It goes without saying that healthcare is a very important part of any society so anyone who seeks to improve healthcare leads to the benefit to both the people who are seeking medical services and the service providers.
Blockchain is a technology that has the potential to revolutionize the healthcare sector, but like in many other areas of the economy, it seems people don’t realize the great benefit blockchain can bring to the table.
Let’s explore the areas in which blockchain can have a massively positive effect on healthcare.
Data Provenance and integrity
As our population continues to grow so does the number of people who need medical services and as this number grows so does the amount of data these medical service providers have to manage. This you can imagine can cause a lot of problems as medical data is very important to be able to provide effective treatment. Unfortunately, it’s clear that the current way our service providers handle this data is not very efficient or safe for that matter. We saw this in 2017 when more than 230 000 computers in 150 countries were hit by the Wanna cry attack. Many of these affected computers belonged to large medical institutions like the NHS (Nation health Service) in the UK. This resulted in the loss of important information like patient medical history and medical insurance claims.
It’s clear that secure information sharing methods are required which can allow both healthcare institutions and their entities to verify the correctness of the data they share. If this information was on a public blockchain none of this information would have been lost as the system would have been decentralized. To recover any lost data proof of data integrity would be required of course as we want a way to verify the information but the damage that wanna cry caused would have been avoided.
There is nothing more annoying than going to your regular doctor who has all your medical history as they have been treating you for years, having you go to a specialist or maybe you want a second option and having to go through the process of describing medical history again from the beginning. There is a real chance that there is important information that your regular doctor might have and you forget about. This lost information might be exactly what the specialist might need to diagnose you effectively. This shows how the current way medical data is shared among medical professionals is very ineffective which results in the rise of your medical bills.
If this information was in a blockchain-based management system all the patient’s information would be in one place and all that needed to happen was for the patient to authorize the new doctor to access their data. Any new information that the doctor will provide will be added to the block which will become permanent records which can be seen by any relevant personnel. This eliminates the need for a third party getting involved in reducing the cost of care.
This way medical services can be delivered in a fast and effective way as the medical providers will have the complete information to do their jobs properly.
Prevents prescription abuse
Prescription abuse is when prescribed medication is used in a way that was not intended by the doctor. This can cover things like taking medication which was not prescribed for you, using medication to get high or medical stuff writing prescriptions for dead people so that they can sell it on the black market.
With a blockchain-based system in place, we can monitor the entire supply chain management process. We can track medication from when it was manufactured all the through the distribution channels the medication will take until it reached the end-user. If there are any irregularities were to show up, since every stage was recorded we can track down where exactly the problem is originating and quickly deal with the issue.
For example, staff writing prescription for dead patients in order to take for themselves, a blockchain base management system would quickly site the irregularity of a dead patient getting medicine and since each stuff would have their own unique identifier we would quickly identify the guilty party.
Prevents health insurance fraud
Health insurance fraud occurs when an individual or organization provides misleading information to health insurance companies in an attempt to receive reimbursements for false claims.
A blockchain-based system provides is a possible solution for this problem as it will provide transparency to the reimbursement mechanism. In this system, all transactions are immutable and verifiable. Since all information is visible to all necessary parties like insurers, brokers and medical service providers there is no need for a third party to be involved. This reduces the risk for fraud as any data that might get tampered with will immediately get flagged, keeping the integrity of the data intact.
Accurate clinical trails
Clinical trials are a type of research which are usually funded by pharmaceutical companies to see how potential treatments work on human patients. As you can imagine this is very important to try and cure illnesses that cause a lot of suffering in the world. It’s also very profitable for the pharmaceutical companies as they can sell the new drugs so it’s important that data from these trails produce accurate data.
Due to the nature of these trails. Hugh amounts of data are generated as they test their drugs under different scenarios, from these scenarios they record the results and generate statistics and reports. The researchers are under lots of pressure because pharmaceutical companies invest millions in these trails. This might lead to researchers providing misleading reports to show the drugs they are testing are working better than they really are.
With a blockchain-based system, every part of the trial is recorded and data in the blockchain can’t be altered. Since all the results will be available to all necessary parties involved making doctoring the results extremely difficult.
The possibilities that blockchain has to change how healthcare is performed are amazing, I hope the information provided is helpful to you.
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