The average life expectancy across the globe has almost doubled since 1900 and is now approaching 70 years. This dramatic increase in life expectancy over the last 200 years has been the boon of amalgamation of medicine and technology. It has impacted such that no country in the world now has a lower life expectancy than the countries with the highest life expectancy in 1800. The merger of the Blockchain in healthcare opens a wide scope of improvements.
Source: Clio Infra
Read complete analysis of increased life expectancy: https://ourworldindata.org/life-expectancy
As the healthcare landscape is becoming more patient-centric, Blockchain can really help in the transformation of the healthcare industry. From tracking drugs to managing patient data without compromising on privacy, Blockchain applications in healthcare can offer real value solutions to many challenges plaguing the healthcare industry. Before heading towards analysing the usage of this highly secure and resilient subset of DLT, let us look at the nuisance of the current system in healthcare service.
Healthcare Industries biggest Problem
The healthcare industry is tormented by many troubles like inefficiency, mismanagement, errors, centralised bureaucracy, high maintenance cost and many more. The centralised federal management and regulations have made healthcare services extremely tedious, costly and lengthy. The lack of interoperability and limited linkage between the healthcare storage systems has been a big concern for the healthcare industry. It has made it difficult to transmit, retrieve, clean and analyze data, also security and privacy of data have been an alarming issue.
The gap between the service provider and patients has increased the dependency on the middleman. The inaccuracy of patient data and their inaccessibility and mishandling have been the cause of many threats and mishaps. The extent of error is such that 40% of healthcare provider data records are filled with errors or flawed information. In the USA alone nearly half of clinical trials are unreported. According to the report of Protenus, in 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reported 477 healthcare breaches, which affected 5.6 million patient records.
How Blockchain will benefit the healthcare Industry?
Blockchain technology is almost impervious to breaching and has the ability to transform how we handle data in the healthcare industry. The infusion of Blockchain will not only make healthcare more cost-efficient or eliminate the third-party data handlers but will also streamline operational processes. A report by BIS Research suggests that Blockchain Technology will take the healthcare market by storm. The study by the firm suggests that the value of Blockchain in healthcare is expected to rise from $176.8 million in 2018 to over $5.61 billion by 2025.
Blockchain panacea to the big problems of healthcare industry
- Securing data and ensuring safe transaction and privacy of data between devices and healthcare service providers: In today’s era, smart devices have become a great way for the third party to get a massive amount of confidential data that can be detrimental if it falls into wrong hands. Blockchain applications in healthcare offers the most secure ways to ensure secure recording, transmission and sharing of vital patient information via creating proof-of-data integrity. This proof can verify data timestamp without reliance on third-parties.
- Verification of credentials of the physicians: Blockchain based platform can be the most effective way to analyse the license and credentials of the physicians. In fact, Hashed Health is a company which has built a Blockchain powered credential verification system for physicians. The company has partnered with Accenture, WellCare, Spectrum Health, National Government Services, Hardenbergh Group, and HealthLink Dimensions to create a platform that also provides a means for these organisations to contribute verified information that is shareable with all other relevant healthcare organizations.
- Eliminating the nuisance of Drug Supply Chain: The complexity and expanding network of rampant counterfeit or falsified medicines due to poor manufacturing techniques, ineffective storage, theft, and the market penetration of counterfeit products into the market has been a great concern. Blockchain powered drug supply chain maintenance system would do everything from drug/ product identification, product tracing/tracking, product verification, counterfeit medicine detection to responding by notifying relevant agencies. One such collaboration has been between pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline and Blockchain healthcare company Viant to facilitate the adoption and use of the track-and-track technology powered by blockchain.
- Managing contracts: The medical world has to keep up with many contracts. Smart patient-hospital contracts can present a more efficient, cost-effective, and simpler solution.
- Leveraging blockchain for transparent transactions: Blockchain guarantees a high level of interoperability, faster transaction processing, and safer electronic data interchange (EDI) processing. Blockchain can be a great help while managing the revenue cycle in the healthcare industry and also for faster processing of claims. The revolutionary technology holds tremendous potential to redefine the relationship between consumers and the service providers in the healthcare market.
- Managing and Accessing Drug Trial Data for Research Purposes: Information sharing has always been a trade-off of privacy, but Blockchain would completely transform this phenomenon. The centralised research data has always posed problems for researchers and drug trial leaders to share data with relevant people. But a Blockchain powered distributed ledger provides a platform to create audit-able, unalterable, and distributed databases for storing and accessing drug trial data.
The patient data market is estimated to have a worth more than $150 billion. The Blockchain-powered platform would enable patients to sell their medical data to researchers across the globe.
Conclusion: Whether Blockchain in Healthcare is a fairy tale or a promising technology?
These are the few direct advantages of using Blockchain in healthcare sector. The other transformative reforms would be keeping up with tedious jobs like keeping track of clinical trials financials as well as making bookkeeping efficient, accurate, and easy.
There are numerous other direct and indirect advantages of incorporating Blockchain applications in healthcare scenario. It would cause a seismic shift in the healthcare industry and would help us bring transparency, save lives, improve health outcomes and optimize the expenses of this expensive industry. Many global giants and Blockchain healthcare companies are working on leveraging this technology like IBM Corporation, Change Healthcare, Medical chain, Chronicled, FarmaTrust, SimplyVital Health, Microsoft, Optum, Hashed Health, iSolve, Patientory and The Link Lab. Let us hope for positive advancements for Blockchain in healthcare industry for the betterment of the society.