Flip a decade and you were actually talking about this unique technology, don’t you agree? Plus, it comes with a baggage of words like, “decentralized, intricate, distributed, or public ledger.” However, we are here to demystify the term “blockchain” for you and we will try to put some fresh light on it and how healthcare should leverage blockchain technology.
Everyone referred to it as a complex technology, then why call it “blockchain?” Well, in layman’s term it is not the traditional version of block and chain, in this context, it simply means digital information “block” stored in a public database “chain”. A thread of a massive pile of information & data in a secure way! Blocks are digital fragments of information & a single block can actually store up to 1 MB of data on it.
Healthcare Should Leverage Blockchain
In the past few decades, the facet of healthcare has changed all over the world. The amount of drug transfer between companies & hospitals, patient’s data, technological advancement in medical equipment, etc. is on the rise and to channelize the data blockchain has made its entry in this industry.
The healthcare should leverage blockchain to secure their patients’ medical records & confidentiality. When a medical record is generated and signed up, it can be inscribed into the blockchain, which provides patient with a proof that the record won’t be adulterated. All these personal health records can be encoded & stored on the blockchain with a private key, so that they are only accessible by certain individuals, thus, safeguarding privacy. Blockchain is used against fake drug transfers. The key problem with fake drugs is that these drugs can be very diverse from the original product in a quantitative & qualitative way. Hence, it can be predominantly dangerous for the patients that take the forged drug since it won’t treat the disease & can be life-threatening. Blockchain technology is very useful in drug traceability & security. Each new transaction added to a block is undisputable and timestamped, making it easy to track a product and make sure the information cannot be altered.
Firstly, in healthcare, there is a huge gap in the structural process to collect, share and analyse information, resulting in a lack of interoperability or overlapping of data. Current systems are managed in an off-line way with centralized, local databases, whereas blockchain technology is completely decentralized and in the cloud. Stirring healthcare systems in this direction and implementing the blockchain technology won’t be possible until they are equipped with an efficient electronic health record (EHR) system. Secondly, if there is a scenario, where vital data is required for an unconscious patient, the hospital will need their health history for patient-centric prescriptions. Then they would require the patient to entrust his or her key with someone else, creating a security gap.
As the volume of patient data grows, providers are gradually concerned about the security and privacy of patient data. The amalgamation of blockchain in healthcare has the potential to standardize secure data exchange in a less arduous way, compared to the traditional approaches. However, the path to this new model is uptight with challenges and ambiguity, the healthcare industry will continue to move forward by conducting more blockchain initiatives, gathering governing support, pushing for standards, and lastly, demonstrating success in regional ventures. For this alteration to occur, management officials, financiers and tech innovators will need to work together and oppose the challenges.