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BLOCKCHAIN IN HEALTHCARE

The rapid adoption of digitalization in healthcare has resulted in the creation of huge electronic patient records. Such expansion necessitates unprecedented safeguards for healthcare data while in use and trade.

The advent of blockchain technology as a responsible and transparent platform for data storage and distribution is opening up new avenues for addressing major data privacy, security,

and integrity challenges in healthcare. Every country and region's healthcare systems are dealing with the problem of data silos, which means that patients and their healthcare professionals have an incomplete perspective of their medical history. In 2016, Johns Hopkins University presented research indicating that medical errors originating from poorly coordinated treatment, such as planned actions not executed as intended or errors of omission in patient records, were the third largest cause of death in the United States.

What is Blockchain Technology in Healthcare?

The blockchain comprises a computer network that hosts copies of a shared ledger of transactions representing the state of the network. Blockchain-based systems have gained popularity due to their versatility in medicine, commerce, marketing, etc. Blockchain-based systems are popular these days due to their wide use in the growing healthcare industry.

Blockchain in healthcare has numerous use cases, from data protection and patient care to treatment tracking and reminders. While medical practitioners deal with medical issues, according to confidential healthcare regulations, the major challenge is keeping the records such as patient information, medical records, and transactions so they would be readily available to the patients. Applying blockchain technology through blockchain development services in healthcare has helped to resolve this issue to a large extent. Blockchain networks have made it possible with a single click. Applying blockchain technology to the healthcare field has brought an evolution to storing data. In subsequent parts of this article, we shall explore the various use cases of blockchain technology in healthcare and explain how the processes work.

Blockchain Use Cases in Healthcare

There are numerous Blockchain use cases in the healthcare industry, some of them are listed below:

Smart Contracts

One prominent Blockchain use case in health-care is the use of Smart contracts. They are used in healthcare to break down data silos, drive interoperability, and integrate messaging. Blockchain technology increases data interoperability by leveraging smart contracts with healthcare messaging and code specifications. Communication in healthcare involves many parties and often gets complicated along the way. These frictions in multiparty workflow prevent effective communication and delay results, putting patients' lives on the line. Blockchain experts are using smart contract solutions such as DAML to write workflows and business logic of healthcare systems, taking trust away from parties in the communication process and putting it on the blockchain. Putting data on the blockchain does not require removing the existing systems. Smart contracts integrate with existing systems by taking messaging specifications and making these enforceable instructions that guide parties' activities and lead to predictable outcomes.

Deep Medicines

Proponents of deep medicine in the scientific community have always emphasized the need to know what is wrong instead of judging situations by a combination of symptoms. Top cardiologists in the United States have had experiences where treatment from other physicians based on diagnosis by heart was not 100% accurate. That does not translate to inefficiency on the part of the medical practitioner in any way. Still, there may be a broader picture that is impossible for the physician to see at the time it was most crucial. Interoperability of healthcare data can help physicians decide with more data points and effectively decide on a lasting solution to specific patient healthcare issues. With blockchain technology, patients can be easily identified, and their data can be used to effectively diagnose and resolve medical issues before they compound into health complications. Artificial intelligence and blockchain technology can help already bombarded physicians connect better with patients and deliver excellent and continuous care. Integrating information across multiple silos will help physicians precisely administer care tailored to a patient's internal body process and healthcare history.

Identity Management

Demographics, vital statistics, consent in clinical trials, credential licensing, and supplier place of origin are all relevant in healthcare systems. This demographic and statistical information that stays mostly the same can be connected to a blockchain instead of living on different systems. Blockchain technology can store this data in one place and reference it everywhere. Having to provide the same information repeatedly is a problem for patients with healthcare systems. With blockchain technology, identity information can be stored and updated whenever a patient moves to a different part of the hospital or to an entirely new one. This record, immutably stored on the blockchain, can also ease access and interaction at other stages of treatment as soon as the patient grants consent to this data. Clinical trial data can also be made available on the blockchain, making it easy to review history, consent, results, etc. Licensing information is also critical information that can live on the blockchain permanently, such as data on the license owner, its coverage, its expiration date, the rights and privileges associated with the license, and so on. Medical supplies and provenance can also be tracked on the blockchain.

Record Management

Another Blockchain use case in health-care is applying blockchain technology to keeping a record of health data. It has made the handling of data significantly easier. The work that was once done using papers and notebooks is now being done online and is safer and more readily available than ever. Health data required in blockchain technology involves the personal information of the patient and the healthcare professional, the dates, and the transaction details that were made during the treatment. Moreover, it keeps a record of the patient’s health, treatment details, and the drugs that were being given.

In addition, the record of the medicines that the professionals are using during the patient's treatment is also kept in the system, and the origin of the drug can be traced by the stored data that is available on the blockchain. What makes this blockchain technology different from the other ledger available is its ability to store a wide variety of data and its ability of decentralization, which means that it is a peer-to-peer network making the involvement of the third party unnecessary. The data kept in the blockchain includes the medical data, the details of the drugs, all the reports of the patients, and all the data of the professionals handling the case.

Patient Data Management

We discussed patient identity and other statistics earlier in this article. We will move further with patient data management in this part. Blockchain technology is famous in the healthcare industry for its data security and end-to-end encryption of the healthcare data stored in it that most organizations seek. It gives its user the benefit of securing their data, keeping it away from people, and making it available for sudden use at any time. The medical information stored in the blockchain network is hidden from other connected devices. It is only shared with other selective members with the permission of the user to have an individual digital identity. The data that the user stores in the blockchain is kept in digital data and full access is given to the user who uploaded it by issuing an immutable audit trail.

Many healthcare providers upload their data on the blockchain, which helps them maintain the data safely and make it available for the user to share and use at other places. Many healthcare researchers are using the information for a study basis. The data can be sold or shared with them so that they can carry out their research.

Supply Chain Management

The data on the blockchain supply chains are kept safe and depend upon the patient’s private key. The patient can use it to share their data with others. Using blockchain and sharing medical data with the individual's permission has led to a change in the field of research in health care. Some blockchain technologies allow user to share their medical data with different researchers on the same network, who will be pleased if you share your data with them. The researchers will use the data you’ll share for their research purposes. The lives of individuals can be improved using blockchain technology in the supply chain in the following ways:

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Lesser Errors in the Data Entry

Data in the blockchain is entered only once and perfectly. Meanwhile, according to the existing data entry systems, the data is entered repeatedly from paper to computer to different computers when any issue occurs. While on the other side, once the data has been entered into the ledger, it does not need to be renewed or re-entered. Blockchain development services have found the solution to the problem by introducing the long-term memory of blockchain technology. This one-time entry in the blockchain system reduces the possibility of mistakes in the data being entered.

Permissioned Data Sharing

Blockchains nowadays give the opportunity of data sharing to their users. The user or the patients can share their medical reports and health records on the ledger in a secured network for treatment and diagnostic purposes. Permissioned data sharing increases privacy and protects the patient's rights. Researchers and physicians can work confidently with the information they have to help individual patients and offer solutions to broader healthcare problems.

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Decentralized Science and Crowdfunding

Scientists and researchers can also utilize the ease of data sharing provided by blockchain technology to its users to collaborate and raise crowdfunds. Different financial institutions on the network will help scientists and researchers raise funds and utilize those funds for carrying out their research that may lead to an evolution in human health care. It becomes more convincing for healthcare investors to put their money into a cause if the research is based on data verifiable on the blockchain.

Healthcare Administrative Cost Savings

Blockchain technology can save repetitive administrative tasks that work to impede healthcare delivery. Research data shows more than $200 billion in administrative waste in the healthcare industry. Even though the global healthcare industry boasts about $10 trillion, many stakeholders in the industry still need to meet their needs. For example, the proportion of the expenditure on physicians has not grown with the increase in healthcare costs and funding over the years. Physician suicide is fast becoming an issue today, and there is a radically diminished provider experience today because of administrative inefficiency. Cybersecurity problems with healthcare data are becoming a huge concern as patient data is being compromised at a level never seen before. Protected health information is a defined term in United States law, and working to build a healthcare system that protects patient data is crucial to establishing a stable healthcare system. Poor data integration is another problem that can be prevented if healthcare systems work with a blockchain development firm to integrate data properly. The global healthcare industry already loses about $300 billion annually to poor data integration.

Security

Due to the necessity of overcoming the security concerns of the EHR in Healthcare, blockchain technology has seen a significant increase in the health sector. EHRs can enhance healthcare delivery. It is generated whenever a patient is admitted to the hospital, when a physician diagnoses the patient, or whenever a diagnostic result, such as an MRI scan, is saved in the EHR system.

As a result, the security of such digital information is of the utmost importance, and blockchain is presently being used for safe and secure healthcare data. Blockchain technology plays an important role in maintaining the value of data while lowering storage costs for data management in healthcare. Blockchain technology is the only solution for securing digital information due to its unique capabilities. It will continue to play an important role in the future of enterprise data management.

Conclusion

The use of blockchain in various fields has revolutionized human lives in every field, like business, commerce, marketing, etc. When we talk about blockchain, we only think of cryptocurrency and the trade and commerce of goods using blockchain technology. Still, blockchain technology is much more than commerce and buying and selling goods. It may have an important role in trade and global exchange, but it has also found its application in health care.

The blockchain in healthcare industry is used to keep the different records of the patients with private keys and professionals. The patient's records include the professional dealing with him, his medical reports, health outcomes, the drugs being used, and track of his health. Every hospital should partner with a blockchain development company to implement blockchain development services in order to securely store and share patient medical records. Blockchain technology experts can assist medical researchers in creating a secure and transparent system for tracking and sharing clinical trial data. Blockchain technology has enabled users to connect to their medical history at any time in a way that is safer and does not have any visible issues.

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