- June 25, 2020
- Posted by: Lara Tlass
- Category: Blog
Blockchain has been one of the most prominent technologies that have provided ground-breaking solutions to almost every single industry we can think of due to its functionality of being a distributed public or private ledger which enables trust between people and businesses as it guarantees immutability by a network of computers. Industry giants are adopting the blockchain technology to revamp the way they function. One of the most vital industries of today’s world that is looking to adopt blockchain technology is the healthcare industry.
Innovation in healthcare is an extensive procedure and involves several parties from policymakers, businesses and modern science. We have seen major improvements, thanks to the discovery of the internet and software advancement, which improved security, speed transfer and depository of medical records; yet there are core problems that could be resolved with Blockchain adaptation.
Our population exploded thanks to improved medical care in large part, and our businesses became a lot more complex. As a result, the lack of trust on a centralized platform has raised a few concerns with regards to medical records and patient identification. Patients have faced several issues such as lack of access to their health data, mismatch with the record and I.D or even moving their medical records to another institution without prior consent. Blockchain can help both the medical institutions and patients.
Interoperability is a massive problem in the healthcare industry. In fact, improved healthcare interoperability is been a top priority for providers, policymakers, and patients for a long time. The three concerns when it comes to ineffective interoperability is the trouble of identifying patients, sharing medical records and information blocking.
Unfortunately, as of today, we still don’t have access to a universal patient recognizer identifier. Although several organizations, such as the HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) have been working hard for the past decades to develop it.
This has indeed become an issue especially if we consider the fact that a unique patient identifier will be able to easily solve the problem of mismatched patient EHRs (Electronic health record) which has led to several mistakes in patient care in the past, increasing the risk of harming the patient. This problem has been well addressed by several medical data analysts and healthcare workers.
Information blocking is the outcome of an obstruction on the exchange of patient data or electronic health information. It goes without saying that information blocking practices that involve unreasonable interference and awareness are a huge handicap to efficient healthcare practice. Blocking can take place because of policies that prevent sharing information, as well as practices that make sharing extremely impractical. The reason for this is straightforward. Hospitals do not want to lose out on patients and want to make it as difficult as possible for them to want to move to another hospital.
How can blockchain help solve this issue?
The private blockchain, (unlike public blockchains) is not accessible to everyone. As a result, people who want to participate in the private chain must have permission to be part of this network. This is the reason why private chains are also called “permissioned blockchains.” Because of this, there are restrictions on the kind of people who can take part in the consensus. Access for new participants could be given by the following; a regulated authority and a consortium. These private chains have been specifically designed for enterprise needs and offer a lot of features like fast transactions, privacy and high security.
Permissioned blockchain can help end the interoperability problem in the healthcare industry. Imagine a network on healthcare institutes where they do not own a patient’s personal data. The data is all stored in the blockchain. The patients are identified via their blockchain ID which will be their unique identifier. The blockchain allows the ID to be unique and secures the privacy of the user, it can also help in the creation of a patient information sharing marketplace. This way, it will be possible to incentivize information sharing between the different institutes to prevent any kind of information blocking.
In some cases, if we still have some malicious attempts to information blocking or tampering, then we have two of the blockchain’s most significant features which will step up and handle this situation.
Firstly, the blockchain is a transparent medium; anyone who is part of the network can look into the blockchain and look at how each transaction takes place and whether all the relevant information is getting passed through or not. Secondly, we have anti-tampering.
Advantages of the Medical Healthcare Blockchain
Since the blockchain is immutable and traceable, patients can easily send records to anyone without the fear of data corruption, modification or tampering. Similarly, a medical record that has been generated and added to the blockchain will be completely secure.
The patient can have some control over how their medical data gets used and shared by the institutes. Any party which is looking to get the medical data about a patient could check with the blockchain to get the necessary permission.
The patient can also be incentivized for good behavior via a reward mechanism. For example, they can get tokens for following a care plan or for staying healthy. Also, they can be rewarded by tokens for giving their data for clinical trials and research.
Pharma companies need to have an extremely secure supply chain because of the kind of product they carry. Pharma drugs are consistently stolen from the supply chain to be sold illegally to various consumers. Also, counterfeit drugs alone cost these companies billions annually. A transparent blockchain will help these companies to enable close tracking of drugs to their point of origin and thus help eliminate falsified medication.
Various medical institutes around the world conduct their own research and clinical trials on various new medications. The blockchain will help create a single global database to collect all this data and place them in one place.
There are several blockchain–based solutions to healthcare needs already in place, for instance, “Patiantory” blockchain platform enables the secure storage and transfer of important medical information. The platform enables patients, healthcare providers and clinicians to access, store and transfer all important information via blockchain. “Nebula Genomics” uses blockchain to eliminate expensive middlemen streamline the study of genetics and lower costs. Here is a list of many healthcare solutions and institutions using blockchain.
With the healthcare industry being one of the most vital industry at this time, iOWN Group will have crowd-investment opportunities available on the soon to launch iOWNX platform, where users will be able to invest iOWN Tokens in growing healthcare sector as well as other sectors such as real estate, Hospitality, FMCG, energy etc...
Certain information regarding Blockchain in Healthcare on this blog has been cited from blockgeeks.com