While blockchain technology is still in its early stages, it has the potential to provide solutions for many issues within the health sector. It can be used to store patient records, safely store and distribute research data, track prescriptions and insurance claims, and even determine whether or not a person on social media is who they say they are.
No one knows how this will play out over the next few years. However, blockchain technology will play a vital role in the future of healthcare. So, let us see how blockchain is reshaping our health sector.
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Reducing the Number of Medical Errors
Blockchain technology has the potential to reduce medical errors in a variety of ways. Consider the following scenario.
You’re a patient who recently underwent surgery and is suffering from abnormal bleeding. Other complications may cause the problem. Or, you may have been given the wrong blood type during the transfusion. To identify the cause, your healthcare provider must spend a fair amount of time sifting through your records and comparing them against those of other patients for any commonalities or patterns.
Using blockchain, your provider can more easily access the information they need and find patterns much faster. The technology also offers a secure system for data management, reducing any risk of confidential information being accessed by unauthorized parties.
Better Access to Personal Health Records
One of the most exciting applications of blockchain technology is the creation of a secure and easily accessible health record system.
It can store vital medical information on a secure platform that gives you control over who has access to your health records. That will make it easier for patients to stay informed about their health, especially when they move from one healthcare facility to another. It also makes it possible for them to share relevant parts of their medical history with different medical practitioners to ensure better care.
Secure and Accurate Data Exchange
As a blockchain-based solution, it comes with all the advantages of encryption and decentralization. The user’s data is accessible only to the owner of the key, who can share it with others or not as they choose. That helps solve the problem of security. In theory, no one can add or delete information without being detected by the rest of the network.
The accuracy of data also increases because information goes directly to a patient’s record without being handled by an intermediary institution. Once a transaction is made (whether this is a doctor’s inputting patient data or patients sharing their records), it cannot be erased from the chain, making sure that all relevant parties are aware of any changes that might have been made to a record.
Since blockchain technology uses consensus protocols for verification purposes, users do not need to rely on central authorities such as banks and governments for validation. Instead, they can verify transactions themselves.
Faster payments are a reality with blockchain. You may be asking yourself, “What do payments have to do with healthcare?”
Well, you’re probably familiar with the current problems of the traditional system. When your insurance company takes a long time deciding whether or not to cover a certain treatment, that can lead to more people going bankrupt due to medical bills. That’s less than ideal.
How is this resolved by blockchain? By incorporating smart contracts, which are self-executing contracts based on code and conditions agreed upon by both parties involved in the contract/transaction/deal—in this case, patients and providers.
For example, you can now pay your medical bills using Polkadot (DOT). What is DOT, you ask? It is a crypto coin. It facilitates quicker payments. Initially, people were throwing questions at the coin, saying, “Why should I buy DOT?” Now, given its advantages in the medical sector and other industries, people know why they should buy DOT. Click here to know how to buy DOT or how to buy Polkadot.
There is a need for improvement in the drug traceability system. Drug counterfeiting is a major issue faced by the pharmaceutical industry. In a report released by WHO, it is estimated that more than $200 billion are lost each year to counterfeit drugs alone.
This translates to 10% of the world’s total medical products being counterfeit. Blockchain technology can help with this problem by providing a transparent and immutable ledger for tracking medication throughout supply chains to protect patients from fake or subpar medication.
Blockchain can potentially help with drug traceability through its decentralized, public nature. In the blockchain, there is no central authority in charge of managing and validating transactions on the network. Every user has access to all transaction records made available on the shared ledger and needs to agree with other users for new transactions (like recording when a batch of medicine reaches its destination) to be recorded on it.
The data written onto this shared ledger cannot be edited or deleted without breaking consensus among other users first, making it tamper-proof and reliable, and transparent (as anyone can view these records). That makes blockchain technology an ideal fit for recording drug movements across different points in supply chains so that anyone involved (drug manufacturers, hospitals, doctors) knows where exactly every drug batch came from and where they’ve been distributed up until now.
Based on this discussion, it is evident that blockchain is rapidly reshaping the medical sector.