Blockchain and Its Impact on the Healthcare Industry
A thought leader once said, “It’s not that we use technology, we live technology”. Technology has touched almost all industries including the healthcare industry. It has not only improved the quality of care but has helped the healthcare organizations to introduce a state-of-the-art care facility that impacted the patient’s wellbeing.
Blockchain expanding in the healthcare domain
The concept of blockchain has come a long way from the technology supporting an alternative currency that is bitcoin to a technology supporting advanced analytics. Hence, one can witness the rapid expansion of blockchain-based technology offerings in the healthcare sector. To understand the impact blockchain has on healthcare, it is essential to understand the concept of blockchain first. Blockchains are a set of distributed systems that are recorded through log transactions. Its security benefits are worth mentioning since it is spread across a network of replicated databases that are in sync. When a specific block is updated, the information gets replicated across all network types. This eases the process of data management and upgradation. This considerably improves data management efficiency and security which led to its usage in the healthcare industry.
Blockchain impacts the following areas
Health records of patients
Often the healthcare IT department faces a challenge in maintaining the healthcare records and keeping them integrated into the system. Blockchain not only manages to store the records efficiently but also ensures reliability and security. Since it helps to maintain all data and records integrated, it benefits both the hospital as well as the patient. The blockchain-based Master Patient Index (MPI) proves useful in this regard ensuring accurate patient health information.
Considering the cost factor
The whole process of tracking a patient’s data is complex and expensive. Since a patient will not remain confined to one single service provider thus it becomes cumbersome to keep tracking service providers, bills, adjustment with insurance companies and so on. Blockchain technology plays a key role here in tracking patient’s data in less time.
Creating an environment of trust
For successful therapies and treatments, cross-organizational collaboration is required where patient data and medical records need to be shared. Here blockchain creates an environment of trust to ensure successful collaboration where data can be shared without the fear of getting stolen.
The future of blockchain
For the blockchain technology to gain momentum and prove more useful, a standard protocol is essential since medical health records are time critical. With more advances in technology, the concept of blockchain in the healthcare domain seems to be promising. According to industry experts, the US is expected to spend 20% of its GDP on the healthcare industry. Hence, we can conclude that the blockchain will experience further growth in the near future.
- Kathakali Basu