Blockchain in healthcare




Meet Mr.Krishan. He lives in Mumbai in India, and is 61 years old, after retirement he went to Delhi to continue his hobby of exploring the historical places. Mr.Krishan was exploring archeological sites in Delhi when he started feeling immense pain in his chest and experienced severe breathing problems. Some local guides called the ambulance and rushed him to the nearest hospital. Soon he was diagnosed with respiratory failure, and doctors started treatment. Doctors asked some essential questions about his medical history, current medication, and allergies, but Mr. Krishan was too weak to answer their questions. All his medical records were at his local hospital in Mumbai, but the doctors in Delhi couldn't access those records. So doctors in Delhi hospital carried-on with testing Mr.Krishna from head to toe. After spending five days under observation and paying a hefty bill, he returned to Mumbai and canceled his further plans of exploring the historical sites. This situation can happen to anyone and anywhere in the world. Let's face the truth; our healthcare system is corrupted, crippled, and lacks interoperability. Sometimes attempting to obtain or share medical records is an impeded and insecure process.


What is blockchain or blockchain technology?

Blockchain technology is already shaping the future as we speak and can be explained as a distributed ledger technology that provides shared and recorded information representing transactions, contracts, assets, and identities. Every new update is recorded in a block with a time-stamp and then added to the chain in sequential order, these entries are immutable, transparent, and traceable. Technological advancements like blockchain, IoT, AI, and other emerging technologies, play an essential role in transforming the healthcare industry. Blockchain technology enhances trust among members and ensures that data is tamper-proof in any manner. This aspect ensures non-repudiation and provides provenance of the assets exchanged within the network.


Why do we need blockchain technology?

We want the COVID 19 vaccine tomorrow, and we want it to be 100% authentic, but the reality is, it is not possible. The US economy dropped more than 30% in July 2020 that is worse than the great depression. People around the world are frightened due to losing their jobs, facing lockdowns, potential risk of viruses, losing their family members, and many other reasons.

People around the world are adopting digitization from school-going children to members of the general assembly. In between this chaos, we are still following an old-system in healthcare and that too on its verge to collapse. In this pandemic situation, patients who recovered from coronavirus infections may lose their immunity to reinfection within months. Recent studies revealed that all viruses mutate, and mutations usually occur due to activities within the virus. Due to these biological threats that may occur in the coming future, the healthcare industry moves towards digital transformation or technological advancement to improve the mortality rate and save as many as possible human lives.


Old-system

From the last ten years, we have modified our world into a digital world, but our healthcare system is still paralyzed due to its significant dependency on paper. Medical records based on physical paper often get displaced, and sometimes it gets complicated to maintain track of every piece of paper.


Data interoperability

Healthcare providers require instant access to the patient's data so that doctors can evaluate the situation and deliver the treatment in the best possible manner. All data of patients are managed by central systems that are almost impossible for other healthcare providers to access. Healthcare payers and providers must strive to expand the network of providers that assist users.


Clinical trials

Pharmaceutical companies provide significant financial aid for the clinical trials, which are very important in research and development of any new drug. Clinical trials involve many people streamlined to generate a vast amount of data, blood samples, surveys, quality reports, and statistics. Still, we can never underestimate the frauds and human errors in this process. However, these fraudulent results are non-conclusion or under-reported.



How is blockchain technology changing the healthcare industry?

Blockchain technology is an assuring technology that has enormous potential to revolutionize healthcare and other related industries to increase the essence of care by allowing digital transformation and patient empowerment. The healthcare blockchain system magnifies the storage and sharing of blockchain healthcare data processes within the healthcare industry, including insurance companies, patients, hospitals, and other parties. It's time to understand the benefits of trust, transparency, and the efficiency of blockchain technology to revolutionize the healthcare industry.


Authenticity of medicine

Medicine counterfeiting is a significant problem in the global healthcare and pharmaceutical industry. Each year, more than 250,000 children with common illnesses like malaria, pneumonia, and diarrhea, in developing and underdeveloped countries, do not survive after treatment due to fake and substandard drugs and vaccines. According to the WHO, 1 in 10 medical products in developing countries is substandard; 16% of counterfeit drugs contain the wrong ingredients, and 17% contain the wrong levels of necessary ingredients. These kinds of counterfeits cost up to $200 billion annually. Online sales of counterfeit drugs account for $75 billion of the total market. It is tough to stop fake drugs from entering the supply chain and reach the end-user. The blockchain technology is useful in drug traceability. It ensures the information in blocks is time-stamped and cannot be changed; through using the benefits of technology this way, tracking drugs become more accessible and more trustworthy. When a company manufactures any medicine, a hash is generated that includes all the essential knowledge about medicine. Each time the medicine stock moves from one entity to another, the information is saved on the blockchain, providing every detail to track the stock or product. If any problem is detected at any step, companies can send a notification to the concerned person, and that particular batch can be dropped from reaching the market.


Patient-centric system

Every patient is suffering from different problems, and they require different treatment because of their inter-individual variability. For personalized care and better treatment, access to complete medical records is necessary. Blockchain healthcare system is growing more and more patient-centric as patients can verify their identification with various health institutions by using a private key, and those without a key cannot recognize the data. Blockchain in healthcare enhances the secure sharing of data and information like patient name, date of birth, previous prescription and procedures, allergies, and other essential information, among the health providers. The patient defines the conditions through smart contracts and APIs; data can be accessed on the blockchain. If the patient meets any accident and is not conscious, another party already nominated by the patient provides the permission before accessing the data. Therefore, this technological benefit enhances patients' capability to own their data, and only they can grant access to other related parties.


Improving health records

Currently, doctors exchange medical records of patients through social networks in the healthcare system, but this kind of sensitive data must be shared through an extremely secure platform. Many hospitals, clinics, and laboratories rely on centralized solutions to maintain databases uniformly. This method makes it almost impossible to track the use and manage vast volumes of data collected and used by healthcare providers. Blockchain technology is a distributed ledger technology(DLT) that ensures data integrity and enhances interoperability, indicating that various healthcare organizations can securely share patients' medical records, regardless of where they were previously recorded. Moreover, the blockchain structure allows the researchers to access the data that could help find new medicines and vaccines worldwide. With the increased number of virus outbreaks like novel coronavirus, ebola, and swine flu, blockchain technology moves towards scientific advancement.


Reshaping the old healthcare system

Currently, doctors exchange medical records of patients through social networks in the healthcare system, but this kind of sensitive data must be shared through an extremely secure platform. Many hospitals, clinics, and laboratories rely on centralized solutions to maintain databases uniformly. This method makes it almost impossible to track the use and manage vast volumes of data collected and used by healthcare providers. Blockchain technology is a distributed ledger technology(DLT) that ensures data integrity and enhances interoperability, indicating that various healthcare organizations can securely share patients' medical records, regardless of where they were previously recorded. Moreover, the blockchain structure allows the researchers to access the data that could help find new medicines and vaccines worldwide. With the increased number of virus outbreaks like novel coronavirus, ebola, and swine flu, blockchain technology moves towards scientific advancement.


Latest posts

Tags

BlockchaindAppsSupply-ChainDeFiCryptocurrencySmart Contracts