One of the biggest issues facing healthcare providers today is how to maintain the balance between the privacy of medical data on one hand, and the need to improve the quality of clinical care via better coordination of medical records on the other. Blockchain technology can be the answer to these problems, thanks to its protected data-sharing and censorship-resistant properties.
The blockchain’s security, efficiency, transparency, and scalability could substantially benefit the healthcare sector. As this decentralized and distributed network records all the transactions on a public ledger, it can revolutionize the healthcare system in various ways.
Let us look at the most prominent use cases of blockchain in healthcare:
- Electronic health records
Data silos have adversely impacted the healthcare system’s efficiency for a long time. Due to data segregation, incomplete and fragmented medical records result in faulty medical care, diagnosis errors, and unfair treatment. That being said, blockchain technology can potentially solve this widespread problem.
By creating a blockchain-based electronic medical record system, all the necessary information can be added to the blockchain in the form of encrypted data. As a result, all healthcare providers can access this comprehensive overview of the patient’s medical data with the patient’s consent.
- Supply chain management
The provision of fake medical drugs and forged equipment has become a significant problem in the healthcare system. For countering this problem, blockchain technology can be utilized to ensure the authenticity of items, by continuously tracking them from the place of origin. Tracing goods from the manufacturing point to the end user could maintain the supply chain transparency and boost patient confidence.
- Verification of medical personnel’s credentials
There is no doubt that the healthcare sector is quite a sensitive arena where the wrong credentials of medical staff can deliver disastrous results. Blockchain technology, once considered only relevant to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, can be pretty helpful in this case, for example when discussing accreditation of the medics. By using a blockchain-based system, institutions can swiftly track the experience of medical professionals and verify their credibility.
- Settlement of insurance disputes
With the DLT (distributed ledger technology), payment and insurance conflicts can be minimized by connecting all of the entities of the healthcare system. Instead of having separate contracts, all parties, including manufacturers, suppliers, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and healthcare providers, can have interlinked intelligent contracts powered by the blockchain. All of this data, such as pricing changes and payment records, would be similarly updated for everyone, leaving no room for dissonance.
- Protection of genomic data
Utilizing a blockchain-based system can help protect sensitive genomic data, warding off risks of genomic thefts. Additionally, researchers and scientists can securely purchase genomic data this way, for analytical purposes and DNA sequencing with the help of blockchain.
- Real-time tracking of outbreaks
Blockchain technology can serve as an epicenter for real-time reporting of diseases and outbreaks. For instance, in case of an epidemic, organizations and researchers can upload their findings on this shared public ledger, helping worldwide professionals take swift measures accordingly.