Healthcare system as we know it is evolving every day with cloud storage of information, easy and quick access to patient healthcare irrespective of the healthcare service provider, and interoperability with various segments and services of total health care.
Yet, there are many problems within this, data security and integrity is a paramount problem. where patients are not privy to accessibility information by people other than their doctors, they do not have the control to stop any misuse or tampering of their data.
Insurance claims take forever to get through, clinical trial information is engineered to the advantage of the drug company or even the hospital, counterfeit medicines are flooding the market.
Blockchain as a decentralized ledger system, in which data is secure, transparent and immutable could unveil the layer of secrecy and red tape prevalent currently and make healthcare accessible quickly and maintain the highest level of data integrity.
Blockchain integrated health care will reduce the overall cost involved in accessing healthcare-related services. The tech can pave the way to overall quickness in insurance payouts, by eliminating the need of intermediaries to verify and reverify all patient-related data.
The decentralized healthcare register
Currently, patient healthcare information is stored within individual hospital servers, only accessible to the healthcare practitioners within the institute, but if the patient wants to get a second opinion, then, they have to request for the entire file along with observations and evaluation to be shared with a third party. Data shared become erroneous due to manual entry and misinformation get lodged in. This entire process is cumbersome, time-consuming and not welcome. The patient does not have ownership of the data themselves.
Blockchain’s decentralized ledger system could put the patient in the driver’s seat when it comes to the custody of the patient information file. The decentralized system makes the same data available with everyone involved in creating or editing the patient file – doctors, nurses, imaging and lab service providers, the pharmacology. Different blocks of the same data can be made so that partial information can be shared on a need-to-know basis. All the accesses to the blocks of information lies with the patient, who shall authorize any changes or inclusion to it. Share it amongst people they trust.
Data provenance and Data Integrity.
Healthcare system has to keep track of multiple patient information, and there are more and more patient data being added every day. Primary patient health information, insurance, and medical claim data, IoT data or other health monitoring system data and electronic health records.
There is no system in place to trace all the information to the very beginning, the trail becomes cold. Blockchain’s timestamped data blocks will store information in the exact order, they are encrypted through cryptography, making it immutable. These timestamped data can be traced back to the exact point in time to check for data veracity and quick access to individual patient health history. Blockchain clearly provides data provenance.
Information on a blockchain network is stored in not just one location or a computer server, the one true copy of the data is made available with all the key stakeholders in the network. Patients, doctors, and pharmacologists will have the same data available, while the authority to share and accept changes to the data lies with the patient. In Blockchain, the encrypted data are immutable, thereby increasing data security.
Clinical trials that omit unfavourable data to tip the scale towards their drug for a clean chit from regulatory bodies will now have to show ‘all’ data pertaining to the trials and only those drugs that are truly innovative and provide a cure or a solution to a medical problem will see the light of day in the consumer market.
An end to counterfeit medicines.
It is known information that markets get flooded with fake, counterfeit medicines that account for almost 200% loss for the drug manufacturers, these losses are added to the medicine cost, borne only by the end consumer, making medicine costly.
Blockchain can bring an end to it. There are 2 networks of blockchain – public and private. Private networks for drug manufacturers would need them to register on the blockchain network to claim their authenticity. They would have to share the drug information right from its production through the supply chain until it reaches the retailers, even until it leaves the counter at your pharmacist. Patients can look up this chain of custody, be satisfied with its origins then make the purchase.
Those who do not register on the network will be excluded themselves. Even post-registration drug tampering can be avoided as the whole network, though private, will be accessible by regulatory bodies.
Quick insurance claims and money disbursement
Its the paper trail of claims that is time-consuming, making medical claims highly inefficient. With blockchain where all information is entered once and verified permanently, mediclaim’s third party involvement will not be necessary anymore. Smart contracts, self-executing contracts, could easily make the disbursement based on previously set guidelines. Even human verification can be done without the hassle of long and tedious verification processes.
Blockchain may have started in the financial sector, but a system that is non-central, highly secure, traceable and transparent is the need of the hour in almost all business verticals. The blockchain revolution has begun, if you want to be a part in building blockchain networks and applications, you need to be more than conversant with the subject, you need to hone yourself with the necessary skills.
EMURGO Academy will be your trusted learning partner, who will not only equip you with the right skills but also give you the right exposure, they will even open up gateways to the exciting job opportunities within the fast-paced blockchain industry.
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