Most folks are fixated with cryptocurrencies until they end up forgetting the underlying tech of it all, the blockchain. By now, it should be obvious that the potential of blockchain technology in the healthcare industry is a realm that will take us ages before we explore all its perks. Tech aficionados refer to the blockchain as the “Ocean” of the tech world, as it sure feels that we haven’t touched on 95% of its capabilities.
Well, before we go off topic, the astonishing dawn of the coronavirus has fretted nationalists in China. In the past week, other countries have started to take caution as they fear the spread of the epidemic. In this mitigation period, experts in China have resulted in blockchain technology to circumvent their way around the chaos that’s alarming their country.
We always knew the blockchain could (or has already, in some states) be integrated into the healthcare industry. A lot of conferences have happened where developers from around the world have discussed how blockchain tech and AI could be the future of all industries. This real time application of blockchain technology to dial down the spread of the virus is the first use case that has caught the attention of everyone in the fintech industry.
In that note, let’s have a look at how blockchain technology could be instrumental in the healthcare industry:
Application of Blockchain Technology in the Healthcare Industry
Numerous aspects of blockchain technology, like the immutability of the data stored in the blockchain, is drawing attention to the healthcare sector. Blockchain is projected to improve insurance claims, medical record management, and accelerate biomedical and clinical research. However, all these expectations are based on the ability of the technology to decentralize management, data provenance, immutable audit trail, and improve the privacy and security of data.
Continue reading and find out how the blockchain can do so much other than streamline the areas of data management:
I. Supply Chain Management
Every business requires an inch-perfect flow of goods in and out before getting to the final product. This concept still stands for companies that engage solely in services as well. The system that necessitates this process is what is referred to the Supply chain management.
Therefore, in any healthcare establishment, supply chain management should be streamlined enough to make sure all the supplies arrive at their allocated areas as planned. Normally, in the healthcare systems, the supply chain is both drawn out and secured. Once the drugs are manufactured, they are transferred to the wholesale distributors who then transfer the drugs to retail companies that sell them to the consumers.
Unfortunately, this channel has loopholes that can compromise the authenticity of the medicine. Sometimes the drugs could reach the consumers as counterfeits, which undermines the credibility of the whole healthcare system.
So, how can the blockchain help? The inclusion of blockchain in healthcare brings with it an excellent solution to all these issues at once. For instance, it reduces errors, eliminates fraud cases, and helps identify issues faster.
II. Check Drug Ingredients
The use of the correct ingredients in drug manufacture is vital. With the right ingredients, patients know the side effects to expect and have an estimate of the treatment duration.
With blockchains, manufacturers can keep track of the ingredients they use in the drug. This ensures that all the ingredients are within recommended medical standards.
Blockchain offers traceability of counterfeit drugs: with this technology, it will be easier for pharma organizations and healthcare providers to get rid of counterfeit drugs. It allows manufacturers to trace all drugs and find the perfect source for the counterfeiting.
III. The Integrity of Medical Records
As aforementioned, the blockchain is the ideal tech to monitor data. Hence, the healthcare industry, which depends 90% on records, could benefit heavily from the technology.
The blockchain can store medical records safely with an absolute tamper proof guarantee. The safety of medical records is a pillar in medicine. Not only is it a matter of moral respect, but it also guarantees the doctor-patient confidentiality.
IV. Treatment Regimen
Blockchain technology offers a favorable platform where healthcare providers can conduct medical research and have their findings store securely. Through validated access to blockchain technology, researchers can access the patients’ data and study the impact of treatment over a specific period over. This makes it easier to sieve through a large number of patients treated each day.
Such secure research platforms are perfect for providing substantial outcomes that ensure significant improvement in the treatment methodologies and the patient population sections.
V. Single Patient Identification
It is often to find duplicates of patients’ records in the healthcare sector. The record-keeping tasks get tougher when you involve Electronic Health Records (EHRs) that bring out new ways to manipulate the simplest of data. Blockchain ensures that the data is hashed into a different ledger, and you get numerous keys and addresses. However, each of those will provide you with one patient identification and all their treatment information.
VI. Settlement Claims
Medical settlement claims take a long time to reach an amicable point. Blockchains provide well-defined terms and conditions for contracts between the service provider and the patient. This criterion clears any misunderstandings on services hence cutting down the time needed to settle any medicine-related claims.
VII. Business Model Changes
When integrated with new models, blockchain can create new business models for healthcare.
Here are some of the examples of how the blockchain changes the stakeholder’s business models:
- Pharma Companies
The blockchain platform ensures it is easy for pharmaceutical companies to have real-time data of medical products and treatments. This allows them to customize each for specific patient needs.
Pharmacies will have an easier job as they will have all the data they need available for them. The data guarantees doctors can effectively guide patients on how to use drugs.
- Healthcare Professionals
Whether you are a doctor or a nurse, blockchain will make it easier to diagnose conditions and treat based on the data they get from their patient information.
Nonetheless, real-time data is collected with wearables that keep healthcare providers aware of the patient’s stage and alert them in case there are emergencies.
HealthCare Platforms that Have Integrated the Blockchain
As aforementioned, very few healthcare platforms have integrated blockchain tech. But amid our research, we found out one that has been pretty watchful in the blockchain business, Playpal.
Playpal, a Colorado-based healthcare company, is one of the few platforms that are using the blockchain. In fact, they have amalgamated the blockchain, mHealth, and cryptocurrency (to be launched soon) to offer their users a complete package of their health program that includes incentives.
Playpal is branded as a futuristic healthcare platform that is assessing the possibilities of what the blockchain and AI can do to promote healthcare programs.
The Blockchain Already in Use to Fight Coronavirus
Coronavirus has been poised short of becoming a pandemic. China has, therefore, embraced the blockchain to manage medical data, track prevention material supplies, and collect public opinion.
For this reason, at least 20 blockchain applications have been launched within the first half of February 2020. Some of the launched platforms are strictly for raising funds to deal with the coronavirus epidemic.
Therefore, through blockchain, donors can track their donations to various stages until when the money is allocated to purchase certain medical equipment. Additionally, other blockchains have also generated mobile apps that ensure efficiency and transparency.
This system also helps in recording, tracing supplies, logistics, and demand of prevention provisions epidemic, and analysis. With such information, it becomes easy for the Chinese government to allocate funds on specified medical items to fight the virus.
Introducing blockchain into the healthcare sector is among the most significant innovation the world needs to put emphasis on. To the few who have integrated the tech into their systems, it has helped them supply health provisions with minimal risk exposure with ease.
Currently, the stabilization of recent coronavirus in China through blockchain is a clear indication that there is still hope to better healthcare in the future. However, since the technology is still new in the industry, so much needs to be done to ensure maximum blockchain potential is applied for the betterment of the healthcare industry.