Use Cases of Blockchain Technology in Healthcare
Blockchain technology, though initially created for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, has now expanded its applications across multiple industries.
In the healthcare sector, for example, blockchain services provide a decentralized and safe system to change the way medical staff and patients manage, share, and use data.
In this article, we’ll explore the top 10 use cases of blockchain technology in healthcare and the advantages it brings to the industry.
How Blockchain Works in the Healthcare System
In the healthcare system, blockchain serves as a distributed ledger. It allows multiple parties, such as healthcare providers, researchers, and patients, to have a synchronized record of transactions and information.
Unlike regular centralized databases, where a single authority controls the data, blockchain creates a decentralized network.
Each individual in this network has access to a copy of the ledger, which keeps a full history of all information stored on the blockchain.
This decentralized nature ensures that no one has ultimate control over the data, minimizing risks of manipulation, fraud, or unauthorized access.
When a transaction or information is added to the blockchain, it goes through a consent process. This process ensures that all network participants agree on the transaction’s validity before it is recorded on the blockchain.
After achieving consent, the transaction or information goes to a new block. Then it is linked to the existing chain of blocks, creating a steadfast and tamper-proof record.
The transparency of blockchain in healthcare is another crucial aspect of its operation.
While the data on the blockchain is encrypted for privacy, the transaction’s metadata, including the timestamp and participants, is visible to all network participants.
This level of transparency develops trust and liability since any participant can check the authenticity of the information stored on the blockchain.
Finally, by using blockchain technology, the healthcare industry can overcome the problems of traditional data management systems.
The distributed nature of blockchain improves data integrity, reduces the risk of data breaches, and promotes secure and efficient data sharing among healthcare participants.
Advantages of Using Blockchain in the Healthcare Sector
Blockchain technology offers several notable advantages when applied in the healthcare sector. The following are just some of them:
- Enhanced Security: Blockchain technology provides powerful security measures, securing sensitive patient data from unauthorized access. With its decentralized architecture and cryptographic techniques, blockchain reduces the risk of data breaches and ensures privacy.
- Improved Interoperability: Healthcare systems often struggle with interoperability issues that impede the smooth exchange of patient information. By using blockchain, healthcare organizations can establish a single framework for data exchange, ensuring compatibility and consistency across all systems.
- Efficient Data Sharing: Blockchain enables secure and efficient sharing of medical data among approved stakeholders. Patients can grant permission for specific providers or professionals to access their records. And this streamlines the process of data sharing and collaboration.
- Enhanced Patient Ownership and Control: With blockchain, patients have greater control over their health data. They can decide who can access their records and have more freedom in their healthcare decisions.
- Traceability and Openness: Blockchain enables end-to-end traceability in the entire healthcare supply chain. It allows participants to monitor the flow of drugs, medical devices, and other healthcare outputs. And this ensures authenticity, reduces counterfeit medications, and improves patient safety.
Top 10 Use Cases of Blockchain in Healthcare
Blockchain technology has the power to transform various aspects of the healthcare industry. Here are the top 10 blockchain healthcare use cases:
Clinical Research and Trials
Clinical trials are vital for moving medical knowledge forward, developing new treatments, and ensuring drug safety and effectiveness.
However, the current clinical trial process is often complex, time-consuming and needs data integrity, patient consent management, and regulatory compliance.
Blockchain technology allows researchers to securely collaborate, verify the authenticity of data, and maintain an auditable record of trial results, ensuring the integrity of clinical research.
Supply Chain Management
The healthcare supply chain involves the complex process of procuring, tracking, and distributing medications, medical devices, and supplies.
However, this process often suffers from counterfeit products, inefficient inventory management, lack of transparency, and difficulty in verifying product authenticity.
Blockchain can overcome these issues and help supply chain management by providing a decentralized and immutable record of every transaction and movement made.
Due to blockchain, stakeholders can track and check the originality and quality of healthcare products, removing the risk of counterfeit or low-quality items.
Regulating Financial Relationships
Financial transactions play a vital role in healthcare. They involve insurance claims, billing, reimbursement, and payments between various parties.
However, the existing processes often suffer from administrative burdens, delays, and lack of transparency.
Blockchain can refine financial transactions and contract management between healthcare providers, insurers, and patients.
Smart contracts, for instance, can automate proce