A term that has recently acquired a fashionable use in the medical field is “blockchain technology”. It is not just another buzzword but has actual use in this sector and holds the power to revolutionize healthcare for a better cause. It has the potential to put patient security, safety, privacy, and accessibility at the forefront and will help shift the focus towards patients. But what is the role of blockchain in transforming healthcare into cutting-edge technology, let us understand this in detail.
What Is Blockchain?
A blockchain can be considered a distributed database that consists of information in digital form. The information is stored in blocks that are connected together with a chain, once a block is filled it is connected to the previous block and hence forming a chain of blocks that contain data. Devices under a particular blockchain generate similar blocks when a transaction is made by any connected device. In simple words, if a device’s data is changed or shared, another block is generated that gets stored on every device connected to that blockchain. It is a decentralized method of checking data status; which makes it easier to track new changes in the data. Hashing is another term used to refer to the workings of a blockchain. It is used for providing a unique identity to each block and it changes with the data contained in a block. If the data in a block changes, so does the hash. Moreover, blocks are stored in chronological order, thus directly referencing the previous block’s hash. Any sort of data change in a block would lead to change in an entire blockchain and hence it is said that a blockchain is immutable, accurate, reliable, secure, and decentralized– which makes it next to impossible to manipulate or fake data. Blockchain platforms can be considered as a single source of information that is capable of storing large volumes of data.
There are numerous possibilities for utilizing blockchain technology– mainly for storing, accessing, and sharing data over a vast network.
How Blockchain Is Affecting The Medical Industry
Blockchain has certain features as discussed above which make it a transparent and secure platform, this could help the medical sector in a variety of ways. Some benefits of blockchain in healthcare include reduced costs, high security, and increased accessibility for patients. In an era of continuously increasing data and enhanced technologies, blockchain can be used to nurture growth and development. Many companies have already started investing in this revolutionizing technology and others are on their way. Let us look at why and how blockchain is transforming the medical industry.
A patient’s health records are indeed a piece of private information that should be stored with utmost care and security. However, the medical industry has often failed in the past to securely store and share patient data. But blockchain has the potential to change this scenario for the betterment of patients and hospitals as well. It can facilitate data storage and sharing in a more open, transparent, and highly secure manner. There lies a huge opportunity for various health organizations all over the world to work together for upgrading healthcare services for patients. One such company is Chronicled which uses blockchain technology in its platform MediLedger Network to bring together businessmen and trading partners to develop innovative solutions for patient care. It will help in eliminating the communication gap and mishappening due to delayed services in healthcare. By automating healthcare services, blockchain has the potential to develop trust and better communication throughout the health industry.
Managing contracts, repayments, and negotiations in healthcare can get frustrating and complicated, requiring a lot of time, effort, and lengthy discussions. Taking into account the complexities of contract management, HealthVerity has employed blockchain technology to assist people in contract management. Another platform is Curisium which allows providers and payers to participate in creative ways to manage their contracts. In addition to the ease of use, blockchain technology creates an extremely secure and collaborative environment for contract management. Moreover, it can prove to be a better and cost-effective option for service automation, seamless information exchange, and smooth workflow.
Ever is a platform that establishes a connection of widespread hospital networks for strengthening creativity and innovation among medical institutions. Currently, there are more than 170 hospitals and 5 million patients associated with Ever. It is built on software that provides services such as secured data sharing, large-scale data collection, and data analysis through the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence tools. The aim of Ever is to provide a patient-centric environment via data-driven blockchain technologies. Blockchain helps in maintaining a secure and collaborative environment among trusted parties while having a supple and scalable foundation for future elaboration.
Protecting Sensitive Patient Information
Transparency and privacy are the two most important factors when it comes to a patient’s sensitive information. Blockchain technology helps in maintaining the perfect balance between a patient’s privacy and establishing transparency which allows hiding their personal information while showing data that needs to be shared as per the requirement. Blockchain is a highly secure system of networking that will prevent cyber attackers from stealing a personal piece of information as it requires vast computational capabilities for targeting blockchain data. Patientory is one such platform that utilizes the power of blockchain technology in protecting sensitive patient information while sharing. It develops patient-centric applications and services to safeguard both health institutions’ data and patient details. Currently, their work covers the vast majority of patient data, COVID-19 tracking, secure collaboration with healthcare personnel, and many more innovative solutions.
Blockchain technology has multiple features and additional advantages to offer to the healthcare industry and needy patients. Its strong suite includes enhanced security and accessibility that lays the foundation for a safe and collaborative work environment. However, like any other technology, it is also going to face criticism in the real world despite its advantages. It is the best technology to lay the foundation for coming generations in the field of healthcare. Blockchain is gaining widespread use even being in its nascent stages, with time it will do wonders in pushing the boundaries of medical technologies.