reduce redundancies and prevent losses. This helps healthcare providers to access medical history and insurance information and make quick decisions. This helps in improving the patient experience as well as the healthcare business model.
  • Accessing Distributed Data: Distributed ledger technology stores all the data in the nodes of a blockchain platform which allows hospitals, insurance companies, and patients to access the medical records from a single point which is secured enough and has full control that who should and shouldn’t see the patient’s data.
  • Healthcare Data Management: As aforementioned, if all the data has to be stored on a single point with open access will certainly add to woes and a severe threat to confidentiality. In such cases, permission blockchains such as Hyperledger Fabric or Corda set rules for giving permissions to companies to access the data.
  • Immutability: Data stored in the blockchain cannot be altered by anyone. Not even the admin, owner or third party.

Challenges of Blockchain Technology in Healthcare

  • Healthcare industry lacks structures to collect, share, and analyze information resulting in a lack of interoperability.
  • Existing systems are managed in an off-line architecture, with centralized, local databases, whereas blockchain technology is decentralized and in the cloud.
  • The inflated presence of healthcare units operating in off-line architecture, with centralized, local databases, makes it hard for existing systems to switch on blockchain, as the technology is decentralized and in the cloud.
  • Interoperability challenges among various healthcare professionals and hospital systems result in a lack of coordinated data management and exchange, resulting in fragmented health records.

With that said, blockchain can help improve interoperability, security, compliance, management, shareability, and accessibility of patient data in many ways. When are you going to adapt the ledger technology in your healthcare app? Our blockchain app developers have all the needed experience to meet your requirements and expectations.

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