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Blockchain In Healthcare: How It Could Make Digital Healthcare Safer And More Innovative

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By Author: Aliasgar Abbasbhai
Total Articles: 6
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The global healthcare services market was valued at $7975.87 billion in 2023, clocking in a CAGR of 6.3% as compared to the 2022 valuation. The increased survival rates, smart healthcare tools and solutions, and better quality of life have contributed significantly to the growth of this industry.

But traditional healthcare models are giving way to digital healthcare solutions due to advancements in medical practices and technological evolutions. In fact, the global healthcare IT market was worth around $394.6 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 19.8% between 2022 to 2027 to reach a valuation of $974.5 billion.

Although the healthcare industry is undergoing a rapid digital transformation, it’s not without its challenges. The most pressing of them being data security and interoperability issues. So what can healthcare organizations do to prevent data breaches and make data sharing and usage easier? Leverage blockchain.
Is Blockchain a Viable Option for Data Security in the Healthcare Industry?
As per the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) Journal, there were ...
... 5150 data breaches between 2005 to 2022, resulting in the exposure of 382,262,109 healthcare records. Besides revealing health and genomic testing data, these exposures give perpetrators a chance to steal bank and credit card information of patients.

A data breach not only violates doctor-patient confidentiality but can also lead to the impermissible disclosure of innovative medical trials or solutions.

Consequently, data security is one of the most serious concerns, if not the most serious concern, of the healthcare industry worldwide. So what can healthcare organizations do to tackle this problem head on? They can trust blockchain.

Blockchain is a decentralized, shared, digital ledger (or database) made up of records (known as blocks) that are shielded and linked together through cryptographic hashes. This technology is gaining traction due to its transparent and incorruptible nature.

If applied by healthcare organizations, blockchain can help maintain immutable, transparent, and decentralized databases of all patients. But how does blockchain achieve this? Let’s find out!
How Can Blockchain Positively Impact Digital Healthcare?
Blockchain has multiple positive impacts on digital healthcare. The key benefits of the best blockchain platforms in digital healthcare are:
1. Secures patient data
Healthcare centers are a treasure trove of patient data, including personal data. This personal data can give hackers access to patients’ name, address, credit card information, health details, etc. In the wrong hands, this data has the potential to wreak havoc and can have far-reaching consequences besides financial aftermath.

Additionally, tampering patient records can make it problematic for doctors and medical practitioners to identify the correct disease and administer medicine accordingly. The best blockchain platform helps solve both problems since it’s an immutable record and makes it almost impossible to tamper, corrupt, or forger patient records and do irreversible damage.

Blockchain helps record patient data on a decentralized system that is immutable.
2. Makes the Supply Chain Management (SCM) more transparent
Timely transportation of drugs and medicines is paramount to the healthcare industry. Drugs and medicines are usually prepared only in specific labs. So a late delivery of drugs can not only cause immeasurable pain and inconvenience to patients but also have severe medical consequences, which might also result in the paralysis or death of a patient.

Moreover, the supply and safe movement of raw materials needed to carry out research and develop new drugs is very important. It’s also possible that some drugs might get spoiled if they don't reach their intended destination within the targeted time period.

But the healthcare supply chain is inundated with heavy paperwork and if someone tampers with them, it has the potential to cause a huge financial loss as well as lead to the loss of lives. The best blockchain platform helps solve this problem as digital entries once made on the blockchain are not only tamper-proof but also transparent and visible to all.

This means that all entries, including the point of origin to the destination point, recorded in the distributed ledgers get recorded in real time and also helps remove any confusion or communication errors. Blockchain will make it easier to monitor supply chain cycles, individual transactions, and understand any delays so that remedial steps can be taken while there’s still time.
3. Organized patient records
Imagine that you’ve visited a doctor’s clinic and have to share all your medical and personal information. After your diagnosis, the doctor recommends some medicines and sends you on your way. Or they might ask you to get some blood samples done. Once the reports come in, they will analyze it and share medications based on their findings.

Now, imagine going to see the same doctor again after a few months. You’ll have to go through the entire song and dance again, which would waste your time and cost you money that could’ve been better spent on other services or products.

The best blockchain platform can aid healthcare institutions in compiling longitudinal patient records for patients. Blockchain has the potential to transform the digital healthcare industry by compiling patient episodes, tests conducted, lab results, treatments administered, treatment fees, and diseases they were treated for. Inpatient, wearable devices, and ambulatory data can also be recorded.

These precompiled records will help treat patients effectively, bring down the time taken to identify and treat time-sensitive diseases, and reduce the chances of a costly error. If these records are subjected to Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies, it could also assist in forecasting diseases based on a patient’s history.
4. Makes weeding out fake medicines easier
The fake medicine industry is booming and given how closely they resemble original medicines, it’s not possible for the naked eye or untrained individuals to determine which medicine is fake.

Besides being a costly endeavor, fake medicines might also negatively impact your health. The usage of cheap substitutes, artificial colors, and unauthenticated raw materials can negatively react with your body’s immune system. It might also react negatively with your other medications.

The best blockchain platform increases transparency since the medicine’s origins and materials used can be easily traced. Since every block of data will be linked to another block via hash value, it will be straightforward for the medicine buyers to distinguish between fake and original medicines.

The stored data on blockchain would be visible to all authorized parties. The best blockchain platform can also make all medicine-related information accessible through QR code scanning. Since a layman might not be overly familiar with blockchain and hash values, this will help make dependable medicine records accessible to them too.
5. Improved and better interoperability
Electronic health records are not just susceptible to data breach, forgery, and duplication. They are also very challenging to share and maintain patient confidentiality.

Moreover the file is usually isolated to the software used for its creation and storage. This might also lead to non-uniformity of the data shared.

The best blockchain platform solves this headache by making it easier and more secure to share data across platforms with a multitude of users, making it visible only to authorized users. Blockchain also makes data reconciliation easy since the changes made to any block of data can be traced and noted.

Any changes made by authorized users can be tracked before they are approved. This also makes it possible to view a unified medical history and track all the changes that were made to fasttrack the reconciliation process, without needing an expert, further bringing down the associated costs.
6. Sharing medical records with multiple stakeholders
It’s often difficult for medical practitioners and researchers to share confidential data and collaborate with each other on projects if they are based on opposite sides of the continent.

Data leaks, forgery, and duplication are only some of the worries plaguing the digital healthcare industry. Inaccurate or tampered information are also some of the challenges medical practitioners and researchers have to contend with.

Blockchain solves this problem by giving medical practitioners and researchers freedom to share and collaborate all confidential and sensitive data without having to worry about any mishaps. But if somebody indeed tampers with the data, the changes made are recorded every step of the way, making it very simple to discard incorrect or tampered data.

Blockchain also makes it impossible to forge data since an encrypted file can only be accessed by the public decryption key shared by the owner of the file with the authorized user, taking off a huge burden of researcher’s shoulders.
Blockchain is the Future of Digital Healthcare
Blockchain has multiple use cases in the digital healthcare space besides the ones discussed. For instance, it can be used for something as simple as a doctor diagnosing and sharing medicines and the future course of action with their patients.

But to make the most of blockchain solutions, it’s necessary to partner with platforms that are secure and trustworthy. Enter ProofEasy. ProofEasy uses patented blockchain and QR-code technology to help all medical organizations secure, store, verify, and share their documents instantly.

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