The nascent technologies like blockchain can help patients and medical practitioners extensively if they are implemented in the health sector. Blockchain and cryptocurrency were not popular terms before 2009. But, since they were unveiled as open-source software that year, the underlying technology has gained significant popularity.
Blockchain has become an integral component in industries like gaming, finance, health care, agriculture, and engineering. The size of the blockchain sector is forecasted to grow to a staggering $23.3 billion in 2023.
By description, blockchain is a decentralized, digitized ledger or database used in the storage of ‘blocks’ of information. This technology supports the transfer of ownership of units using an encryption system without the need for any external control by a central bank or the government. Here are various ways in which blockchain can revolutionize the entire healthcare industry.
Enhancement of Doctor-Patient Confidentiality
Even though the health care sector has insisted on its high-quality patient confidentiality since its inception, it has experienced many security breaches and hacking of patients’ medical records for many years. Most of the healthcare professionals have been exposed to litigation on account that they helped in the breaching of these health records.
With the introduction of blockchain technology into the sector, health records can be stored on the platform. Also, any form of breach of patient health information can easily get tracked to the perpetrator. Hence, any illegal third-party access to sensitive information can be eliminated.
Blockchain Eliminates Medical Errors
A Johns Hopkins patient safety study published by multiple health experts indicates that the United States loses up to 250,000 people annually due to medical errors. That is a worrying trend when looking at the leading cause of death in the U.S., heart disease, is responsible for almost 647,000 deaths annually.
In that context, blockchain can play a significant role in avoiding most of these deaths. The technology allows users to add data on it, and the data cannot be erased. That is the ideal method that can be used to store all health records. If the information is stored on the blockchain, physicians can readily access the historical medical records of their patients from their first hospital visit.
A chief medical information officer at Pascal metrics, Dr. David Classen, agreed in an exclusive interview that the health care system is currently fragmented. He commented:
“Any tools that enable patients to manage their health-care needs will be a game-changer.”
Blockchain technology seems to have come to effectively dissolve the dilemma of errors that plague the space by digitizing patients’ health records.
Blockchain May Enhance Research In Medicine
Without any doubt, medicine is a majorly, dynamic space. Thousands of health professionals look for new methods of enhancing patient care and satisfaction daily. That is the primary motivation that pushes many research works and clinical trials that happen in medicine each day.
Nevertheless, there is no reliable method or central system for sharing research data. Much of the research data has already been segregated, and although most researchers would prefer to compare trial results with others, there is no definite digital system to do that.
Implementing blockchain and embracing the nascent industry can eliminate these cases of dichotomy. Using a secure digital platform, researchers worldwide can access a massive database of information with the patients’ permission. That collaboration can help in accelerating enhancements in the healthcare sector, making the world a better, healthier place. Maybe blockchain might help put an end to different terminal diseases like cancer.
Blockchain Can Assist In Pandemics Management And Prevention
The latest outbreak of COVID-19 is currently the biggest event of the year 2020. This virus has led to a stall and a possible recession in global economies. Due to this crisis, the healthcare system has encountered its biggest test in almost a century. False information is on the rise daily, and the World Health Organization has come under increased pressure and scrutiny.
In the wake of the pandemic, creating and sharing triage procedures and information has become quite tedious. All that has happened due to a lack of adequate means to store and circulate data rapidly in real-time.
The WHO, IBM, and the Center for Disease Control have created a project that will use blockchain to track, store, and share sensitive information in real-time to different health centers. That will help in the effective and uniform management of pandemics in the future. Using such a tool, ravaging epidemics like COVID-19 can be stopped quicker than expected.
Blockchain May Help Reduce Health Costs
Based on a Bisresearch report, the rate of blockchain technology adoption in the healthcare space is expected to save around $100 billion yearly by 2025. There can be the elimination of counterfeit pharmaceutical products, avoidable third-party clients, and malicious software using tokenization.
Hence, blockchain will help the healthcare industry to move toward total accountability and transparency, which eventually will help save money for patients and the healthcare companies.
Although it can be said that digitizing and transferring health information and data in blocks can be quite challenging, the inevitability of blockchain technology in all industries is slowly catching up with the healthcare sector. Therefore, the medical practitioners and the patients stand to gain the most in this blockchain revolution.