Welcome to the dynamic world of healthcare, where ground-breaking technological advancements and digitalization are reshaping the healthcare landscape like never before. In today’s generation, the healthcare industry stands at the forefront of technological innovation. We are witnessing some unparalleled possibilities with Blockchain, Wearables, AI, IoT, Data Analytics, etc in the healthcare landscape.
With the amalgamation of technology and compassion, we can experience a healthcare ecosystem that is convenient and accessible for both patients and healthcare providers. The journey of digitalization in the healthcare industry has just begun. There is so much yet to come in the near future in which Blockchain will play a crucial role.
In this article, we will explore how Blockchain plays a crucial role in revolutionizing the healthcare industry. Their used cases, benefits, and challenges of integrating blockchain technology solutions.
Table of Contents
What is Blockchain Technology and How Can It Transform The Healthcare Industry?
Blockchain technology is a decentralized and distributed ledger that can record transactions across various computers in organizations. The data across the platform is accessible to all. The data stored on the blockchain platform cannot be edited, or deleted once added. Its major features include:
- Blockchain Solutions provides Security and Integrity
- Blockchain Technology provides Transparency
- Blockchain Offers Immutability
- Blockchain-Based Smart Contracts
- Blockchain provides Decentralisation
The significance and worth of blockchain technology for the healthcare industry can be helpful for real-world situations where blockchain solutions are proven to be game changers. Blockchain application in healthcare drives accuracy in health data and enhances the management of patients’ recorded data.
Blockchain technology helps in patient remote monitoring and ensures the security and safety of each patient’s records. It ensures confidentiality in storing and retrieving PHI. Healthcare organizations effectively integrate blockchain for the drug and pharma business. It significantly supports the drug supply chain and battle against fakes and insufficient drugs, verifying compliance with quality control principles.
Blockchain in healthcare supports efficient and fast medi-claim insurance and easy transaction processes. Its immutability and transparency features enhance the overall healthcare administrative process.
Benefits of Implementing Blockchain Technology in Healthcare
Blockchain plays a crucial role in the healthcare industry. It provides endless benefits that are capable to revolutionize the healthcare industry. Let’s explore a few of the well-known benefits.
- Patient Data Security: Blockchain technology has the potential to securely encrypt patient data in a decentralized tamper-proof way. Blockchain safeguards patient data from unauthorized access and other data breach techniques.
- Seamless Data Exchange: Blockchain provides seamless and standardized data exchange within the different departments of healthcare organizations. It eliminates all intermediaries and empowers healthcare organizations to access real-time information to make decisions.
- Streamlined R&D and Clinical Trials: With the help of blockchain technology, researchers can safely exchange data and can make faster drug discoveries without the risk of any data breaches. Faster discoveries can result in improved treatments.
- Robust Supply Chain Management: Supply chain management is one of the crucial parts of the pharmaceutical sector. Drug manufacturing to drug distribution needs a robust platform so that stakeholders can track and monitor the drug management process. Blockchain will enhance the whole process of manufacturing till the distribution by ensuring quality and transparency at each step.
- Efficient Billing and Claims Management: Automated effective billing management and fast claim settlement are one of the greatest benefits for healthcare service providers. With the help of smart contracts organizations can streamline reimbursement procedures and enhances accuracy and offer transparent transactions for both patient and healthcare provider.
Challenges Faced By the Adoption of Blockchain in Healthcare
Blockchain technology has many benefits however every new technology carries with few challenges with itself. let’s explore a few challenges that may arrive when you begin integrating blockchain into your process.
- Lack of Technical Knowledge: Lack of technical knowledge is one of the major challenges every organization faced while implementing blockchain into their business process. Many users are not that tech-friendly and fear adopting such technologies.
- Regulatory and Legal Considerations: The healthcare sector is one of the most regulated sectors that requires different compliance in regulations for example HIPPA. HIPPA is a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act that is essential for integrating blockchain. The legal exchange of patient data and other crucial healthcare research data on a decentralized platform requires careful consideration.
- Highly Priced Technology: Blockchain technology comes under the premium range only which makes it a bit challenging for organizations to quickly adopt. It consumes more electricity to mine each block which is hard to handle for a few organizations.
- Scalability & Adaptability: Public blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum, frequently battle with adaptability and scalability. As healthcare data is voluminous and multiplies quickly, it can present difficulties in transaction processing. Scaling blockchain organizations to deal with the rising volume of healthcare services data while maintaining productivity and security is a huge challenge.
- Lack of Speed: Blockchain solutions are comparatively slower than other technology platforms which creates hurdles while transacting the data in such a large network. Sharing of patient information becomes slower and takes too long to reach the destination.
Use Cases of Blockchain Technology In The Healthcare Sector
Patient-Driven Electronic Health Records
Blockchain can be connected to existing electronic clinical record software and as an overall, single view of a patient’s record for physicians and patients. There are the following use cases of EHRs.
- Secure and Private EHRs: Blockchain provides a secure and un-editable platform to store patient health records. Stored data on the blockchain is encrypted and distributed across many PCs in the organization. It ensures that patient data is protected and can be accessed by authorized personnel only.
- Patient Consent Management: With the help of smart contracts patients have greater access to their health data. They can provide access to specific healthcare providers and can revoke access anytime.
Drug Supply Chain
Blockchain in healthcare is utilized to track the whole movement of clinical items, drugs, and devices from suppliers to patients. This can assist with preventing fake items from entering the market and guarantee the safety and authenticity of clinical items. Blockchain has the potential to address given issues by offering a decentralized and immutable platform that guarantees transparency, traceability, and authenticity in the drug supply chain.
- Authentication of drugs: A unique identifier or digital token is assigned to every drug on the blockchain platform which helps in verifying the reliability of the drug at each step of the supply chain. fake drugs and wrong products can be identified easily and will be removed permanently.
- Traceability of drug supply: Blockchain solutions provide an auditable and transparent record for each transaction or any event that can occur during the whole supply chain process.
Smart Contracts For Insurance Settlements
Smart contracts help hospitals to track clinical insurance policies for patients. When the information is digitized and effectively accessible, insurance providers and suppliers can utilize more investigation to enhance health results and expenses. Smart contracts can automate the terms and conditions of any insurance contract and remove all intermediaries. It enhances transparency and provides the utmost security. For claim and insurance settlement it can be used as follows:
- Automated Claim/Insurance Settlement: Regular insurance and medical claim processes include various paperwork that is time-consuming and comes with lots of errors. Smart contracts are the best way to overcome these traditional process as it automates the claim settlement process. Once the predefined conditions are defined properly it triggers the claim automatically. it helps in cost reduction too.
- Fraud prevention: Fraud insurance and claim settlement are not new things they are major concerns of all time in the healthcare sector. Fraud insurance settlement can lead to financial loss for insurance companies and create problems for policyholders. Blockchain Smart contracts facilitate a transparent platform that makes the insurance settlement process clear and nobody can falsify claims.
- Seamless reinsurance process: Reinsurance is one of the common practices that happen in the insurance industry. In this process, insurers transfer a part of their risk to some other insurance company. Here blockchain smart contracts can streamline and simplify the reinsurance process without much hassle. Smart contracts automatically trigger the claim once information is checked.
Medical Staff Verification
Verifying the certificates and qualifications of healthcare experts is essential for guaranteeing patient security and keeping up with trust inside the organization. Blockchain solutions facilitate a safe and decentralized system for putting away and verifying staff data. Healthcare organizations can log and monitor the credentials of their staff using blockchain technology. In this arrangement, subcontractors, hospitals, and patients benefit from an easy hiring process with greater transparency. Let’s see how it works.
- Portable credentials: Healthcare staff frequently move between healthcare institutions/organizations or work in various locations. Checking and verifying their certifications and qualification and experience across various places can be time-consuming. By putting away data on the blockchain, experts can have convenient and effectively available records. While moving to another job, professionals can give cryptographic evidence of their certifications available on the blockchain, taking into consideration proficiency and instant verification.
- Streamline the hiring process: Blockchain technology is a time-saving tool as it helps easily and quickly verify healthcare professionals’ qualifications, certifications, and experiences. It is crucial for the healthcare industry to carefully hire healthcare experts as they will be responsible for patients care.
Security In Healthcare
Security remains an important concern in health IoT, both in terms of maintaining patient confidentiality and preventing false information from being generated could be solved with blockchain. Blockchain technology provides strong security options that can altogether improve data security, privacy, and authenticity in healthcare services. Here are the ways it is used for security purposes:
- Data encryption and integrity: Blockchain utilizes cryptographic algorithms to encode healthcare information and data, guaranteeing its privacy and integrity.
- Cybersecurity and ransomware protection: Blockchain can support safeguarding healthcare services frameworks against digital assaults, including ransomware. By utilizing a decentralized record, blockchain eliminates the risk of a single failure.
Clinical Research and Trials
Blockchain technology solutions offer a transparent and secure and tamper-proof platform for doing clinical research. It can help in monitoring patient data and guarantee the integrity of the trial data.
- Clinical trial management: Organizing clinical trials includes various stakeholders, complicated protocols, and vast data management. Blockchain technology solutions can simplify the management of clinical trials by delivering transparency, automation, and audibility. Smart contracts can automate all the trial protocols and guarantee compliance with ethical rules and regulations.
- Intellectual Property And Royalties: Blockchain technology establishes ownership and guards intellectual property rights and royalties in clinical research. Blockchain technology establishes ownership and guards intellectual property rights and royalties in clinical research. Researchers and experts can easily record clinical patents on the blockchain platform that will be immutable proof of their intellectual property.
How To Choose A Suitable Healthcare Blockchain Platform To Help Organisation Achieve Its Goals
Selecting an appropriate healthcare blockchain platform for your healthcare organization demands careful review and evaluation of various factors. With the help of the following steps you can select the correct platform to achieve your organizational goals:
- Define your organization’s goals: The foremost thing is to identify the reason why your organization needs blockchain solutions. Whether you need to enhance security, wanted to increase data integrity, and so on.
- Understand blockchain technology: Before implementing blockchain solutions you first need to learn more about it. What are its benefits, challenges, applications in healthcare, etc? How blockchain can help you achieve your organizational goals.
- Evaluate scalability and performance: Assess the scalability and performance necessities of your healthcare organization. View the size of data you wish to handle, the number of stakeholders on the blockchain network,
- Evaluate interoperability: Interoperability is important for healthcare systems, as they require various stakeholders and different technologies. Always look for a blockchain technology platform that can support interoperability criteria and can integrate with current systems, for example, electronic health records (EHRs).
- Analyze consensus mechanisms: Consensus mechanisms decide how exchanges are approved and added to the blockchain. Various blockchain platforms might utilize varieties of algorithm calculations such as
- Proof of Work (PoW)
- Proof of Stake (PoS), or
- Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance (PBFT).
- Blockchain platform selection: Carefully choose the blockchain development platform that can help you achieve set targets and is equipped with features you wish to implement in organizations. There are mainly three types of blockchain platforms:
- Consider cost and ROI: Assess your chosen blockchain platform’s total cost of ownership (TCO), including authorizing fees, infra prerequisites, development costs, and maintenance support.
- Seek feedback and references: Learn and search before relying on anyone. Gather reviews and feedback from people and organizations who have implemented it. Also, you can browse several case studies.
- Hire a Blockchain Development Company: You can hire a reliable and experienced blockchain development company like CDN Solutions Group to get consultation about everything. Hiring a blockchain developer can help you in creating a dream blockchain-enabled system that can help your organization drive success in the right direction.
- Maintenance: Maintaining your blockchain-integrated system is crucial in the long run. You must choose a blockchain development service provider who can help you in maintaining your system always.
Future of Blockchain Technology in Healthcare
The future of blockchain technology solutions in the healthcare industry is promising, with the possibility to disrupt the sector. It appears to be sure that blockchain will positively impact the healthcare sector in the near future. One key consideration where blockchain can have a huge effect is data and information security and protection.
The innovation even disrupts the healthcare industry, where information is kept private and charges are transparent. Where organ transfers run as expected and fairly, and insurance claims frauds diminished. It’s all conceivable, but the blockchain most certainly needs to jump a few obstacles before it can implement without a doubt.
There are several organizations that have adopted this disruptive technology and experiencing seamless data exchange. A few of them are listed below.
Secure Patient Data Exchange: MedRec is a blockchain-based platform that helps patients to give access to their healthcare records to authorized providers. It decreases the chances of duplicate tests and assures accurate diagnoses and treatment methods.
Clinical Trials and Research: Collaboration between Pfizer and IBM is one set example they are using a blockchain-based platform to monitor, track and verify the reliability of clinical trial data that guarantees it cannot be modified.
Health Insurance and Claims Processing: Change Healthcare company has adopted blockchain-based health insurance and claim processing platform that is reducing the risk of fraudulence providing a secure platform for patients and healthcare providers to receive money safely.
The role of blockchain solutions in the healthcare sector can be transformative. By addressing basic difficulties like information and data security, interoperability, and trust, blockchain technology solutions can change how the healthcare system work, working on persistent results and smoothing out processes.
The capacity to safely store, transfer, and track delicate health records on a permanent and decentralized platform opens ways to improved information protection, secure patient record, productive inventory management, and a robust drug supply chain.
As blockchain solutions are gaining popularity and continue to evolve we can hope to see increases in adoption and implementation across the healthcare services industry, making ready for a safer, effective, and patient-driven healthcare ecosystem.
If you are looking to implement blockchain solutions into your healthcare organization get in touch with our blockchain experts or feel free to contact us. We will help you in the best way possible.