Healthcare industry seems to be flooded with data breach instances, and 34% of healthcare data breaches come from unauthorized access or disclosure. In terms of costs, according to HIPAA journal, healthcare data breach costs the highest of any industry at $408 per record.
Moreover, health data ownership isn’t easy to authenticate due to lack of inter-agency data flow, lack of standard data formats, and lack of access to personal health data as stored in a medical institution. The fragmented nature of these health services also causes insurance processing issues and frauds and makes it difficult to trace the origins of the counterfeit drugs.
Another cause of concern is the lack of healthcare systems that can enable reliable and convenient initial diagnosis.
All these factors indicate the need for a comprehensive health management system that can offer innovative and more secure methods for healthcare data storage and transmission, and Blockchain technology seems to be a perfect solution.
The Future of Blockchain in Healthcare looks Promising
Using the Blockchain technology, data and information can be stored in immutable blocks that cannot be accessed by people who do not have the requisite codes. Moreover, as the technology enables simplified claim processing and inter-agency data flow without the fear of data breach or data distortion, it certainly fits the bill.
ALLIVE, MediLedger and, MedRec are some of the examples of the successful application of Blockchain technology in healthcare with many more to enter the market in the near future.
Let’s point out how exactly Blockchain can transform the healthcare industry.
Immutable and Traceable Patient Records: Records in Blockchain are secure, time-stamped and tamperproof, ensuring data integrity. Besides, patients can grant validated access to healthcare providers for their records, eliminating the risk of unauthorized access. Additionally, real-time access to data can help healthcare professionals to make a crucial diagnosis and offer timely intervention.
Hence, challenges like data reliability, data privacy, and data interoperability can be effectively addressed and fixed via Blockchain.
Traceable Supply Chain Management: The immutability of records assists in tackling issues related to counterfeit drugs. With Blockchain, manufacturers can keep a tab on the ingredients used in a drug ensuring medical standards are met, and pharma companies can trace the movement of their drugs from the manufacturer to the endpoint in the supply chain.
The complete path of origin can be traced and any new transaction added to the block will be timestamped and verified publicly.
Insurance Fraud Prevention: Claim settlement in healthcare is highly susceptible to frauds and usually takes long processing time. Blockchain for healthcare can help eliminate frauds as the health companies can have access to the verified, recorded and stored data entered by both the healthcare providers and the patient.
Besides, consistent rules can be set in place, with the help of a smart contract, for various organizations that need access to patient data.
Better Medical Research: This technology can help researchers access the data entered into the system throughout the clinical process. The timestamp feature can be quite helpful in data traceability and in establishing the requisite data validity and accuracy. The time-stamped records of trials, experiments, protocols, and results can help contain frauds and research errors.
The best part is that the decentralized approach of Blockchain can eliminate any single point of failure thus offering a trusted ledger of all the transactions occurring in a network. It can indeed be the silver bullet needed by the upcoming IoT industry.
In addition to the above, Blockchain can assist in 24*7 data monitoring for the high-risk patients and can eliminate the third party and mediator systems, thus reducing the overall healthcare costs.
Considering these benefits, it’s wise to go for a Blockchain app development to gain a competitive edge in the healthcare segment. However, make sure to contact only the top blockchain app development companies with qualified app developers, who can help you make a real impact in the market.
Having said this, let’s also take a look at the other side of the story. The technology is still fairly new and there isn’t any clearly delineated data ownership procedure or clearly defined rules and regulations in place. Besides, the storage capacity is a serious cause of concern as the health management system will have all the medical records, documents, images, and lab reports, and conceptually speaking, each member will have their own copy of the document. So, it seems that these teething troubles will need to be dealt with if the technology has to work well.
Despite all this, we can safely conclude that Blockchain will still be far more superior to the traditional systems that are less secure and prone to frauds and errors.
In the healthcare sector, Blockchain technology promises higher security, complete data traceability, reduced possibilities of fraud and better medical research along with the readiness to deal with the IoT storm. Nevertheless, as the technology is still in its nascent stages, there is uncertainty in terms of data storage capabilities and data ownership rules and regulations.