Healthcare is a fundamental aspect of human well-being and the overall development of individuals and society. However, the current healthcare system has several drawbacks such as data breaches, rising costs, and difficulties in verifying medical records’ authenticity. However, Blockchain technology could help health organizations ensure secure EHR streamlining and patient data sharing. The integration of healthcare and technology, particularly blockchain technology, can streamline medical records providing a secure, decentralized platform for recording and verifying medical information and enabling more efficient and cost-effective healthcare models.
This blog presents a complete overview of the current state of healthcare in blockchain, its potential use cases in healthcare, and the solutions and applications that bring innovation to the healthcare industry.
What is Healthcare in Blockchain?
“Healthcare in Blockchain” utilizes blockchain technology for secure transactions, medical information records, administrative tasks, and clinical research in the healthcare industry.
How Blockchain disrupts medical record keeping?
Blockchain not only mitigates challenges like data security but also introduces efficiency and transparency to revolutionize healthcare data management. Some of the solutions are mentioned below;
Medical Record Keeping: Traditional systems are centralized, making it difficult for healthcare providers to share patient records and patients can’t easily access their own medical information. Using blockchain technology, records can be stored and shared in a decentralized manner, making it easier for healthcare providers to share patient records and for patients to control and access their own medical data.
Clinical Trials: Clinical trials and research are required for the development of new treatments and drugs. Traditional methods are often time-consuming and unsecure, making it difficult to share data and collaborate with others. Using blockchain technology facilitates the sharing and streamlining data, enabling researchers to easily access and analyze large datasets and collaborate with one another.
Drug Supply Chain Management: Traditional supply chain management systems are vulnerable to fraud and errors. Blockchain technology can create a secure and transparent platform for tracking and verifying the authenticity of drugs throughout the supply chain, making it easier to detect and prevent fraud and errors.
Medical Device Management: Conventional methods for managing devices are often inadequate. Blockchain technology can create a secure and transparent platform for tracking and maintaining medical devices, making it easier to detect and prevent failures and ensuring that patients receive the highest quality care.
Digital Identity: Blockchain technology can create a digital identity for patients that can be used to verify their identities and access healthcare resources. Also, healthcare providers can create digital identities for their patients and an immutable record of medical information that can be shared with third parties such as insurance companies and researchers.
Insurance Claims and Verification: The process of submitting and verifying insurance claims in healthcare is a complex process. Blockchain can streamline this process by creating a secure platform for tracking and verifying claims. Smart contracts can automate the claims process, by triggering specific actions based on predefined conditions, reducing errors and saving time for both patients and insurance companies.
Examples of Blockchain in Healthcare Applications
Many healthcare organizations are currently exploring the application of blockchain technology in healthcare, and they are creating a variety of services and products that take advantage of the decentralized and secure nature of this technology.
EMR/EHR Smart Contracts: Immutable, encrypted medical records that are easily accessible by authorized parties are possible by the integration of smart contracts and blockchain-based systems into EMR/EHR. Additionally, EMR/EHR can automate processes with smart contracts that will enable secure patient authentication and identification. It also supports research while preserving patient data security, and securely share patient data.
Blockchain-based Clinical Trials and Research: Blockchain can provide traceability of the research process by creating an immutable record of all data changes and facilitating data sharing and process streamlining. This as a result will provide rapid creation of novel medications and treatment. Additionally, smart contracts have the ability to track patient outcomes, automate the consent process, and securely share data with regulatory bodies.
Drug Supply Chain Management: Blockchain-based systems provide a secure and transparent platform for tracking the manufacturing, shipping, and sale of drugs allowing users to detect any malicious activity or errors in real-time. As a result, detection and prevention of fraud and errors. Also, smart contracts can automate tracking and verifying the authenticity of drugs, such as through the use of unique identifying information like QR codes, or digital fingerprints.
Medical Device Management: Blockchain-based systems can help detect and prevent failures and ensure that patients receive the highest quality care. This type of system can create a transparent platform for tracking and maintaining medical devices throughout their lifecycle, from manufacturing to disposal. Smart contracts can automate maintenance tracking and repair of medical devices. As a result, counterfeit or malicious products are easily detectable.
Digital Identity: Blockchain-based systems allow healthcare providers to create digital identities for their patients and an immutable record of medical information that can be shared with third parties such as insurance companies and researchers. Additionally, distributed ledger can also create a digital identity for medicines, this can help to track the authenticity and history of the drugs, from manufacturer to patient.
Insurance Claims and Verification: Distributed ledger systems can streamline the process of submitting and verifying insurance claims by creating an immutable platform for tracking and verifying claims. Smart contracts can trigger specific actions based on predefined conditions, reducing errors and saving time for both patients and insurance companies.
Telehealth & Medical Apps: Blockchain-based platforms for other digital health applications to develop on; users will be able to sign for these applications and services which are powered by their health data and secured by smart contracts. As a solution, a doctor-to-patient application can be developed. This application will enable users to consult a real doctor remotely (for example, on their phone) for a small fee payable directly to the doctor.
How Blockchain is Transforming Healthcare & Medical Record Keeping
Blockchain technology is orchestrating a profound transformation in the healthcare sector. From secure data keeping to ensuring patient health is securely provided, this revolutionary shift is characterized by several key aspects:
1. Enhanced Data Security
Blockchain’s decentralized structure prevents centralized data breaches by storing health data in multiple locations and creating an immutable ledger for enhanced data integrity.
2. Interoperability and Seamless Data Sharing:
Blockchain offers a unified network for interoperability and seamless data sharing, facilitating real-time collaboration and improved patient care across various healthcare providers and systems.
3. Patient-Centric Privacy Control:
Blockchain provides patient-centric privacy control through cryptographic ownership and selective data sharing, allowing patients to grant or revoke access to their health records.
4. Streamlined Processes:
Blockchain technology streamlines insurance claims processing and supply chain management, reducing errors and time for patients and companies, while addressing traditional vulnerabilities.
Real World Examples of Blockchain Applications in Healthcare
Here are real-world examples of applications using blockchain in Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and Electronic Health Records (EHR) for medical record keeping in healthcare:
Medicalchain utilizes blockchain to securely store and manage Electronic Health Records. Patients have control over who accesses their data, and the decentralized nature ensures data integrity. It enhances patient-centric care and promotes interoperability among healthcare providers.
Guardtime employs blockchain to secure Electronic Health Records and ensure the integrity of health data. Its Keyless Signature Infrastructure (KSI) technology helps in preventing data tampering and unauthorized access, providing a transparent and secure way to manage medical records.
3. IBM Blockchain Health Utility Network:
IBM’s Health Utility Network leverages blockchain for efficient and secure health data exchange. It enables healthcare organizations to share and access patient information across different platforms securely. The decentralized and transparent nature of blockchain enhances data trustworthiness.
Widespread Adoption & Future of Blockchain in Healthcare:
In the future, Blockchain technology is expected to transform healthcare by improving data security, interoperability, and patient-centric care through robust consensus mechanisms, improved scalability, and smart contract functionalities. Future healthcare processes could be optimized by integrating blockchain with AI and IoT technologies, leading to automated, data-driven decision-making. Moreover, it is clear that Blockchain has potential to establish a secure global health data exchange network that could enable privacy-preserving, seamless sharing of health information, promoting international collaboration in healthcare research and treatment. Thus, blockchain integration in medical records could empower patients with greater control over their health data, enhancing privacy and trust through decentralized identities and advanced consent mechanisms.
The key takeaway of this blog is that currently, the healthcare data landscape is fragmented and inefficient, with stakeholders maintaining their own records. However, Blockchain technology aims to address these issues by providing a secure, decentralized system for storing and sharing patient data, transforming the healthcare industry. The potential of this technology to revolutionize healthcare is evident in its ability to enhance integrity, accessibility, and innovation in the rapidly evolving healthcare landscape. With EHR and EMR Apps, blockchain also makes transparent data analytics possible for population health management and personalized medicine, improving healthcare services. IT companies help healthcare institutions create blockchain-based health applications that improve medical record-keeping systems in a safe and secure manner. Whether your organization needs blockchain development services for your system or you need an online medical app for doctor consultations, you can outsource development partners with experience in a variety of industries to develop it.