Blockchain or distributed ledger technology has the potential to transform not only the financial sector but various other sectors like healthcare, agriculture, logistics, supply chain management, and many more. Blockchain technology is based on a decentralization model where information is transferred directly from source to destination without any intermediary. Transaction records are distributed all across the blockchain network rather than maintained by a central authority. Breakthrough cryptographic techniques deployed by distributed ledger technology assures the trustless network with utmost security and privacy. Another feature of non-immutability ensures that data duplicity and tampering are next to impossible to the data maintained on the Blockchain network. In this article, we are going to understand how this innovative technology can overcome the challenges faced by the healthcare sector. Also, learn about the latest inventions associated with Blockchain in healthcare sector 2020.
Challenges In HealthCare Sector | Blockchain Healthcare Sector 2020
The Healthcare sector is one of the most important sectors which needs continuous evolutions and development in terms of maintaining records, developing new vaccines, tracking the supply of pharmaceuticals, analyzing the data of any patient, and many more. As the countries are dedicating more of their annual budget in this particular sector, they need the sector to be as efficient as it can be.
According to a report by BIS Research, adoption of the Blockchain technology has the potential to save the healthcare industry around $100-$150 billion by 2025 by saving the costs related to a data breach, Information Technology, operation, and logistics; and also through reduction in frauds and counterfeiting. The report further concluded that healthcare might spend approximately $5.61 billion on Blockchain by 2025. Let’s find out how the challenges in the health sector can be countered with Blockchain Technology and also Blockchain in healthcare sector 2020.
Disparity of Data| Fragmented To Connected | Effective Supply Chain Management:
Pharmaceutical companies face the problem of fragmented data scattered among different companies with different data structures. At the time of drug development, information from various researches need to be collected, but the disparity of data makes the accessibility of data difficult. Also, the process of gathering the data and analyzing it all over again turns out to be a time-consuming process, leading to more problems. Handling process for pharma needs a major shift.
As the Blockchain is a distributed ledger system, it has the capability to connect the fragmented data related to blockchain in healthcare research paper, clinical trials, already analyzed information, and many more just like Health Information Exchange. Thus, Blockchain can help in generating better insight and accessibility of the information. Managing the supply chain comes with the added risk and complexity for pharma companies as it directly impacts the safety of the patients and health outcomes. By using the transparent network of Blockchain, end to end management can be easily traced, eliminating falsified medication and reducing revenue loss. Pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline collaborated with Blockchain company Viant to utilize the track and track technology based on Blockchain for an efficient pharma chain of supply.
Hurdles In Research | Improved Research Process | Eliminating Intermediaries
Pharma sector is turning competitive day by day which leads to more centralization of researched data. Centralized databases creates the difficulty for researchers and drug trial clinics to share the data with the people who actually need it.
Biotechnology is one of the sectors of the healthcare industry which is constantly involved in developing new techniques, drugs, or treatments. If the data related to researches taking place all across the globe get systematically arranged through Blockchain technology, it would not only save the lives of many patients but can break through the research process by reducing the time in data collecting, researching, and analyzing. For instance, MIT Enigma provides the secret-sharing platform based on Blockchain to allow researchers to share the data of clinical studies with utmost privacy. Whether it is the transfer of medical records or the transferring of documents from research media to others, huge transaction costs of intermediaries need to be incurred. With the help of Blockchain, friction due to the intermediaries can be eliminated easily. Also, security along with privacy can be assured by the digital Blockchain for healthcare data.
Difficulty In Bookkeeping | Handy Bookkeeping
Bookkeeping is an exercise to maintain the records of costs incurred in different processes. In the healthcare sector, research from many companies combines to finally launch any drug or vaccine. Keeping track of the cost of processes like clinical trials, chemicals used and many more and that too of a number of companies is a difficult task, which leads to mismanagement in health expenditure.
In the Blockchain network, data can be stored and easily sorted related to cost incurred at every stage and that too in a tamper-proof manner. Not only, data can be utilized for auditable records but it could also help in making the treatment feasible by getting the insights from the analysis of figures associated with the costs of each process. For instance, pharma company Boehringer Ingelheim recently announced to integrate Blockchain n their network for reducing the complexity related to financial reporting activities.
Counterfeiting Of Medicines | Combating Counterfeiting
Some companies and groups are spoiling the healthcare industry by faking the medicines and introducing them into markets (which might end up in taking lives!). Poor manufacturing techniques, improper storage facilities, drugs stealing, and also the penetration of counterfeited drugs are a few of the major challenges of the health industry which shakes the credibility of the sector.
Maintaining and tracking the records associated with particular medicine with the help of Blockchain health informatics can not only reduce the huge loss encounter by the pharma companies due to counterfeiting of drugs but also increase the credibility and makes a healthy competitive environment for the manufacturers of drugs and other medical equipments.
Fragmented Data of Patient | Hassle-Free Accessibility of Medical Records
Before any treatment, number of diagnostics, data related to medical history, and diagnosis need to be submitted. And supposedly, if the treatment of one doctor does not suit you then you have to move to another doctor or any specialist and have to submit the documents again. Centralization of data to the patient creates trouble for him every time he thinks of switching the doctor. Also, permissions from patients or family need to be taken before performing certain operations, which usually takes the time in the consultation process and exploring other options of treatment. Along with the consent process, privacy and security of data also need to be assured.
Blockchain medical records can help in organizing the complete and accurate records across the whole medical industry (with limited accessibility) ensuring the effective diagnosis of disease and the most efficient treatments. Blockchain can ensure the data of the patient can be easily transferred from one doctor to another by just providing him accessibility of records of patients rather than carrying from one hand to another. For instance, healthcare blockchain companies like 4Medica, HealthVerity, and many more are deploying Blockchain to maintain the data of patients in an efficient and cost-effective manner and serve as the platform for managing and sharing the data.
Long Process of Medical Claims | Quick Medical Claims
Generally, people are having their health insurance policies which they try to utilize as and when needed. But, the insurance companies consume a lot of time and energy while verifying the terms and conditions of the medical claim of the insurer. Digital payment systems are not deployed by most of the companies.
Smart contracts or digital contracts that can be utilized by the Blockchain network have the potential to transfer the medical insurance industry. Blockchain in health insurance can help in easing the process of receiving claims and completion of transactions by drawing the contracts between hospitals or clients and insurance companies. For instance, Project Dovetail utilizes the smart contract platform of Intelligent Healthcare Network and TIBCO’s smart contract project for hassle-free and verifiable transactions.
The benefits of Blockchain in healthcare cannot be ignored but must be capitalized to revolutionize the healthcare industry. Blockchain aims to reduce the complexity and boost the security and non-immutabilty of the healthcare network. Several challenges are involved in implementing blockchain in healthcare 2020, but can the results outweigh the risks and challenges associated with the sector. Thus, Blockchain can completely transform the Healthcare sector if implemented properly.
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Tarulika is an engineering graduate and an eloquent crypto blogger. Being a digital economy supporter, she keeps herself updated with the course of the latest innovation in the crypto industry, Blockchain Technology, and the Internet of Things. Currently, she is dedicatedly curating the simpler and interesting content for crypto guides for beginners to accelerate the movement of the financial revolution. If you want to learn more about the cryptocurrencies, latest trends of blockchain-powered AI applications, you are free to follow her on LinkedIn.