Utilising the potential of blockchain to decentralise data and yet keep it free of inconsistencies will add incredible value to healthcare.
Blockchain technology has been doing the rounds in the tech world for quite a while now. Quite simply put, blockchain is a distributed system that holds the capacity to record transactional data and store records. In other words, it enables recording and storage of peer-to-peer transactions in a digital form.
The best part about blockchain is the absence of any intermediary party between one peer and the other.
The data is merely stored in a network of interconnected personal computers – accessible only with explicit permission to prevent illicit access to the sensitive information being stored.
So how does blockchain really benefit healthcare?
The need of the hour in healthcare is to slash unnecessary costs associated with running a healthcare business. Healthcare business owners are constantly on the lookout to reduce costs without compromising on the quality of services offered to their patients. Blockchain enables a number of nifty little opportunities to improve the state of healthcare.
For starters, the core benefit of blockchain is decentralising patient data. It is open for access, yet secured – it’s public and simultaneously private.
Fragmented data is no longer the worry here since blockchain collates all data without actual physical compilation of the data. It merely improves accessibility in a secure manner.
Blockchain’s second core functionality by the way of a peer-to-peer network is improving data accessibility and eliminating data inconsistency. Being a smart-service, patient data can be accessed and analyzed from anywhere in the network. Any qualms of digital security are also addressed through blockchain – since transaction data is secured digitally, and patient privacy is always protected through encryption.
Healthcare is an industry that requires real-time upgradation and updating in order to meet the intended need for the dispatch of quick and efficient healthcare. Distributed data allows for real-time updating across the entire blockchain network, and by anyone in the peer-to-peer network. Data is also aggregated from wearable devices in use by patients through IoT – enabling greater holistic patient care.
Lastly, but most importantly, blockchain eases pressure on the wallets of businesses operating in the healthcare domain. Players in healthcare are under constant pressure to optimise costs for both themselves and their patients, bringing about the need to find new and innovative ways to manage costs consistently. Blockchain facilitates real-time processing, which in turn reduces transaction costs to a great extent. Let’s not forget that the entire fact that it is a peer-to-peer decentralised system eliminates any costs associated with third-party affiliations in its entirety.
The healthcare industry is an intertwined web of multiple business organizations working in different domains in the same sector.
Each plays a crucial role in the value chain and records and maintains its own data. Blockchain unlocks the possibility of data portability, interoperability, and alleviates the pressure of cost for many players in the industry.
Indeed, it is being touted as the next big technology engine that will revolutionize the healthcare industry without being an interference.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)