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Blockchain in Healthcare | Benefits & Uses

With the increased popularity of blockchain and the need for more secure and effective solutions across industries, there is no surprise that blockchain is now a popular option for healthcare organizations and private clinics. Blockchain is a chain of blocks that are linked together through hashing technique. 

Each block in the chain is made up of time-stamped records of data, including financial, sensitive patient, and confidential information that should be well protected. Blockchain technology is decentralized in nature and is managed by a group of users on the decentralized network. All the data is then available on a distributed ledger for users to increase transparency.

All the sensitive data is encrypted through cryptographic algorithms, including RSA-256. Blockchain has gained popularity among various businesses since it helps to enhance security over the internet drastically. Blockchain use in the app or services has been shown to reduce the risk of being hacked by 95%.

Since the healthcare industry was the first one experiencing changes after the COVID-19 pandemic, blockchain was quickly chosen as a go-to option for higher security, improved patient outcomes, and broadened access to services. Now there are many blockchain uses in healthcare that show great potential in making health data systems more secure, efficient, accessible, as well as more reliable.

What is Blockchain Used For?

Although the popularity of the blockchain is growing, there are several challenges businesses can face when implementing it. One of the biggest ones is the difference between real blockchain-based apps and the hype. This can be hard to achieve since there are still only a few large-scale real implementations of blockchain technology beyond Bitcoin.

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One of the most popular blockchain uses is achieved through a well-built, carefully balanced mix of very advanced cryptography and in-built incentives. It was developed to reduce the need for a central controlling party to instead distribute the power among all participants in the blockchain ecosystem. 

This way, blockchain is now used in various industries, including finances, healthcare, manufacturing, and more, to remove the need for a third-party responsible for managing transactions between two parties. Blockchain ledger makes the transaction process secure, fast, and free from human mistakes. While blockchain was originally designed for the Bitcoin ecosystem, its uses have greatly expanded over the last few years thanks to the convenience it has to offer.

5 Benefits of Blockchain in the Healthcare Industry

1. Effective Data Management

A blockchain is a perfect tool for reducing issues in conventional processes when working with large-scale infrastructure. The improvement of data dispersion is resolved thanks to the blockchain’s decentralized nature. It allows healthcare organizations and clinics to effectively showcase preserving privacy and granting access to managing data.

Implementing international compliances, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), allowed clinics to effectively handle healthcare databases. Blockchain development companies develop medical applications ensuring compliance with all vital regulations for sustainability and credibility among the customers.

2. Cryptocurrency Payments

The use of blockchain ledger also allows businesses to build data-portable and interoperable digital medical solutions. All types of healthcare organizations, including hospitals, governments, pharmacies, and researchers, now implement two or three-layer security and authentication that blockchain has to offer. This makes it easier for companies to develop a more secure and viable way of executing futuristic medical operations.

The blockchain-based healthcare ecosystem reduces the most common issues in the healthcare industry. This approach improved the speed and ease of payments and increased the accountability of the payment process.

Cryptocurrency is a new payment model. Blockchain-based payment healthcare solutions allow us to effectively manage payments, send invoices, reduce costs, improve patient experience, and smooth the work of front desk staff.

3. Improve Care Quality

The healthcare industry requires several levels of protection to ensure the patient’s data is safe. That is why modern security systems are using blockchain to improve the safety of patients. It has already prevented digital fraud and increased trust thanks to blockchain protection. Patients can give access to their sensitive data to doctors, so there is no need to get back and forth to all their medical history, and all this can be done only if the patient wants to. This makes care easier and faster while also improving patient treatment outcomes.

4. Securing Patient Data

One of the biggest advantages of blockchain in healthcare is securing patient data. That is why clinics and organizations are now using smart contrast to temper patient records. This reduces issues associated with identifying the disease or problem in the patient by the doctors and hospitals while also making sure the data is protected from fraud. 

Recent research has shown that around 176+ million patient records were breached between 2009 and 2017. The hackers stole not only medical data but also credit card details and bank information so they could use them in unethical ways. It is almost impossible to hack the blockchain since it is a tamper-proof, distributed, and incorruptible solution. Learn how to protect your healthcare website from hackers

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5 Blockchain Use Cases in Healthcare

1. Supply Chain Transparency

One of the biggest challenges in the healthcare sector is to guarantee the provenance of medical goods to ensure their authenticity. Blockchain-based system implementation can help easily track items from the manufacturer to the pharmacy or the clinic. Supplies can be tracked through the entire process, which allows parties to have full visibility and transparency of the goods they are getting and patients are buying.

This has quickly become a number one priority for the healthcare domain, especially in building markets where counterfeit prescription medicines can lead to millions of deaths annually. The popularity of blockchain for the supply chain also grows for medical devices since they are proliferating quickly with the implementation of remote health monitoring, so they attract more hackers.

2. Patient-Centric Electronic Health Records

Clinics and healthcare organizations all across the world are struggling with a problem associated with data silos. That means doctors and patients have an incomplete overview of their medical histories and have to get documents every time they visit a new doctor. This not only makes the process harder and longer but also usually tends to cause treatment mistakes.

A study performed by Johns Hopkins University in 2016 has shown that the third leading cause of death in the US was medical errors that came from poorly coordinated care, including lack of previous treatment data, planned actions not completed as intended, or errors of omission in patient medical history.

3. Insurance and Supply Chain Settlements

The most popular use of blockchain in healthcare is insurance and supply chain settlements. There are several companies on the market that offer blockchain-based systems allowing various organizations like pharmaceutical companies, medical device OEMs, insurers, and clinics to easily authenticate their identities as organizations. These identities can include log contract details, track transactions of services as well as pay settlements for these services and goods.

Blockchain-based environments are far beyond regular supply chain management in order to allow trading partners and insurance companies in the medical domain to operate based on entirely digital and, in some cases, automated contract terms.

4. Medical Staff Credential Verification

The same applies to tracking the provenance of a medical good. The blockchain ledger is also used to track the experience and skills of medical professionals by letting trusted institutions and organizations log the credentials of their staff so the degree and knowledge can be tracked and verified with no hassle. Such systems have already been developed, and one of the best examples is the US ProCredEx credential verification system that uses the R3 Corda blockchain protocol.

5. IoT Security for Remote Monitoring

Last but not least useful case of blockchain in healthcare is through the adoption of remote monitoring solutions. These solutions are designed to measure patients’ vitals remotely to help give healthcare providers more visibility into patients’ health. While it was first developed in the days of COVID-19, it is now one of the biggest trends in the healthcare sector that allows for more proactive and preventative care. 

Conclusion

Based on IBM, almost 70 % of healthcare companies anticipate that the most significant effect of implementing blockchain into the healthcare domain is the improvements in clinical trial management. That is because blockchain technology offers an effective decentralized framework and regulatory compliance that allows for sharing of electronic health records (EHR). 

The healthcare industry lacks data security, effective and easy payments as well as poor quality care due to a lack of records. Therefore, blockchain comes to resolve most of these issues by granting access to keep, share and manage data emerging from its activities is vital for the sector’s operations.

However, blockchain development is a tricky question. And it becomes even more complex when it comes to the healthcare industry since companies should follow a wide range of compliances and have enough skills. The first thing here is to find a trusted and experienced development partner that offers healthcare app development services. Before choosing the company, explore its previous works, code policies, and soft and hard skills as well. 

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