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Blockchain Technology In Healthcare; Creating A Vital And Efficient System

By Author: Sanchit Jain
Total Articles: 20

Today, the technology has excelled in almost every field. Right from wildlife to healthcare, the technology is spreading its wings everywhere.The most precious possession you have is your health and you need to take care of it constantly. One of the biggest benefits of blockchain technology is its use in healthcare. With the growing concerns in the medical field, we need technologies that can benefit us and make the system efficient.

“The blockchain cannot be described just as a revolution. It is a tsunami like phenomenon, slowly advancing and gradually enveloping everything along its way by the force of its progression.” - William Mougyar

Let us discuss how this technology can help healthcare.

Blockchain technology records data in a way that makes it safe from tampering. Security is the most beneficial use of the technology, as the data cannot be compromised. According to a survey by Silicon Republic, the blockchain startups raised $1.4 billion in 2016 and $1 million in 2017. The financial sector has already started implementing the technology.
Now, in the medical field, the health care services make sure that the patient’s health management is given top priority. The survey conducted by Hyperledger showed that 42.9% of healthcare organizations suppose that the interoperability of electronic health records will lead to faster blockchain implementation; with around 28.6% of the respondents ready to use this technology.

Data Provenance and Integrity
As there is a constant increase in the number of patients, the data needs to be managed on a regular basis. As the number of patients increases, it becomes tedious for the staff to record all their data. The data includes patient’s health records, electronic records, data collected from IoT devices and medical insurance claims. To ensure proper medical services, it is important to keep track of all the patient's information and history. This is where blockchain technology implementation helps as the data in the blockchain network is stored without any compromise. When the information is stored using blockchain technology, it becomes impossible to remove or alter.

Billing and claims
Billing and claims management is the process of filing and processing of medical claims related to patient diagnosis, treatments and medications. Many organizations have fallen victim to data breaches where patient files are tampered leading to insurance fraud and thefts. Using blockchain technology, this issue can be resolved because the technology prevents breaching and tampering.
One of the problems the medical field faces is drug traceability. The Health Research Funding Organization found that 10-30% of the drugs in developing countries are fake. Because of drug counterfeiting, U.S loses upto $200 million in a year; however counterfeiting is not the reason itself, but rather that these drugs provide different effects than their traditional counterparts. The drugs may not help the patients at all, or may even be dangerous for the patients health.
Now, talking about blockchain-based solutions, all the transactions on blockchain technology are secure and it is easy to detect fraudulent drug dealers. Reliable blockchain companies register their products in a private blockchain to authenticate the quality of the medicines. A drug is produced, moved from manufacturer to retailer and all the data is stored on the blockchain network. The whole process and the entire path of the drug can now be easily verified.

Data Security in Clinical trials
Clinical trials are used to determine the effectiveness of medicines. These tests can either be positive or negative for a particular hypothesis. In an ongoing clinical trial, researchers hold a great amount of information about the patients’ records and history. Each scientist is responsible for specific research, making it difficult to control everything. This data can be easily changed or tampered and the whole research can be lost.
But the use of blockchain technology allows the users to prove authenticity of any data in the system. Any data added is validated by every node in the system. A study was conducted to see how blockchain technology provides proof of existence for clinical trials. It was found that comparing a unique data code, which is set by the system, makes it possible to check whether the data has been modified or not. This happens because of an inner SHA256 calculator which generates a unique hash every time the data is modified.

Following are some of the startups that have implemented blockchain technology.
Guardtime (securing patient healthcare records)
Gem Health
Cyph
MedRec (securing health records)
Blockchain Health (medical research management)

Blockchain technology is a reliable and effective technology, that can help prevent data breaches in the healthcare industry. The new advances in the field can help make the system better and efficient. The technology guarantees privacy and security which the traditional system lacks. Let us hope for a brighter future through the use of the technology.

Feelium is a blockchain technology platform provides tools and services for digital contracting. Feelium’s smart contracts and escrow services are self-regulating services protected by blockchain technology. Learn more about Feelium’s services on www.feelium.co.

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