Blockchain technology is one of the latest advancements in the technological sectors. Be it supply chain management services, banking and finance, education, NFT marketplace or the Internet of Things (IoT), it has touched almost all industries and sectors so, the healthcare industry is no exception. With so many issues and inefficiencies in the existing traditional healthcare system, such as privacy issues, accurate diagnosis and cost-effectiveness, blockchain technology promises to radically fuel the healthcare sector worldwide. So, take a look at this post to know how blockchain technology is revolutionizing the healthcare industry.
At the first glance, it is surely going to be complicated for you to understand if you have no prior knowledge of blockchain. Actually, blockchain made its way into this world via Bitcoin, one of the most sought-after words in the digital ecosystem that most of us are aware of. However, the enormous power of blockchain has been harvested into mining cryptocurrencies only. But recently, its potential has begun to be utilised by industries as well.
So, blockchain is basically a digital ledger technology where every transaction and interaction is recorded as a block and is shared in a network connected via peer-to-peer nodes. These blocks have some amount of storage capacities. When they are filled, they get closed and linked with the block filled previously, thus, producing a chain of data which is known as the blockchain.
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Since 2015, there have been data breaches of over 170 million patients in the USA alone. Cybercriminals not just stole details related to bank information and credit cards but also got a hand on health records. So, privacy and protection of patients’ data have always been a matter of concern in the healthcare industry.
Blockchain technology is a blessing in disguise for the healthcare sector as it is decentralized, incorruptible and absolutely transparent in nature. However, this transparent nature is not a matter of concern for the patients as it does not expose the identity of any individual using complex coding capable enough to secure sensitive medical data. The records and transactions can be viewed by the assigned stakeholder but can be modified only after all the cryptographic criteria are met. Once these edits are made, they will go through the approval process. When the other stakeholders approve these changes, then it will change into a block.
From the very beginning, supply chain management has always been one of the most complex and challenging tasks in the healthcare industry. Everything from drug manufacturing to distributing it to the wholesalers and retail outlets, there are several issues involved in the entire process including authenticity and sub-standardization of drugs. Not just that, strict regulations and quality control are other problematic areas burdening the logistic system.
Blockchain technology is revolutionizing the healthcare industry by solving some of these problems in the supply chain management process. As it is impossible to tamper with the transactions in the blockchain, it helps manufacturers to track the ingredients used and ensure that they are as per the prescribed medical standard. Blockchain technology in the healthcare industry also helps organizations to fight against the problem of counterfeit drugs.
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There are many places where blockchain technology is revolutionizing the healthcare industry and one of them is in the field of patient medical verification. It is a brutal but true fact that the existing Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems are inefficient and have become obsolete to meet today’s data storing requirements. When a physician or a doctor refers a patient to another medical practitioner in another hospital, they again create a new medical card for the same patient, which is a repetitive process and ultimately results in the loss of valuable time.
Thanks that the blockchain has a decentralized structure making it easier to share information safely and seamlessly between doctors, pharmacists, patients along with healthcare providers. With all the data of a patient under one umbrella, stakeholders can update and make changes in the information in real time. Blockchain helps in improving security, maintaining integrity, interoperability, data exchange and updating changes in real-time.
Do you know how much loss the US healthcare industry suffered in 2019 owing to healthcare-related abuse, frauds, illegal self-referrals and false claims? This amount is estimated to be over a whopping $2.6 billion. The fact is, patient billing is one such area in the healthcare industry which lacks efficiency as most healthcare sectors charge approximately 5 to 10% extra in the name of overbilling, by adding services that were not taken by the patient and by providing medical services that are unnecessary for them.
Most insurance companies review the bill before making the final reimbursement and in case of any finding of unnecessary billing, they reduce the claim amount. Blockchain technology is revolutionizing the healthcare industry in preventing healthcare fraud to a great extent by automating the process of billing and hence standardizing claim reimbursements via smart contracts that are written in a coded format.
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