Blockchain In Healthcare: A Revolutionary Step

Published : Apr 10, 2018

Blockchain revolution in healthcare sector

  • Healthcare is a big market around the globe. Professionals in health IT consider Blockchain as a medium to safely share medical records, secure vulnerable data from cyber attacks, and provide patients control over their personal data.

    How Blockchain Works

    The term Blockchain became worldwide famous after the success of Bitcoin. It is not possible that you have missed hearing about the term or reading it somewhere on the internet. It simply is an electronic network system. Several private industries, public organizations, and researchers around the world are exploring how blockchain can be practically used for business purposes.

    Further, this technology saves data in a distributed network of participants in linked blocks. Whenever there is a change in any information, a record of the transaction is created in a ledger. And, each block contains a replica of the shared ledger and is interlinked, in chronological order, to the previous block with a cryptographic hash.

    What are the Use Cases and Benefits of Blockchain in the Healthcare Sector?

    Data sharing among health providers, patients, and pharmacies in a better and more efficient way, will help improve treatments, cut down expenses in medical care, and give accurate diagnoses. In this way, Blockchain facilitates shared access across the network without harming data integrity and security.

    Data Security

    Traditional information storage is weak when it comes to security, but the shared blockchain ledger is public, and thus the data is duplicated across all the blocks in the network. It keeps all the information in a single location (Centralized form). It also provides access to records via a shared public chain or private chain. This means only the patient will have access to control their personal medical information via a private chain piece. If any hacker wants to steal data or gain access to it, he will have to concurrently breach every participant in the network, not just one.

    Data Privacy

    The technology gives complete data privacy at the time when you transfer data. For instance, a patient’s records will be updated as soon as a doctor prescribes him a medication. The distributed public ledger will record the change at that moment. Now the record of the patient is encrypted and a link is created for gaining access by the doctor and the patient only. This procedure reinforces the privacy of electronically protected health information (ePHI), and electronic health records (EHR) and is covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).

    Use cases of Blockchain

    Drug Tracking

    Around 50 % of drugs in the market are counterfeit. The pharmaceutical industry can gain great benefits from blockchain. It makes use of a highly scalable transparent method in which it assigns the manufactured product an asset. These assets are then added to the blockchain and assigned a unique identification number i.e. a hash. Then this hash is verified by blockchain technology to determine the authenticity of a product. The supply chain management using this technology can track and trace drug sourcing to mitigate the counterfeit drug business.

    Billing Management

    Based on estimations by Industry Analysts from Frost & Sullivan Health Practice, 10-15% of healthcare expenses are illegal, resulting from excessive billing for services that never existed. With Blockchain, improvement in the logistical tracking of reliability-centered maintenance (RCM) functions can be seen.

    Healthcare IoT

    Blockchain-powered solutions can close the gap on security through safeguard measures, down to the gadget level. When data breaching is done by attackers, the source can be tracked because blockchain transaction logs cannot be altered or deleted. So, Malicious insider attacks and hackers can be identified easily.

    Health Research

    Some health researchers and clinical trials go unreported and therefore, unregulated, making a safety issue for participants. Thus, Blockchain evolution can address selective reporting and the changes done in results by using time-stamped records and results.

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