Could blockchain technology face healthcare challenges?
Blockchain is a revolutionizing technology renowned for allowing access between multiple parties and securing data sharing. It has been adopted by numerous sectors, including healthcare, which faces serious problems regarding data privacy and security. It is essential to understand that the healthcare system is much more than caring for patients, especially since this would be possible without proper coordination in managing patient information and the correct application of analytics.
Hospital cybersecurity breaches are also prevalent, no matter how unbelievable this might sound. Forbes indicates that these breaches reached the pinnacle in 2021 when approximately 25 million individuals were victims of cyber healthcare threats. As data shows, the number of data breaches in the healthcare sector has tripled since 2018, which raises concerns. A technology that could address these challenges is vital now more than ever. Fortunately, if fully deployed, blockchain technology can put these issues to an end and revolutionize the medical field. It has the potential to change how patients are treated and enable top-notch security across all operations.
The latest blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies are becoming mainstream and driving digital transformation. Since the healthcare sector has always concentrated on progress and innovation, it is no wonder that it started to adopt such technologies in various processes.
Let us explore the actual potential of blockchain technology and what it means for healthcare.
What is blockchain?
We cannot delve into the subject of healthcare blockchain without explaining what blockchain really is. Blockchain could be defined as a mix of in-build incentives (represented by tokens) and very advanced technology, and although it is often mistaken for cryptocurrency, it is wise to understand that they are not one and the same. Blockchain is actually the technology behind digital currencies, a futuristic technology that generates and records transactions through a distributed system. It fundamentally acts as a digital ledger that encrypts data, or stops it from being accessed by unauthorized parties, bound together to form a single source of truth. Data cannot be accessed, modified, or manipulated, as every time one tries to do so, a block is generated. Thus, information changes can be easily recognized. Given the previously mentioned facts, blockchain technology can minimize security risks and remodel many industries, including healthcare.
Why this technology has the potential to revolutionize the medical industry
Blockchain has proved its uses in multiple industries, including financial services, education, and commerce, but did you ever presume it would make such a huge transformation to the medical industry? Surprisingly or not, this technology can be applied to the healthcare sector in many ways, resulting in new possibilities for patients to access healthcare and considerably reduced costs. Paired with innovation and the compounding nature of data, blockchain can work wonders. We will detail it for you in the following so you can have a clearer idea of its immense potential. One more thing to say – blockchain is much more than cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. The potential of this technology goes beyond imagination borders, so apart from looking for the Bitcoin price today, we heartily encourage you to research the many use cases of blockchain, as our below-mentioned are just a small part of a long list.
Supply chain transparency
One of the most significant challenges of many sectors (and healthcare is no exception) is ensuring the origin of goods to validate their authenticity. This is even more critical in the medical industry, as medical supplies can directly influence people’s health. Using a blockchain-oriented system to monitor products from the production point and at every phase through the supply chain makes it possible for consumers to have a full picture of their provenance and authenticity. Transparency is, to say at least, one of the leading factors influencing a customer’s buying decision, whether we talk about medical items/services or simply that latte around the corner.
The authenticity of prescription medicines has to be carefully assessed, as they can cause severe damage and even death if expired. The same is true for medical devices like health monitoring gear; their origin should be available not to generate confusion among consumers and not to grab the interest of bad actors. Blockchain-based systems (fused with AI) can prevent such mishaps, so if you work in the healthcare industry, ensure you benefit from this leading-edge technology.
As technological advancements are all the rage today, it is not surprising that increasingly more companies and businesses have taken the digital route. Hospital processes also benefit from the incredible upsides of using online data storage. However, technological progress has come with a not-to-be-ignored disadvantage – more and more cyberattacks. And unfortunately, health organizations (insurance providers, hospitals, and healthcare IT organizations) are also targeted by such cybersecurity threats.
Since blockchain is a widely distributed and decentralized technology, it encrypts all transaction data, making them untraceable to malicious actors. Every block links to all the blocks before it in a complex, cryptographic chain in such a manner that it is almost impossible to manipulate data and compromise the system. Blockchain’s benefits of ensuring top-notch security have started to be widely reaped by thousands of organizations around the globe, including healthcare organizations that now have the option to provide a stronger line of defense to secure patient data.
Blockchain is the much faster alternative to paper checks and faxing, and we say so because there are many healthcare organizations, including insurance providers, that are still using such manners for sharing information or transacting payment. But why not take advantage of the blockchain’s high security and rapidity when all you have to do is choose a reliable blockchain protocol?
Traceability and reliability
Sharing information via email has always been a communication problem, as there is no proof of receipt. Plus, emails could be erroneously stuck in an outbox or in the spam, making it challenging to find, not to mention to read, them. Well, you no longer have to depend on exchanging data over email, as you can use blockchain technology in your very best interest. It ensures reliable and traceable communication by combating the proof of delivery and receipt issues. So, once a message is sent, it cannot be canceled or taken back, as the blockchain distributed ledger reflects modifications in real time.
Is blockchain the answer to future progress in healthcare?