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These days, the most revolutionary and demanded invention with many ways of application is Blockchain. Many people believe Blockchain is only about cryptocurrencies and the methods we deal with money. But what if we told you it is designed to improve the quality and efficiency of medicine? Large enterprises, growing businesses, and ambitious startups are continually introducing Blockchain solutions into healthcare, making great progress in this industry. The fact is, this technology doesn’t heal patients and isn’t used as a remedy against incurable diseases, but it excellently solves crucial problems found in the modern healthcare system.
Through the use of Blockchain with its high level of security, privacy and interoperability of patient data, numerous medical organizations are turning to the patient-oriented model and drastically improving healthcare facilities. We deservedly call it a panacea for the troubles in the world of health.
Where and Why the Healthcare System Fails
The main principle of the healthcare industry is the provision of high-quality medical services to patients. However, the bureaucracy and federal regulations make health management fairly inefficient and lengthy. There is a big gap between providers of healthcare services and receivers, and every year, this gap becomes more immense due to the constant increase in the number of patients.
This tendency leads to obstacles when healthcare providers are unable to store and manage large amounts of medical data, especially taking into account personal health data are scattered over different institutions and departments. As a result, required information is not accessible and available in case of emergency.
Another pitfall is outdated medical systems storage of patients’ records. The absence of innovation prevents doctors from making accurate diagnostics and prescribing effective treatments. This situation is exacerbated by software flaws and bad usability: Up to 40% of healthcare service providers’ records contain errors or misleading information.
Patients are not the only ones suffering from healthcare defects. A striking fact is, the cost of data breaches for healthcare organizations is estimated at up to $380 per record(https://www-03.ibm.com/security/data-breach/index.html), and this figure continues to increase. The huge amount of financial data crimes and spamming are the result of non-access and lack of control of personal data by patients. Healthcare organizations pay high costs for this. Another widespread crime is drug counterfeiting leading to $200 million of losses.
The modern healthcare industry can’t be considered a single, entire and automatically operated ecosystem. It’s sad to acknowledge medical organizations misuse patient data and don’t provide highly effective health services. That’s where advanced and totally secure technology can clean up the mess, and Blockchain is the superman in this story.
Blockchain In Simple Words
The Blockchain is undoubtedly one of the most ingenious inventions of the last years. This technology logs and keeps information in multiple locations through an encrypted digital ledger, which prevents the leakage of valuable data and cases of hacking. In this way, if a computer is compromised, Blockchain allows you to to prevent loss by controlling access to the digital ledger.
The main feature of Blockchain is all information is stored in sequential blocks, and once written, this info can’t be changed or deleted. It can only be complemented by adding new blocks. No one can edit the previous blocks with data. Furthermore, blockchain is a decentralized system; contained data are not managed by one holder and are not stored in a single central place.The blocks go one by one in a secure sequence (chain), which has a link to the previous block and evidence about time of the creation or improvement. These mechanisms make Blockchain the most secure and inventive technological system.
The Benefits of Blockchain Technology For Healthcare
The Blockchain era in the healthcare sector has already begun. It has enough power to improve patient care quality and maintain the price of medical services at a reasonable rate. Blockchain opportunities for healthcare are abundant, and below, we cover the potential (and real) ways of using this technology both by healthcare providers and patients.
Data security and integrity
The ongoing amount of medical data increases every day. Information managed by medical organizations includes patient health information (PHI), electronic health records, data collected from monitoring systems and medical insurance. Blockchain allows medical organizations to verify the correctness of data and store it safely. Due to the integrity property, the written information cannot be changed or removed. No other party has access to individual patient data.
Health data of the population
Population health data refers to the medical information on a particular demographic. To understand the risks of certain diseases, it’s necessary to conduct an investigations where the numbers are usually received in an anonymized form. In many cases, personal health information is isolated and stored on multiple platforms. Due to this, the population health data becomes inaccurate or scattered. Blockchain solves this problem through operability, secure storage, data integrity, and it helps people monetize provided information via tokens.
Cryptocurrencies as a payment method
In the future, patients can forget about paying with cash or by credit cards since the use of cryptocurrencies as payments is real with Blockchain. This not only simplifies the way of payment, but also increases the security level by eliminating frauds and expelling third parties from transactions.
Traceability system for medicines
As we mentioned above, healthcare organizations pay high costs for drug counterfeiting. According to a Health Research Funding Organization (HRFO) investigation (https://hackernoon.com/blockchain-in-healthcare-opportunities-challenges-and-applications-d6b286da6e1f), from 10 to 30 percent of drugs in developing countries are fake, causing serious consequences, including hundreds of deaths.
The unique features of Blockchain help to ensure information in blocks is true and cannot be changed. The way of tracking drugs becomes easier and more trustworthy. However, the question of the reliability of the pharmaceutical products the companies provide is still open.
Patient health information management
According to the regulations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, patients’ data should be private. Obviously, patients continue providing their personal information to doctors and pharmacists, but with the Blockchain apps, this process is more secure and convenient.
Theoretically, a Blockchain system can create a patient ID. Undoubtedly, all information is safe, and at the same time, in case of emergency, doctors, patients and pharmacists have access to it. What is more, a patient can provide his/her personal information to third parties, keeping it unrevealed by controlling access permissions and duration.
Practical Approach To Integrating Blockchain In Healthcare
Numerous companies are focused on applying blockchain technology and its powerful features to the healthcare system. One of them is ClinicAll, a blockchain-based project dealing with the digitization of clinics and improvement of people’s access to healthcare services through the introduction of smart software into medical organizations. The security of data and its integrity is one of the main reasons for ClinicAll to use blockchain and improve the way of keeping medical records together avoiding their loss.
Blockchain Gives Us Hope
These are the main but not all of the revolutionary benefits of using Blockchain in the healthcare industry. This technology is becoming more popular and widespread within different business sectors, and healthcare has just started moving toward blockchain revolution. As the practice shows, its steps are extremely firm and confident, and who knows, maybe Blockchain is our true hope for immortality and unshakable health. In the near future, we’ll also experience all the benefits the ClinicAll project provides to us via the blockchain implementations.
Visit https://clinicall.io/ to learn more about the project.
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