How blockchain can transform the healthcare industry

By securely transferring patient records among health systems, blockchain technology can improve the coordination of member health management, lower transaction costs and risks, and support medical tourism.

How blockchain can transform the healthcare industry

Monday April 17, 2023,

4 min Read

The healthcare industry is grappling with several challenges, including data sharing procedures, ambiguity about clinical trials and medical research, complex billing systems, and patient adherence.

These challenges pressure healthcare stakeholders to provide high-quality care while controlling costs. However, blockchain technology can potentially transform and revolutionise the sector and address these challenges.

How beneficial will it be to access the patient's health history while maintaining safety and confidentiality? Won't that be valuable for the patients and doctors?

What is blockchain?

Blockchain technology is a decentralised and secure database that can validate past events. It has several enhancements that make it unique from traditional data warehouses.

For instance, it is decentralised—meaning no single entity controls the flow of information—and everyone on the network has access to the same information.

Furthermore, it is consensus-based, which means that everyone on the network must agree on the information added to the ledger.

Another essential attribute of blockchain technology is that it is 'add-only.' Once information is added to the blockchain, it cannot be changed, ensuring new information does not conflict with what's already on the blockchain. Anyone on the network can access and replicate the data stored there, enhancing transparency and accountability.

Blockchain can effectively control who accesses data stored within the shared ledger, making it incredibly secure and hacker-proof. 

Healthcare providers require secure and efficient access to a patient's complete medical history, and blockchain can deliver just that.

Data sharing and management

In the healthcare industry, medical errors are a leading cause of mortality. Unfortunately, the need for more transparency between medical institutions and the inability of hospital systems to share data safely and efficiently is a significant contributor to the problem.

However, by securely transferring patient records among health systems, blockchain can improve the coordination of member health management, lower transaction costs and risks, and even support medical tourism.

Blockchain has revolutionised the healthcare industry by improving the sharing and coordination of medical data, ultimately leading to better patient care. With the technology, patients can have complete control over their medical records, allowing them to share their data securely and efficiently with any healthcare provider they choose. This streamlined process can help reduce medical errors and improve patient outcomes.

Supply chain integrity

Blockchain can be particularly effective in improving traceability and transparency in the pharmaceutical supply chain. With blockchain, every transaction of any pharmaceutical product can be recorded, providing both the big picture and minute details of the supply chain. Patients can potentially access real-time information by storing supply data in a blockchain. 

In addition, barcode labelling can be used to enable other features, including monitoring the availability of medical records. This level of transparency and traceability can help prevent drug counterfeiting and improve patient outcomes.

Furthermore, blockchain can transform the system from disconnected data segments owned by a single entity to the life history of any resource, whether it's a patient's health record or a drug moving through the supply chain. 

Medical research 

In the healthcare industry, having a secure and centralised storehouse of clinical trials and patient outcomes for new treatments can significantly improve patient care. With blockchain, the unchangeable time-stamped records of clinical trials and outcomes can help reduce result switching, data snooping, unethical reporting, and lowering fraud and error.

The benefits of blockchain extend beyond improving the accuracy and reliability of clinical trial data. Blockchains can mobilise new and innovative research initiatives by sharing patient results more broadly with patient consent. This level of cooperation between participants and researchers can drive fresh and innovative research initiatives, ultimately leading to better patient outcomes.

The scope and outlook in the Indian healthcare Industry

Several blockchain healthcare companies have already adopted this technology, marking its journey towards decentralisation. As more healthcare organisations recognise the benefits of blockchain, we can expect to see widespread adoption in the future.

The key benefit of blockchain in healthcare is its ability to store and update patient data securely and efficiently. Blockchain can simplify fetching and transferring data by eliminating the need for third-party intermediaries, leading to the development of consistent, rule-based processes for various organisations to access patient data, improving patient care quality.

In summary, the potential for blockchain technology in healthcare is vast, with numerous applications that can simplify and streamline processes while improving patient outcomes. As more healthcare organisations adopt blockchain technology, we can expect greater industry innovation, collaboration, and transformation.

Edited by Suman Singh

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)