Login

Register

Login

Register

How Blockchain Technology is Storming in Heathcare Domain

So what was it behind the legendary Bitcoin, a global digital payment system, that took the world by storm recently?! It’s the blockchain technology. blockchain technology is revolutionizing digital payment systems and is highly sought after by leading corporations in the world. The question is why blockchain technology is attracting some major industries round the world and how it can transform the healthcare sector?
Blockchain technology is a ledger that records online transactions digitally and chronologically in a format that cannot be hacked and modified. This is achieved by a unique idea of secure peer-to-peer transactions directly, without prompting a third party like a bank or credit card company. The developer under the pseudonym Nakamoto created secure digital signatures, timestamps and cryptographics to maintain the chronology of transactions, anonymity, transparency and immutability. Every transaction is recorded on a digital ledger or “block” which are chained together one after other giving a complete history of transactions of digital currency, in their case, the Bitcoin. The most revolutionizing idea was that these blockchains are shared between every computer system in the network and each hold an identical copy of the blockchain transaction history; basically making the system theft-proof and immune to modifications. So what do we get here?
  1. Transparency in the system
  2. A system practically impossible to hack! Because every system shares an identical record, tampering one may not work at all!
  3. Complete privacy; as data in the blockchain is encrypted and anonymous
The healthcare sector, as with other big industries, too is taking a leaf out of this blockchain technology to bring about a transformation in the way healthcare industry works! Blockchain technology has applications far beyond secure financial transactions and several leading corporations are already applying this technology for tracking food procurement, mineral samples during mining and much more. So, what are the possibilities in the health care sector?
1. A common platform for patient record can be generated
The biggest shortfall of health industry today is lack of a common platform maintaining medical history, current medications, diagnostic test results and imaging reports. What this leads to is that, a critically ill patient may not be treated correctly due to lack of sufficient knowledge about the proceedings of the illness. When an acutely ill patient is brought into a larger medical facility or hospital, there is hardly time or enough information available handy, to handle the situation accurately. An electronic health record system that has all the patient details fed along with updated health records, diagnosis, prescriptions, tests and reports, etc. generated in a blockchain system that can be easily accessed by any surgeon or physician anywhere, will prove to be highly beneficial. Using this technology, patient’s health information can be fed real time through out the lifespan and can securely be accessed through any smart device, anywhere using a unique id number.
2. Personalized medications and surgery
With patient condition, medical history, prescriptions and all test reports available easily; personalized medicine is not a distant dream. Patient’s daily medicine and dosage can be accessed easily by any physician and if required, altered. Newer substitutes can be prescribed, dosages can be varied based on updated test reports. Allergy to certain medications, medication reactions or anesthesia can be known prior to surgery. In fact, records of previous surgeries and their results too can be accessed so that the surgeon is prepared better for the next one. Counterfeit drugs, which are a great threat to public health, can be trapped and blocked from spreading further. Blockchain technology can be a boon to medicine as a lot of medical errors can be avoided using patient health information.
3. Transparency in the system and patient security can be addressed better
Healthcare services in terms of costs and pricing can be better monitored using a blockchain system wherein the cost of treatments or surgery is recorded. Fraudulent billing in hospitals and healthcare sector is not unheard of. An immutable blockchain with all treatment and healthcare services reports and bills can be generated for every patient leading to transparency in the system. Variations in cost of a treatment from patient to patient can be scrutinized. In fact, pharmaceutical procurements and delivery, drug scams, cost of drugs and other such major processes involving a huge amount of public money or hospital expenditure can also be controlled better.
Setting up a blockchain system for healthcare can be highly challenging. Common data standards and appropriate software must be built and followed by all. Data storage for this huge amount of data must be designed to suit the purpose. Health data generation with update of every health record, prescriptions, diagnosis, test reports and patient history is a huge task; so also is the hardware required to make such a system work. The biggest challenge would be however would be to bring the entire country’s healthcare industry on one common platform! Blockchain technology has immeasurable potential in healthcare system to improve public access to quality health care and benefit them in all respects. Although tough to imagine today, it still is doable!
With the vision of Digital India leading, Blockchain revolution in healthcare is not a distant dream!