Guest Column | April 26, 2018

What Is Blockchain And How Can It Be Used In Healthcare?

By Fizzah Iqbal

3 Keys To Successful Blockchain Adoption In Clinical Research

Blockchain technology started as the basis for Bitcoin that allowed the cryptocurrency to operate but now it has spread to various other industries as well like healthcare. Blockchain systems are actually decentralised distributed ledger systems created by app Development Company that record transactions on blocks that are linked together and store them on an encrypted digital ledger. Since the entire blockchain system is decentralised it has no one central administrator which imparts the system extreme security because records are spread across a network of replicated databases that are always in sync. All entries in a blockchain system are time and date stamped that can only be accessed and updated by authorised users.

Blockchain And Uses In Healthcare

The healthcare industry is drowning in data with so much to maintain like clinical trials, patient medical records, complex billing, medical research and more. This is just one way blockchain can be used in healthcare industry to improve things although there are some other incredibly exciting ways through which blockchains can enhance healthcare systems and it will definitely be a step in the right direction.

As it has always been with every new technology the entire spectrum of its possibilities is yet unknown and will only be unravelled over time. Adoption and implementation of blockchain systems in healthcare will take time however for now here are the most likely applications:

Medical Data Management

As mentioned earlier, blockchain systems have amazing potential to improve medical records and patients’ data. Though most of the hospitals and medical centres have digitalised the records but can still use some system upgrading. Blockchain can provide patients and their providers’ one-stop access to their entire medical history across all providers they have ever seen. Doing so saves time, money and duplication in procedures and confusion.

Supply Chain Integrity

Scientists need data from patients’ previous use of medicines and their results are really hard to gather at times. But blockchain systems can make this easier by making patient results more widely accessible but only from patients’ permission. Doing so will also discourage fake companies to produce counterfeit drugs that cost pharmaceutical companies millions in loss annually.

Billing Management

Fraudulent people haven’t spared any industry from their scams, not even something that involves people’s health, life and death. Medical frauds cause millions in losses every year but that can be stopped through technology. Blockchain-based systems could help minimize it. The automated nature of blockchain systems help reduce administration costs for billing by removing the need for any intermediary.

Medical Research

Research is crucial to improving medicines and medical facilities for patients. Clinical trials are an important part of medical research and making the patients outcomes available for new treatment protocols can improve care and medicines. With healthcare systems full of diverse and disconnected records there is no way possibly for anyone to process that data for future uses. Blockchain can help arrange that data and provide access to make medical inventions quicker.

Anything that goes on a blockchain system becomes highly secure because of its decentralised nature and the fact that any data on a blockchain can neither be added nor removed without the permission of those involved in that system. Blockchain technology is still making its way into the healthcare industry, slowly and steadily but it’s definitely here to stay and bring major improvements.