Because of Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency that may be used as a straightforward money transfer method, many people have heard about the blockchain. The blockchain, however, has potential applications far beyond just currency, including many sectors. So, exactly how does blockchain work in the healthcare sector? What exactly is the blockchain, and why should you care about it? It’s a technology for creating unchangeable and shareable data entries that are shared peer-to-peer between networked database systems. The technology keeps track of digital events so that the data can’t alter or identify until it reaches its intended recipient. The main blockchain technology benefit is that data is ideally unchangeable & secure. This technology’s popularity has been growing, and it is especially intriguing to financial organizations due to its increasing use. Thus, today let’s just focus on the perks and benefits that blockchain technology can offer. And, also how it can transform the healthcare sector completely.
The Thought Process Behind The Healthcare Sector
Healthcare stakeholders are increasingly pressed to manage costs and provide high-quality care to patients, from complex data sharing processes and the concern about clinical trials and medical research to complex billing and less-than-ideal patient compliance. Blockchain technology can revolutionize healthcare across the world in the years ahead. According to a recent TechSci Research study, over the next seven years, blockchain technology will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 70 percent in healthcare due to increasing data breaches in the sector. However, the technology behind bitcoin may soon eliminate many of these concerns by allowing both patients and healthcare providers to exchange data securely, quickly, and efficiently. In this post, we explore the enormous potential of blockchain technology in the healthcare sector. Furthermore here is the blog post that you should read featuring the 30 Questions To Ask Before Implementing Blockchain In Business.
How Does Blockchain Technology Work?
Blockchain is a digital ledger that records and keeps track of every transaction, securely linking secure blocks of information together. Data is held in synchronized databases with no central authority to maintain them. Blockchain has the potential to collect data more quickly and securely because it is a distributed database with data stored across a network. Blockchain is a decentralized ledger that uses peer-to-peer networking and cryptography to maintain a continuously up-to-date record of data in which transactions are recorded.
Nodes in a decentralized P2P network are made up of network participants. Each member has access to an identical replica of the blockchain and is permitted to verify and authenticate digital transactions for the network.
Anything stored on a blockchain may be considered a digital transaction. Each transaction is broken down into a ‘block,’ each of which contains a cryptographic hash to keep the transactions in chronological order.
The network’s members keep track of the ongoing digital transactions in a shared ledger. They apply algorithms to verify the proposed transaction, and if most users approve it, it is recorded to the common collection.
Should Blockchain Be Used In Healthcare?
The lack of a central administrator, in my opinion, is one of the most significant features that make blockchain healthcare advantageous. Why? Because a database is still a tangible thing- made up of bits and bytes- despite its potential for immutability. Anyone who has access to the system’s physical memory may corrupt the data within it because the contents are stored in the system’s physical memory. In conjunction with blockchain, there will be no requirement for a fundamental administrator. This is done through clever cryptography. Plus, all users are in control of all their information and transactions. Since healthcare deals with confidential patient information and requires quick access, blockchain can streamline these medical records and securely enable their sharing. Blockchain provides security, scalability, and data privacy in a single go. However, the notion of blockchain in healthcare is truly revolutionary, yet it will not be a panacea for data management problems. Instead, it would be an evolutionary path to blockchain adoption, which will be implemented step-by-step.
Blockchain Technology And Healthcare Sector – The “How”?
Only 12% of payer industry executives and 5% of CIOs have a clear plan for utilizing blockchain in the future. That is why, disregarding the excitement, we must examine real-world blockchain applications in healthcare. Here are five ways that blockchain may improve healthcare:
1. Master Patient Indexes
Duplicate entries or mismatched records are all too familiar for healthcare data. Furthermore, each EHR has a distinct schema for every single field, necessitating the development of various ways of inputting and manipulating the most basic of data sets. The entire data set is hashed to a ledger with blockchain rather than just the primary key. The user would search for the address; there may be several addresses and legends, but they all lead to single patient identification.
2. Individual, Longitudinal Patient Records
Blockchain can store and track patient information, including episodes, disease registries, lab results, therapies, and more. Inpatient, outpatient, and wearable data can all record on the blockchain. Providers may use this data to develop better ways of delivering care.
EHR interoperability and data storage may create a particular process thanks to advanced APIs that allow providers to exchange information in a secure and standardized way. That would eliminate the expense and difficulty of reconciling data with blockchain networks shared with proper authorities safely and consistently.
4. Claims Adjudication
Blockchain establishes a new paradigm for conflict resolution, which can resolve issues with speed and accuracy. Thanks to blockchain’s validation-based exchange, the claims may be verified quickly as the network agrees on how a contract is carried out. There would be fewer mistakes or frauds because there is no central authority.
5. Supply Chain Management
Blockchain technology can assist healthcare organizations in monitoring supply-demand cycles throughout the lifecycle, from how the transaction is taking place to whether the contract is successful and if there were any delays.
Convention Of Blockchain In The Healthcare Sector
Caregivers are quite optimistic about fast blockchain implementation, with 37.9 percent believing it will take less than five years for healthcare organizations to embrace it across the world. These organizations and experts right now require demonstrations of blockchain, demonstrating how it may be beneficial in their industry. We’ll go through examples of blockchain use in the healthcare sector, including current problems and possible solutions using this technology. Blockchain’s potential in healthcare is still unrealized. Here are some examples of how the technology of blockchain can use:
- Drug traceability
- Patient Data Management
- In clinical trials – Data security
- Let’s look at each of them in turn.
(A) Patient Data Management
Understanding The Problem
HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act) regulates patient data privacy, and PHI must be completely secure. Another issue with PHI is that hackers may steal it. Patients may sometimes require to provide their medical records to third parties (for example, when they need specific medicines). So, how can blockchain help patients keep their data safe while also giving limited access?
Solution Based On Blockchain
Every PHI block is hashed and stored in the blockchain, along with a patient ID. Covered entities may obtain the required data without using an API to expose a patient’s identity. A patient can also choose who gets access to their information and whether it will be complete or limited. Furthermore, a patient may designate third parties who must consent to share PHI if the patient is not sure what they are doing.
(B) Drug Traceability
Problem Identification – Drug counterfeit is one of the most severe issues in pharmacology. According to the HRFO (Health Research Funding Organization), 10% to 30% of medicines in developing countries are fraudulent. Businesses lose up to $200 billion annually because of prescription drug counterfeiting, yet the most significant reason is that these medicines have different effects than their original medicinal counterparts. They cannot help patients or even be dangerous & harmful to the health of a person.
Solution Based On Blockchain
All transactions in a blockchain are time-stamped and unchangeable, making it easy to catch fraudulent pharmaceutical dealers. There are two sorts of blockchains: private and public. To ensure their medicines’ validity and high quality, trustworthy healthcare blockchain companies must register them in the remote system. By central entities, private blockchains are governed. A particular producer or distributor’s access to the so-called drug blockchain implies that the stuff is genuine. This is when blockchain transparency comes in useful. Once a medication leaves the manufacturer and is transferred to a retailer, operational data is recorded on the blockchain. It makes it simple to follow the drug’s entire route at any moment, as well as track all chain links.
(C) In Clinical Trials, Data Security
Classification Of Problem – Clinical trials are research projects that use patients to evaluate the efficacy of new medications against specific illnesses. These tests may either confirm or disprove a hypothesis. Researchers collect and record a lot of data throughout clinical trials, including statistics, test results, quality information, and so on. Because each scientist is responsible for a separate study, it’s hard to manage them all. Those findings might be readily edited or hidden to affect the entire conclusion of the study. Criminals are interested in gathering data that benefit them, even if the facts don’t match.
Solutions Based On Blockchain
Users may use the system’s blockchain technology to prove the validity of any document registered within it. It adds data in a transaction and validates it by all system nodes, providing proof of existence. As previously said, blockchain records unchanging information. The ability to store data from clinical trials unalterably makes it impossible to change. In 2016, two researchers at Cambridge University studied how blockchain may provide proof of existence for clinical trials. They discovered that comparing a unique data code, which is determined by the system, with the actual makes it possible to check whether clinical trial data has been altered due to the unique SHA256 has produced every time a change is made to the data using an internal SHA256 calculator.
The Talk Of Potential
So, blockchain’s potential for use in various industries, including healthcare, is enormous. This technology has already penetrated the financial sector, although medical organizations are hesitant to do so with their IT systems. It’s clear that while blockchain has a lot of promise, it has yet to be widely implemented in healthcare. However, this does not imply that no healthcare firms are currently using blockchain. A shortlist of businesses below has put this technology at the core of the structure of their operations.
Major Challenges Of Blockchain Integration In Healthcare Sector
According to a new study from PreScouter, there are ten major obstacles that blockchain must overcome to be implemented in the healthcare, medical technology, and biopharmaceutical industries.
- Data Standardization
- Interoperability among Blockchains
- Applying Change Innovation & Management
- Blockchain IP & patents
- Deploying smart contracts
- Operation Cost
- On-boarding regulatory bodies
- Blockchain service providers
- PHI (Protected Health Information) Data security
- Permissive/Non-Permissive Blockchains Scalability
Startups Of Blockchain Healthcare
Below we have underlined some of the most famous startups that are based on blockchain healthcare and these are as follows:
- Guardtime (Healthcare records on the blockchain As an alternative, data security with a blockchain-based system for protecting patient medical records)
- Gem Health (A blockchain-based healthcare project aimed at developing a framework for leveraging distributed ledgers to promote interoperability in the sector.)
- Blockchain Health (A blockchain-based solution for medical research management)
- MedRec (A blockchain-based solution for managing medical records management)
- Cyph (An identity management tool for healthcare professionals to safeguard sensitive communication.)
On the other hand, Blockchain’s potential for healthcare is heavily dependent on how willing healthcare organizations are to develop the necessary technical infrastructure. Blockchain is expensive and has some compatibility concerns with current technology. There’s also a lot of debate about its cultural acceptance. However, one thing is sure: blockchain has swept healthcare by storm in recent months, and significant investments are being made in this technology. With so many exciting possibilities, it’s no surprise that blockchain appears to be developing into one of the main pillars of the digital world. And maybe one day, it will revolutionize the big data industry. To be sure, other companies are also looking to revolutionize health care through blockchain. Will any of these processes prosper in renovating the demure and, in numerous cases, challenging traditions of the industry? That continues to be perceived. However, businesses within the blockchain interstellar are making hard-hitting proposals to try these solutions. Plus, we can see this as a good sign of development to originate. Overall, this technology would significantly enhance and eventually revolutionize how patients and physicians treat and use clinical records and improve healthcare services.