Blockchain can be described as a decentralized node network where the data is kept. It is a great piece of technology for keeping system-wide private data safe. Important data can be exchanged using this technology while maintaining its confidentiality and security. It is the ideal solution for securely storing all relevant papers in one place.
Blockchain Technology in Healthcare
The pace of development is accelerating at ever-increasing rates in the area of healthcare. Today there is a demand for high-quality medical facilities that are supported by cutting edge and modern technology. Here, blockchain is playing a significant role in revolutionizing the healthcare industry. Additionally, the structure of the healthcare system is changing in favor of a patient-centered strategy that emphasis on the key aspects i.e., always having access to the right resources for treatment.
Advantages of Blockchain in Healthcare:
- Data sharing, privacy and interoperability were the biggest issues in health management until now, but with the help of blockchain technology, these particulars can be easily resolved.
- The technology is helpful for gaining insights and analyze the records.
- Citizens can be a part of research projects, also improved research and data exchanging on public wellness will improve care for many groups.
Applications of blockchain in healthcare industry:
- Managing electronic medical or health record (EMR/EHR) data: There are a lot of Blockchain based applications that supports the management of EHR, the Ethereum platform is used by MedRec to give patients knowledge and information about who can access their medical records. FHIR chain is used for sharing clinical data that focuses on healthcare record management. Many other blockchain based applications like BlocHIE, MedBlock.
- Remote Patient Monitoring: It refers to the gathering of medical data using mobile devices, body area sensors and IoT devices in order to be able to remotely monitor the patient’s condition. Blockchain technology is crucial for the storage, exchange, and retrieval of remotely gathered biomedical data.
- Pharmaceutical Supply Chain: The pharmaceutical sector is another recognized use case for blockchain. Patients may suffer severe effects if they receive fake or subpar medication. It has been determined that blockchain technology has the power to solve this issue.
- Supply Chain transparency: Verifying the origin of medicinal products in order to ensure validity is a major concern for the healthcare business. A blockchain-based system can be used to trace products from manufacturing to every step of the supply chain. Customers who use this strategy may see and understand everything about the products they purchase.
- Drug Traceability: It provides a reliable way to ensure drug authenticity. Blockchain can be used to store information about the medicine at every stage of its lifecycle. Every block holding pharmacological information will have a hash connected to another block and an unchangeable timestamp.
The transportation of the drug from one party to another can be tracked in real-time, and all authorized parties will be able to see the transactions in the Blockchain.
Challenges in blockchain adoption
In addition to highlighting specific problems with blockchain implementations like lack of scalability, inadequate standardization, and slow transaction rates, the confluence of blockchain and healthcare systems poses several obstacles with data (related to standards, accuracy, and privacy).
Let's look at the major obstacles to using blockchain technology in the healthcare sector:
Lack of Standards: Not to add the absence of healthcare industry regulation, the blockchain still lacks common standards. Healthcare can become chaotic if there are no universal norms. Just because a healthcare provider says they use a blockchain doesn't guarantee that their patients' sensitive information is protected. Smart contracts that might be used in medical institutions to manage payments and handle claims should also be subject to legal rules. Additionally, there are some worries that PHI encrypted with the help of mathematically derived techniques may one day be re-identifiable, which is against HIPAA regulations.
Lack of technical knowledge: Lack of knowledge is another problem that explains why medical facilities do not opt to adopt blockchains. Most medical practitioners are unsure of the necessity to utilize this technology because blockchain adoption is still in its infancy in the healthcare sector. Once existing blockchain-driven healthcare solutions demonstrate their advantages and persuade rivals to join forces, the scenario will change.
Lack of interoperability: Numerous companies will need to be open to working together and exchanging data for blockchains to be adopted internationally and used to their full potential. These entities, which are obligated to preserve their patients' data and hence reluctance to freely exchange patient information, include healthcare providers, pharmaceutical corporations, governmental agencies, health insurance organizations, and numerous intermediaries.
Required Resources: Healthcare organizations are accustomed to depending on reliable vendors to support their infrastructure layer, even though this infrastructure isn't ideal. They're more inclined to keep things straightforward than develop a totally new operating system that runs on blockchain technology. Making sure blockchain technology in healthcare solutions complies with current infrastructure, security, and other standards as well as providers' expectations is crucial if we want to convince healthcare providers to alter their opinions.
Human Errors: Data management is expected to be more effective, quicker, and fail-safe when powered by a blockchain than when it is managed by people. However, the manner that medical records have traditionally been handled may introduce new problems, and a blockchain cannot safeguard medical systems from human mistake.
According to IBM, 70% of healthcare executives believe that the development of clinical trial administration, the provision of a decentralized framework, and regulatory compliance for the sharing of electronic health records will be the most significant effects of Blockchain on the health industry (EHR).
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