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Blockchain Technology: A Sureshot Game Changer for Healthcare?

08 October 2021
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In this blog post, we will first outline the current landscape of the healthcare industry, discover the problems associated with it, and then move to how Blockchain would make a difference. So, without any further ado, let’s get started and dig in!

There’s no denying that healthcare is one of the most complicated industries when it comes to economy and data flows. Because of its extremely intricate infrastructure built on obsolete and disparate technologies, it takes plenty of time and resources to process, secure, and support a massive amount of personal medical information.

Besides that, the healthcare industry is constrained to limited regulations and interactions with third parties. On top of all, accessing essential medical information in a timely fashion remains a challenge, probably because of the lack of interoperability between different legacy systems.

In addition to this, the medical records stored on-premises or in the cloud are accessible only to a few healthcare providers. Even patients do not have access to their medical records or data that is scattered in the databases of diverse healthcare providers or hospitals. Apart from that, the centralized control over medical information makes databases vulnerable to hacking, loss of sensitive data, and various other types of malicious activities and security breaches.

Talking about security breaches, the number is increasing rapidly with an average healthcare institution losing $380 per compromised patient record. There were over 233 security breaches reported by the end of 2017, with 500 or more patients being involved. While malicious cyber attacks were one of the topmost reasons for most breaches, compliance failure, human errors, and third-party complications also contributed largely to the overall deterioration. 

So, this was a glimpse of the current healthcare landscape and the shortcomings associated with this industry. Now moving to how Blockchain can help!

A new technology enters the healthcare arena

The current medical data management systems do not provide a strong and reliable connection between diverse healthcare providers, thereby creating various difficulties for all participants involved in the system. This is where Blockchain comes in and steals the spotlight, empowering patients to share, control, and access their medical data most efficiently.

Blockchain helps in creating a standardized transaction layer for all the parties involved in a network and unifies the way data is added, stored, and exchanged between parties.

If implemented well, Blockchain can help enhance data provenance, integrity, functionality, and, of course, security of the pharma supply chain.

“We are using blockchain as an additional layer of security to help us ensure the integrity of health records. Privacy and integrity of healthcare information are a top priority for the government, and we are happy to work with innovative technologies like the Blockchain to make sure our records are kept safe.”

– Artur Novek, Implementation Manager and Architect at the Estonian E-Health Foundation.

Now let’s go through some recent stats to help you better understand where Blockchain is heading towards in healthcare:

  • More than 70 percent of healthcare leaders agree with the statement that Blockchain carries a significant promise for healthcare interoperability.
  • 40 percent of healthcare professionals include Blockchain in their top 5 priorities.
  • According to a recent report by BIS Research, the global healthcare market spend on Blockchain technology is expected to surpass $5.61 billion by the end of 2025.
  • Around 61 percent of pharma companies are already embracing innovative technologies like Artificial Intelligence, with Blockchain implementation in their pipeline.
  • By enabling complete visibility and transparency throughout the pharma supply chain, Blockchain helps in drug tracking and eliminating falsified medication, helping pharma companies reduce revenue loss up to $43 billion annually, according to a report by BIR Research
  • 38 percent of top healthcare CIOs state that better management of Electronic Health Records (EHR) via Blockchain is top of their agenda and budgeting needs, according to a survey conducted by KPMG.

All in all, it has been predicted that the adoption of Blockchain technology could save the healthcare industry around $100 to $150 billion per year by 2025 in costs related to various aspects such as data breach, IT personnel, operations, support functions, and fraud and counterfeit products.

Blockchain: A Silver Lining for Healthcare Industry

Well, why Blockchain is the game changer and a silver lining for the pharma supply chain? Keep reading to find out!

Taking into account the consistent increase in data breaches over the past few years, a prediction has been made based on research by TechSci Research that the technology in healthcare will increase at a 70 percent compound annual growth rate over the next seven years. And Blockchain would be crucial to all of this for a plethora of reasons.

First, it enables the secure exchange of sensitive information without the need of making its copies, which is a major boon as it helps decrease mistakes in records. Also, the information is time-stamped, which adds to its security while offering the potential to safeguard payments in diverse healthcare settings. This reduces the need for heavy, highly-priced equipment while also plummeting costs.

Second, this highly innovative technology empowers scientists and healthcare researchers across the globe to share their research data, which allows them to work together to solve complex problems.

According to Boyd Insurance, Medicare fraud in the US alone costs around 68 billion dollars in a year. And Jack Liu, CEO at ALLIVE says:

“A blockchain environment can eliminate a large portion of this fraud when providers and patients must enter their information and data to be verified, recorded and stored and health insurance companies must have access to that data.”

To know whether Blockchain will live up to its hype in healthcare, glance through this blog post.

Below are the potential benefits healthcare companies can reap by integrating Blockchain technology into their business processes:    

  • Data provenance and integrity: this leads to immutable and distributed data records that stay protected from any security breach and data tampering.
  • Better data security: this leads to decentralized data storage which eliminates the single point of failure.
  • Personal data protection: blockchain provides data encryption and individual cryptographic access keys that protect both the patient’s identity and other personal information.
  • System interoperability: blockchain comes with universal global authentication that enables data exchange among all types of systems.
  • Improved data management: this leads to the elimination of third parties, which moreover reduces cost and access time lag.

To dig deeper into the applications of Blockchain in the healthcare sector, skim through this blog post.

“Blockchain can effectively prevent the alteration or deletion of information and accounting systems on off-chain electronic documents. This is because one of the things you can do with blockchain is store metadata, a pointer, and a hash code of off-chain data on the blockchain. This makes it possible to check the integrity of that file to make sure it hadn’t been muddled with.”

– David Houlding, the director of healthcare privacy and security for Intel’s Health and Life Sciences (HLS) Group

Below is a pictorial view depicting how blockchain helps healthcare professionals, e-pharmacies, and patients subsequently:

To Sum Up

The potential of Blockchain in healthcare is immense. However, unlike many might think, implementing it is no rocket science or a fairytale. Blockchain is a super promising tech that can solve the most pressing problems the entire healthcare and pharma industry is facing on a daily basis.

Although various healthcare leaders have raised certain concerns regarding Blockchain adoption in healthcare, there’s no denying the fact that the benefits outweigh the risks, and that too by a steep margin. Want to make the most of them for your business? We’ve got you covered! We provide an inclusive range of custom Blockchain development services and enterprise-grade implementation solutions for leading Blockchain platforms, protocols, and permissioned ledgers, including Hyperledger, Ripple, Corda, and Ethereum. For a quick consultation, you can drop us a line at info@debutinfotech.com or call us at 1-703-537-5009.

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Debut Infotech A Top-Rated Web, Mobile, & Blockchain App Development Company

Debut Infotech is a global mobile app and digital product development company that leverages Blockchain, IoT, AI, and other cutting-edge technologies to help SMEs, startups, and global enterprises harness the incredible power of modern digital products to drive their online businesses to unwavering new heights. 

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