By the end of 2017, Blockchain had successfully made its way to the Medical and Healthcare industry. Before entering the field of medicine and pharmacy this distributed ledger technology, it had expanded into other industry verticals Banking & Finance sector and Travel & Transportation sector.
The Medicine and Health sector is currently going through major changes due to the implementation of blockchain technology. The traditional centralized system of the healthcare industry is now transforming into the decentralized system of Blockchain.
And by integrating blockchain, we can enhance the patient’s safety by providing a higher level of clinical care to them and also improve the privacy and confidentiality of the patient’s information. Let’s take a brief look at what blockchain can offer to the Healthcare Industry.
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Evolution of Healthcare Technology:
Below are some of the ways that Healthcare technology has evolved in:
Healthcare and Medical institutions are transforming their data centresinto computing systems. With this adoption of cloud technology, the costs related to data storage will be minimized and through cloud networks, the information related to healthcare can be easily shared with various departments.
Just like any other industry, the healthcare sector is also being driven by the technology and innovation which in return is creating more opportunities for people. For example, the availability of relational database software and large-scale databases is contributing to minimize medical errors done during data entry by physicians.
Another major leap that healthcare technology has taken is related to essential administrative healthcare and pharmacy functions. Administrative functions like patient’s financial application and hospital billing are now automated to reduce time consumption in these healthcare-related functions.
Explaining Blockchain Technology
The term blockchain technology can be defined as a network of distributed systems that acts as a log of transactions that are further distributed and replicated across this network of decentralized locations. Each of these transactions is recorded on linked blocks and is then stored on an encrypted digital ledger.
Blockchain is known to offer an unbiased, highly secure and integrated third-party mechanism to track information. This neutral mechanism is also responsible for knowing the whereabouts of a particular data and how will that data change over time precisely. Now, the technology of blockchains cannot be referred to as a solution for all problems, but it can surely help to overcome some of the challenges faced in the Healthcare and Biotech industry.
Blockchain in Healthcare
According to a study from IBM, Healthcare Rallies for Blockchain stated that 16% of surveyed healthcare executives had confirmed plans to implement one or more commercial blockchain healthcare solutions this year, while 56% expected to do so by the end of 2020.
Simplification, Efficiency, and Security are the three terms that can perfectly describe the reasons why blockchain technology is required in the field of medical science. Along with this, Blockchain offers faster and cost-efficient transactions to coordinate with the requirements of the Healthcare sector. Some of the medical and healthcare use cases solved by blockchain technology are:
Payment Pre-Authorization in Hospitals
The healthcare payment pre-authorization is a process that requires an additional supporting detail of the transaction which may not be included when the request was raised initially. If any information is missing for preauthorization, then a follow-up request will be sent, which is a costly process. With blockchain, the resources like time, money and staff can be reduced during the process of pre-authorization of the payment.
EHR (Electronic Healthcare Records)
Blockchain can come in very handy with the use case of EHR that stands for Electronic Healthcare Records. Multiple EHR are developed for a single patient across a number of platforms and medical providers. These multiple records further contribute to increasing the complexity of the process of storing, updating and securing the patient’s health records. With blockchain, all the patient’s information can be stored in a single place and this would eliminate the need to have multiple EHR.
Impact of Blockchain in Healthcare Industry
Below are some of the many benefits of blockchain technology that showcases the impact blockchain has made in the healthcare industry:
1. Data Security:
Time, after time blockchain has proven itself to be highly secure in a majority of industries like banking, transportation, retail, etc. The current architecture of Healthcare Information Technology (IT), is not able to keep pace with the advances in connected devices and IoMT (Internet of Medical Things). This issue of data security can be easily solved by implementing blockchain technology.
2. Medical Research:
As you might already know, a lot of research is continuously being performed in the field of medical and healthcare. That’s why a proper centralization of collected data is required so that it can be further utilized for testing new medical treatment protocols. The blockchain allows you to access this R&D data in a more quick and efficient way.
3. Billing Management:
According to recent reports, Medicare fraud alone caused a loss of over $30 million (USD) in the year 2016. With blockchain technology in the picture, these chances of healthcare-related billing frauds are minimized by a great percentage. Blockchain-based systems will also reduce administration costs for billing because all intermediate resources will be replaced by automated processing.
Future of Blockchain in Healthcare Sector
Although, Blockchain Technology is still in its early stages in the Healthcare and Pharmacy sector but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t prepare for the evolution that’s about to come in healthcare. In the upcoming years, we will surely witness the Blockchain empowering the Healthcare App Development Services by improving security standards and promoting patient engagements connected devices.
Blockchain technology surely has the potential to make the healthcare industry disruptive by directly integrating with the healthcare supply chain.