• Vishal Menon S

4 Use Cases to show how Blockchain can transform Healthcare Sector

Updated: Oct 18, 2019

The healthcare sector and health systems face issues including security, interoperability, data fragmentation, timely access to patient data and many more. The application of healthcare Blockchain could enable data interoperability, enhancement of precision medicine, and reduction in prescription fraud through implementing novel methods in access and patient consent.



The Three Pillars of Blockchain Technology


1: Decentralization

In this system, the information is not stored by one single entity. In fact, everyone in the network owns the information. You can do so directly without going through a third party


2.Transparency

A person’s identity is hidden via complex cryptography and represented only by their public address. So, if you were to look up a person’s transaction history, you will not see “Bob sent 1 BTC” instead you will see “1MF1bhsFLkBzzz9vpFYEmvwT2TbyCt7NZJ sent 1 BTC”.


3: Immutability

Immutability, in the context of the Blockchain, means that once something has been entered into the Blockchain, it cannot be tampered with.


Following are the few unsolved issues in the healthcare industry and how Blockchain can help in overcoming the challenges


1: Drug Traceability – Blockchain Use Cases in Healthcare


What is the problem?

Drug counterfeiting is a major problem in the pharmaceutical industry until now. 10% to 30% of the drugs sold in developing countries are counterfeit. The main issue with fake drugs isn’t the fact that they are fake but rather that they can be very different from the original product in a quantitative and qualitative way.


How can Blockchain help?

Companies that register a product on the Blockchain have to be trustworthy to ensure authenticity. The Blockchain is useful in keeping track of the entire manufacturing chain of the drug. Each new transaction added to a block is immutable and timestamped.


Through this, we are able to get the complete trail of the drug. Each time the drug moves from an entity to another, the information is stored on the Blockchain which makes it easy to track the drug and wipe off counterfeits from the shelves.


2: Clinical Trials – Blockchain Use Cases in Healthcare


What is the problem?

A considerable amount of data is produced like safety and quality reports, statistics, blood tests, surveys, medical imagery.


Large groups of people are involved, making it hard to track and control everyone.

Fraud usually includes modifying or hiding data that could compromise the advance of the clinical trial and damage the image of an organization among regulatory agencies or patients.


How can Blockchain help?

Clinical trial data can be stored in a secure, unfalsifiable and publicly verifiable manner on the Blockchain. This prevents tampering with clinical trial results, thus improving the reliability of the clinical trial data.


3: Patient Data Management – Blockchain Use Cases in Healthcare


What is the problem?

Medical records are kept in very different locations and there is no common database for keeping the records.


The patient cannot claim full ownership of his medical records because giving him complete control over the information would also allow him to change certain information or even delete the parts of it. This could have repercussions on both his health and public health.


How can Blockchain help?

Blockchain provides a structure for storing data as well as for sharing data. The data is stored in the organization’s existing databases and/or on cloud computing systems. A hash is created from each source of data and is redirected to the Blockchain along with the patient’s public ID.

If required, the patient can share the full details of his medical records to any stakeholders without changing or deleting information.


This makes it easier for new doctors to better understand the situation and treat patients accordingly.


4: Medical Insurance frauds - Blockchain Use Cases in Healthcare

What is the problem?

Insurance fraud is one of the major problems of the modern healthcare industry. We are talking about a case when patients or service providers submit false or misleading information to insurance companies to receive payable benefits.


On the patient’s side, we often deal with hiding the info about pre-existing diseases and lying about the nature or extent of an injury to get higher payouts from the insurance companies.


How Blockchain can help:

These problems can be solved if both patients and clinics have to enter their information and data to the Blockchain platform for verification, recording and secure storage. In case of need, health insurance companies will have access to this data to calculate the number of payments due.

The additional benefit is that in this case the information is not stored in any centralized database that can be hacked and stolen. Instead, it is being kept in a decentralized leakage-free environment helping protect the privacy of the patients.


Conclusion:

There is no doubt that Blockchain can make a significant impact on the future of Healthcare and medicines. Blockchain addresses data privacy and security needs of all key stakeholders of the healthcare industry such as doctors, pharmacists, insurance companies and the patients.


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