It is a very exciting time for the IT and Healthcare. Due to improvements in healthcare research and precision medicine, healthcare is witnessing the innovative approach to disease prevention and treatment. The IT growth created the possibility to collect and store the vast majority of medical information that could be then accessed and tracked for each patient individually.Combining the two enhancements can open new perspectives for improving an individual patient’s experience as well as improving other very important prospects of health care for the whole population.
Blockchain technology has been on the mind of many people in different industries since it came out. The advantages that Blockchain provides gives endless possibilities of it being applied basically to any of the branches and industry from business to government and healthcare. What are those advantages you would ask, well you can see them for yourself once you get a good grasp on what the Blockchain technology is by itself? The Blockchain is a distributed and immutable record of information shared on peer-to-peer basis between network computers, which are called nodes. The technology is extra secure and gives the Blockchain it’s the main strength-integrity. The HealthCare need for improvements cannot be neglected so the changes in infrastructure and administration at some point might be inevitable. Let’s take a look at some of the main aspects of healthcare where Blockchain technology might change the way things were run before.
Drug Traceability where each transaction between drug manufacturers, wholesalers, pharmacists and patients can be tracked to verify and secure drug product information important for tackling issues such as counterfeit drugs. In many of the developing countries, the drugs can be sold under the table, whereas in highly developed countries the fraud is hard to beat because of the counterfeit. You can agree that constructing the chain of drug supply which is based on the blockchain technology shall allow the doctors and pharmacists track where the drugs are manufactured, who they were prescribed and for whom.
Improving Billing Management
The excessive billing and the overestimation of the patient’s treatment lead annually to 200 billion dollars loss in developed countries for both the hospitals and the insurance companies. In other countries where money matters are handled via a cash payment, this leads to high level of corruption and bribing, which means that money flow isn’t recorded and the loss can’t even be counted. Having the blockchain technology could make the transactions open and transparent and leave no place for corruption or the data adjustment.
The practice shows that nearly 50 % of trial studies go unreported and the investigators don’t provide the results of the studies. Using blockchain can eliminate the problem of selective reporting and data switching, therefore reducing fraud and error in clinical trials. The blockchain could also open the possibilities of close collaboration between the researchers and the participants of the trials, giving them the access to the trial conduct matters. This could improve the quality of patient care in the long run and contribute to precision medicine greatly.
Genomics research via access to genetic data secured on blockchain
Having the access to the genomic database can help cure most if not all of the genetic diseases and hormone imbalances as well as contribute to the cancer research and help create the drugs to beat the HIV and AIDS. Who knows maybe we can create drugs to even prolong our life?
Electronic health records (EHRs) and Nationwide Interoperability
The data could be stored in the data repository called Data Lake. Data Lake will contain all sorts of information including the images and documents. Health researchers would also use this information for different analysis to determine the optimal treatment and elements that can influence the preventative medicine. Data lakes support interactive queries, text mining, text analytics and machine learning.
All the medical data is highly sensitive and has to be securely protected and stored. Although having Blockchain-based Electronic records will allow the patients to have the access control to their private information and have the control of when and who requests their information. The health care provider every time when adding the information to the personalized patient’s record will seal it with the digital signature and add it to file. In the same manner, the patient could add his own sealed information to the health record, even using their phone and wearable sensors. With the digital encryption and signature.
Health Blockchain can unite the Health IT ecosystem using the open API to integrate and exchange data. Open API’s are known to be the easiest to work with and can easily integrate with health blockchain instead of creating the point-to -point data integration between different systems. Blockchain will allow the patients, researchers, and health care providers access the data in timely and efficient manner. The data can include all kind of information including the data from mobile applications, wearable sensors, documents, and images.
Blockchain technology applications in healthcare show promise for solving many issues in HealthCare improving the individual patient treatment as well as contributing to the worldwide population research. It can help to ensure that the money and drugs are spent and used under determined circumstances The Blockchain system may be the key factor in uniting all doctors, pharmacist, researchers from all over the world to beat some of the most dangerous infectious diseases and cancer.