Author(s): faevy#6563 & estha#4406
Last updated: 18th Feb 2023
Blockchain is a distributed system that records and manages transaction data. Blockchain simply allows users to communicate through cryptographic methods, such as data storage, exchange, and viewing. As blockchain is not controlled by a central authority, there is no requirement for prior trust. Transactions are managed and distributed among all the participants of the network.
All transactions within the blockchain are visible to all parties involved; transactions are often verified in the Blockchain before data can be added; it retains records of transactions and permits a trustless collaboration among network participants.
Blockchain in healthcare simply refers to the use of blockchain technology in healthcare for a wide range of purposes. Many healthcare industries use the blockchain system for managing their operations because it has significant advantages, which I'll describe below.
Blockchain technology can be useful in the aspect of detecting counterfeit drugs which could cause great harm to consumers. This decreases the rate of public distribution of fake drugs, limiting the harm that could be done to the general public. Besides that, some healthcare facilities currently accept crypto payments, allowing patients to pay at any time and from any location.
Health-care systems can employ blockchain technology to safely store medical records that, if recorded on paper, may easily go missing. It could also be incredibly tedious and old-fashioned to store patient information on paper or an unsafe system, such as on your laptop. When patients' information is lost owing to management carelessness or a lack of adoption of a better, civilized method of safekeeping information, the reputation of such healthcare facilities and even health practitioners might be tarnished. In a blockchain-enabled system, faster diagnosis and interventions are also achievable and can be personalized to each individual by eliminating misunderstandings between several healthcare professionals caring for the same patient.
blockchain system makes it easier to store and retrieve patient health records, making it easier and faster to access patients' information and treat them more effectively and promptly. Consider a patient who does not have any family members and develops a medical condition in which he or she can't remember their medical history; in cases where the information is stored in the blockchain system, this saves both the patient's life and the doctor's time because the doctor can simply retrieve such patient's information, especially in cases of emergency.
Clinical trials conducted by experts can also be safely stored in the blockchain. Some researchers may lack the financial resources to conduct these clinical trials, or they may be unable to travel to the locations where these trials are conducted; thus, the use of blockchain becomes extremely beneficial in making the results of these trials easily accessible to authorized participants.
Blockchain technology aids in the updating of patient data across multiple healthcare facilities and locations. As a result, healthcare facilities will be able to devote more time and resources to patient care and health improvement rather than management. Data is updated more efficiently since medical practitioners do not have to search through each record to update such information.
Blockchain essentially focuses on the patient and ensures healthcare security, privacy, and interoperability. New prescriptions, medical history, initial treatments, and past diagnoses could all be shared among hospitals, labs, and pharmacies, making it easier to treat patients.
The blockchain system is so innovative and safe that information could be made accessible to authorized users, preventing hackers from breaching the facility's vital records. Mistakes made on paper or by merely saving on a computer can be easily avoided by simply storing them on the blockchain. You'd agree with me that storing data just on your laptop isn't completely secure because it can be accessed and altered by anyone. We've seen incidents when patients' results were tampered with as a result of a faulty data storage system.
In some occurrences, they will tell you that files were lost simply because they were mishandled or kept in an unsafe manner. Medical information is often encrypted, maintained on remote servers in an unreadable state, and then distributed into smaller bits to prevent any one entity from decrypting, altering, or transferring the data without consent from the Blockchain system.
When a patient's data is stored on the blockchain, it saves the patient a lot of time and money because the patient does not have to re-run some medical tests in order to retrieve their medical records because data was lost; some of these tests can be quite costly and time-consuming. For instance, if a patient is suffering from a critical health condition and arrives at the healthcare facility where they often receive treatment to discover that their files have been lost and they must re-run some tests, this could have a negative impact on the patient's health or, in the worst-case scenario, result in their death. Time is of the essence; the time spent conducting tests could have been used to save the patient's life if their information had been easily available and safe through the usage of a blockchain network.
The elimination of third parties in a healthcare system via blockchain reduces costs even further when using smart contracts. Blockchain technology delivers one-of-a-kind services for patients. This means that unsolicited insurance companies and healthcare providers are kept at bay. Once these intermediaries are removed, the number of payments and contracts is reduced to a bare minimum. Smart contracts, with their interoperability and improved claims adjudication, are another area where blockchain excels in healthcare.
Blockchain enables the prevention of genetic data theft, as well as the emergence of an online marketplace where researchers can gain access to genetic data for research purposes. They won't have to go through intermediaries who might take advantage of them financially. This helps greatly in encouraging scientists to conduct genetics research because the data required is conveniently accessible and secure. Hence, blockchain technology can assist healthcare experts in uncovering genetic code.
By using blockchain technology in the healthcare system, instead of storing patients information in a single database, the data is distributed over several network nodes, making it difficult to completely get lost, instead of relying on a single database which when lost, cannot be retrieved. The coolest part is that when information is either updated or altered in one node, it's equally updated in every other network node. For instance, having one device and cloning it with several devices, whatever is done on one device automatically reflects in the others, as easy as that!
It also assists clinicians in developing more personalized treatment plans and completing diagnoses more rapidly. The blockchain makes it easier to track when a study was carried out. People don't have to worry about acquiring unlawful information since the information stored on a blockchain is legal. They also don't have to worry about getting outdated information because it's easy for providers to evaluate and act on it, especially when an emergency develops.
The entire prescription process is visible thanks to the use of Blockchain, from production to distribution to pharmacy retailers. Interoperability can be more easily achieved under patient leadership since patients can use blockchain technology to make their medical data accessible and have access to legislation. In addition to improving confidentiality and privacy, decentralized technology gives patients more control over their personal information.
It enables optimal purchasing planning in order to avoid delays and shortages of certain medications in pharmacies, clinics, and other healthcare facilities. Blockchain-based digital frameworks would be used to help ensure that unauthorized changes to the logistics data are avoided. It instills trust and prevents persons interested in getting drugs from improperly handling information, finances, and medication. The use of technology can greatly improve the conditions of patients while keeping bills down. It removes all hurdles and difficulties in multi-level authentication.
When blockchain enables real-time monitoring of drug prescriptions and purchase, it allows medical institutions to keep a real-time record of a patient's drug usage. Only a confirmed patient can purchase a specific pill or amount of pills to prevent drug abuse.
Healthcare startups are also gaining ground. They can now provide far safer services and products to patients in need. Furthermore, the personalization of products and services has improved. Startups in health records have benefited both patients and businesses.
Note: There is Zero Knowledge proof tech being developed, which means privacy issues can be solved using it. Also if you are worrying about giving that much power to a centralized entity, start learning about DAOs😉 Future is Bright!
**1. Inadequate Technical Knowledge/Adoption
**This system demands technical knowledge now, which some medical practitioners may lack; this could be an obstacle to implementing this technology. Many avoid using laptops or PCs. This could be solved by education and raising media awareness.
**2. Bad Actors
**Blockchain is very secure but there are still cases of attacks and hacks. Hacks to get a hold of highly confidential information and also user’s wallets for the purpose of stealing funds. This could be solved by authentication, users should be authenticated by using special IDs to prevent security problems.
~Web 3 Series #19