Blockchain’s Impact on Digital Healthcare
Since the creation of blockchain technology, we have come to realize how powerful this technology is and how it is very much capable of solving a lot of challenging issues faced by mankind today including the issue of quality healthcare.
Suffice to say that with the integration of blockchain technology into our healthcare system, improvements are bound to be made and progress is sure to be achieved. A typical example, for instance, would be the issue of the security and privacy of healthcare data.
Before the creation of blockchain technology, this sensitive information could be easily accessed across the board without even the patient’s consent.
Some were even lost by several healthcare centers and hospitals due to the fact that there was no digital security in place to see to it that they were well kept.
This, for instance, could pose a dangerous threat to a lot of patients as we have had instances where many patients met their deaths because of a mix up of medical records. Someone who had illegal access to their records could even devise a way for the patient’s death in such a way that there would be no trace.
These are just some of the case scenarios that regularly occur in healthcare systems, which thanks to the existence of blockchain technology, can now be eradicated, especially as the blockchain technology was built to enable the secure sharing of data across multiple parties with their consent.
All that said, let us take a look at some of the ways blockchain technology can have an impact on digital healthcare across the world:
Provision of an efficient supply chain system
One major challenge typically faced by the healthcare system is the provision of authentic medical drugs. Luckily, one of the features that come with blockchain technology is tracking, and this can easily be applied here.
When the blockchain technology’s tracking feature is used to trace these drugs from their origin point (place of manufacture) to their distribution centres, and finally to their final destination, it can easily give patients confidence as to the fact that they know for sure that the drugs they are about to take are from an authentic source.
Seeing the movement from the origin point down to its final endpoint with the help of blockchain technology is a solid way of ensuring transparency in the healthcare system.
This is also important in this day and time where there is massive production of fake drugs that have killed many in the world today.
Even the world police agency, Interpol, has made it known that more than one million people die each year from counterfeit drugs, highlighting one of the fastest-growing and most lucrative income sources for global organized crime networks.
This is one of the issues that blockchain technology can help put an end to.
Creating a blockchain record system for patients
Just as I mentioned earlier in the introduction of this article, improper records and lost records have led to medical errors in the medical field, which resulted in the multiple deaths of several patients.
With the use of blockchain technology, a blockchain-based system can be created for medical records, which when merged with the already existing electronic medical records, would result in a single record secured by the blockchain technology for every patient.
Bear in mind that blockchain technology is a program, and as such, creating a blockchain-based system does not mean that patients’ data records will be stored directly on the blockchain technology.
Instead, what is implied here is that every patient’s data, no matter how small, will be represented by a unique code on the blockchain technology and can only be accessed by the patient who is the owner of the data or by a third party with the consent of the patient.
Providing shared smart contracts to reduce costs
One thing here is clear: with the integration of the blockchain technology, manufacturers, distributors, and even health care systems can all have a shared contract, which in turn can lower the cost of transporting goods and so many other payments than if they all had their own smart contracts.
Shared smart contracts can be used by healthcare systems to verify their authenticity as a legally operating outfit and also to manage medical insurance contracts for patients.
Healthcare service companies such as HealthVerity and Chronicled are already leading the way in this regard.
Verification of medical staff credentials
Just as blockchain technology can be used to verify medical products, it can also be used to verify medical staff credentials, detecting their years of experience and helping to weed out quack healthcare professionals who masquerade as certified ones.
These records can also be logged for proper accountability and to ensure transparency. In turn, it can also be useful when conducting the hiring process or recruiting new members of staff into your healthcare organization.
Protection from data breaches and remote attacks
With the use of blockchain technology, healthcare professionals can be aware of even the tiniest of details surrounding the health of their patients.
Details such as blood movements, heart rate, pulse, etc. can all be easily detected with the use of blockchain technology, which will aid healthcare professionals in making the right decisions as to the next medical procedure to take.
In terms of data security, it ensures that all sensitive patient data is well secured to avoid tampering or altering the information provided with fake information.
Essentially, blockchain technology can also stop online attacks or hacks in the event of a hacker trying to access confidential healthcare information or to access a patient’s records from a remote location without the authorization to do so.
Because the blockchain is a decentralized technology, which means it is not operated or governed by a central authority, healthcare devices can interact with each other without the need to pass through a central server or connection, which is what leaves them vulnerable to some of these attacks by hackers or data criminals.
Blockchain technology might still be new as more healthcare organizations are still trying to understand and incorporate it, but nonetheless, it is the belief that with time, the technology will be fully integrated into the healthcare system and the world will once again be a safer place for everyone.