A powerful technology called blockchain makes it possible for many parties to access and share data in a safe manner. If treatment quality is to be enhanced, the administration of patient data across the health service needs to be more integrated, as well as the capacity to apply analytics to population-level medical information is crucial.
Blockchain healthcare applications in the field of digital health
In the sphere of digital health, where patients' privacy and security are also of the utmost importance, this presents a huge difficulty. In a nutshell, block chain technology can enhance digital health by making it easier for different healthcare systems to safely share patient-approved data.
Verifying the authenticity of medical goods
Healthcare and many other businesses place a high priority on ensuring the legitimacy of medical products by confirming their authenticity. The implementation of a blockchain-based technology to track items from the place of production and at each stage along the supply chain allows customers to have complete clarity and accountability of the products they are purchasing.
This is a major problem for the industry, especially in underdeveloped nations where bogus prescription pharmaceuticals cause thousands and thousands of fatalities each year. As much more remote health surveillance is implemented, it is becoming increasingly important for medical devices as well, which are expanding quickly and drawing the attention of dishonest actors.
Principal benefits of the blockchain
- A client's capacity to follow each cargo from beginning to end, with integration with producers, distributors, transportation, etc., constitutes a customer guarantee.
- Manufacturers of pharmaceuticals and medical devices are required to submit numerous reports in order to sustain patient safety. Compliance can be simplified by integrating supply chain information into a data system. For instance, when an issue is found, FarmaTrust's blockchain-based system automatically alerts law enforcement.
- Supply chain optimization: After centralizing all of the data, companies utilize AI to more precisely predict demand and modify supply.
Electronic health records that are centered on the patient
Healthcare systems around the world struggle with data silos, which only give patients and their medical professionals an incomplete picture of their medical history. According to a study from Johns Hopkins University published in 2016, medical errors resulting from poorly organized treatment, such as planned activities not carried out as intended or inaccuracies of omission in health records, were discovered to be the third leading cause of death in the US.
The key benefits of blockchain-enabled EMRs are as follows:
- A comprehensive, accurate, and centralized database of patient medical records that is advantageous to both health care providers and patients
- They give patients the option to see when their medical files are updated and give explicit permission for any information to be shared with others or with healthcare providers. The patient may also choose to share all or a section of their health records with researchers, which would limit the amount of time that any third party would have access to that patient's medical information.
- Medical insurance can obtain quick, verified certification of hospital services from patients without spending time or money on a middleman.
Smart contracts for supply chain settlements and insurance
Using blockchain-based systems offered by businesses like Chronicled and Curisium, a wide range of participants in the healthcare sector, including pharmaceutical companies, medical equipment OEMs, distributors, insurers, and health professionals, can authenticate their individuality as organizations, log contract details, track money transfers of products and services, and track trading and settlement details for those services and goods.
Beyond supply chain management, this kind of setting makes it possible for insurers and business partners in the healthcare sector to operate under entirely digital and, in some cases, automated contract conditions.
Manufacturers, distributors, as well as healthcare organizations can significantly lower disputes over payment chargeback claims for prescription medications and other commodities by adopting shared digital contracts held on a blockchain ledger as opposed to each party having their own copy of the contracts. According to Chronicled, over one million reimbursement claims are filed between these players annually as a result of continuously changing price structures. More than 5% of these claims are contested, necessitating time-consuming human settlement.
Similar to this, patient medical insurance agreements can be managed by pooled smart contracts. 10% of claims, according to Curisium, are in dispute. Once this data is digitized and easily accessible, insurance providers can utilize more advanced analytics to optimize medical outcomes and costs, similar to other use cases.
Verifying the credentials of medical staff
Similar to tracing the origin of a medical commodity, blockchain technology could be used to track the expertise of medical professionals. Reputable healthcare companies and organizations have the ability to log the credentials of their employees, which streamlines their employment procedure. ProCredEx, a US-based company, developed a system for verifying medical credentials utilizing the R3 Corda blockchain technology.
The primary benefits of the blockchain system are:
- faster credentialing for healthcare organizations during the hiring process
- a potential for healthcare organizations, insurers, and medical institutions to make money off of their current credentials data on former and present personnel
- Transparency and confidence for partners, including companies using contract temporary workers
IoT security for online observation
One of the biggest trends in digital health is the usage of remote monitoring systems, where different sensors recording patients' vital signs are used to help give healthcare professionals more awareness into patients' health, allowing more proactive and preventative care. I when it comes to ensuring that medical data is secure, private, and that it cannot be changed to yield inaccurate findings, security is a major issue in the health IoT. In some situations, depending on a connected device in an emergency may be necessary.
Finally, blockchain may enhance IoT security inside the healthcare sector, even if these use situations are still in the early stages of development and it is uncertain which solution would be most successful. For digital health organizations attempting to find a way to keep remote surveillance equipment secure, blockchain is worth taking a look into, but only as a part of a far more comprehensive end-to-end security approach.