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A Deep Dive into Blockchain Technology in Healthcare

Anand Prakash By Anand Prakash | July 6, 2020
blockchain in healthcare

In the latter half of the 20th century, we were introduced with a life-changing technology in the form of healthcare. With time, Blockchain is now implemented in the healthcare sector that is eliminating the need for a middleman.

But while Blockchain in healthcare is becoming a key factor in the present world? What has changed in the last two decades that we are now implementing Blockchain in healthcare?

But before jumping to it, let us give you a brief on the technology.

Blockchain is a technology that works on the distributed ledgers or in simple words blocks where data is stored. The encrypted data known as the hash is stored in blocks that are connected with a chain.

This will give you a brief understanding of what blockchain is. Now comes another question, “why blockchain is used”.

To answer this, let us walk you through some major stats of blockchain that can help you to understand it in a better way. 

blockchain technology market

Apart from this, there are some other major fundamentals of the Blockchain in healthcare in the present world that one must be aware of.

  • In 2015, the total spending of the healthcare sector was more than $7 trillion dollars.
  • The first quarter of 2018 noted the highest level of funding in digital healthcare startups till now.
  • The annual health spending globally will reach $8.734 trillion dollars by the end of 2020. 
  • As per the BIS research report, the healthcare sector will save more than $100 billion per year by 2025.
  •  By 2025, the forecasting period will be around $1.89 billion in the healthcare sector with blockchain technology.

These are the major aspects of the Blockchain in healthcare sector. If you have an understanding of Blockchain and how it works then it will be easy for you to grasp the fundamentals in an innovative world.

What is Blockchain in Healthcare?

There is no need to state how the healthcare world is extremely essential, especially in the pandemic that is facing in 2020. However, the healthcare industry takes time in adopting the technologies since it is a matter of life and death for patients.

It is impossible to experiment with technologies when it can be a threat to the patients. Hence, it takes time to evolve as we can see that the functioning in the sector is still similar to the one that was followed in the hospital around a decade ago.

However, there is always room to include innovation in the healthcare sector as we have witnessed in the past few years. In the healthcare sector, there are vertical and horizontal innovations that are adopted.

Vertical innovation is the one in which a single field faces the digital transformation whereas in Horizontal innovation one technology is adopted in all the sectors.

For instance, the Internet of Things, Artificial intelligence, and Blockchain are horizontal innovations that can be adopted by any business or domain. Whereas operating methods, Polio vaccine, etc are specifically for the healthcare sector that falls under vertical innovation.

The motive of both types of innovations is to make the functionalities and features more efficient for multiple fields. However, the hospitals are adopting horizontal innovations but they still depend upon paper and pen that is slowly but surely switched using Big Data trends and Blockchain technology trends.

Blockchain is the most secure form of transactions using a Bitcoin wallet and a time-stamped immutable record that uses cryptographic principles. In the healthcare industry, this is adopted to eliminate the issue of interoperability.

Blockchain in healthcare sector working ideally in the issue of interoperability for policymakers, providers, and patients. It is best to know “How To Develop A Bitcoin Wallet App” in order to implement it in a better way.

Problems Solved by Blockchain in Healthcare

As mentioned earlier, Blockchain in healthcare works efficiently in removing the middleman from an equation. This can easily eliminate the mistakes in the industry with the right introduction of the Blockchain.

To give you a better understanding, here are the major challenges that are solved by Blockchain in healthcare. 

#1 Drugs & Pharma

The pharmaceutical industry can be revolutionized with the advancement of blockchain technology in healthcare. This also helps in drug discovery, distribution process, and development. The fact is that 90% of drugs don’t pass the testing phase or are rejected at the FDA-approval stage. In such a stage, it is essential for businesses to get search results from trusted sources. This is not it, there are a number of things to grapple around in the healthcare sector that can be eliminated with Blockchain. 

  • Pharma Data Disparity – The data disparity is the major concern in the pharmaceutical world. In pharmacy, the data is stored in silos that can be accessed using different models and structures. This is the major point of concern for companies that can be solved easily with Blockchain, big data and AI in healthcare sector.
  • Resource-Heavy & Time-Consuming – The data sources are extremely high when it comes to pharmaceutical companies. They have to handle, gather, and analyze data that can crackdown at a drastic level. This can be easily tackled with the help of Blockchain to manage the plethora of data easily.
  • Ambiguity & Inaccuracy of Data – Another major issue that is faced by the pharmaceuticals companies is the inaccuracy in datasets. The silos of data are accessed in a better way to get insightful and fresh results. This is to improve drug supply chain, blockchain in healthcare research paper, faster medical trial, and clinical trial bookkeeping

#2 Healthcare Providers & Institutes

The health organization, there are a number of concerns such as following government regulations, focusing on compliance, and patient data. This can be inefficient, tedious, and hard that can be difficult to manage health records in the budgeting needs and agenda.

However, with the help of Blockchain in healthcare, it solved the management, compliance, shareability, security, accessibility, and interoperability of patients. This can be done through:

  • Consent Management – Blockchain easily offers a forward mindset to health providers’ practices, and facilities. This Blockchain power in the healthcare sector works on consent management to process the management and acquisition easily. In addition to this, the data can be easily protected with blockchain healthcare, and the privacy of the patient is well-maintained. 
  • Hospital Intake Fill-Up Forms – The intake process of the healthcare provider is not a cakewalk. It requires a lot of filling out and time queuing that is simply a waste of time for patients. However, with healthcare blockchain, it will be easy to stop wasting time while standing in a queue facilitating efficiency and spruce up workflow. 
  • Physicians Credential Verification – The unlicensed and quack physicians can be a great disadvantage of the healthcare industry. This issue can be easily solved with the help of blockchain healthcare that can easily verify the physician through their credentials to prove that the candidate is genuine. 
  • Smart Contracts – Another essential factor that is essential but daunting in the healthcare industry between healthcare providers, patients, vendors, organizations, etc. There can be a different type of smart contracts such as B2B Smart Contracts and Patient-Hospital Contracts.
  • Transfer Data Securely – With the increase in the smart devices in the market, it is becoming extremely difficult to gather the right data and analyze it to extract vital information. However, with wearable technology trends, it is possible to keep a track of blood pressure and sleep patterns of patients. This excessive data must be stored in a safe and secure environment.

#3 Insurance Providers or Payers

Insurance companies are a major part of the healthcare industry that help the patient to stay healthy. The insurance companies work on the premium that patients can take to use it in case of any emergencies. But the question remains is “Why business should go for digital transformations” especially Blockchain.

In such a case, blockchain power is something that companies can leverage. This can help in various ways to maintain the health of the individuals.

  • Interoperability & Payment Processing – As mentioned earlier, interoperability is a major part of digital payment that must be done in a safer and secure process. Blockchain healthcare helps in implementing, creating, and designing to enhance transparency and security in payment. 
  • Micropayments – The microsystems scheme is something that helps in offering discounts for third-parties such as fitness cares, weight management, and so on. This includes wellness, health, vitamin products, etc. These smaller payments are to maintain a healthy lifestyle with steep discounts. 
  • Medication Adherence – Patient safety is a major concern when we talk about adherence. It includes opioid overdose prevention, tracking medicines, the potential of saving money, and whatnot. The good thing about such a setup is that medication adherence is well-maintained in it with secure technology. It can work well in the enterprise blockchain for healthcare without disrupting the overall process. 
  • Revenue Cycle Management – This includes revenue cycle management and processing of claims to help in faster and secure acquiring. The blockchain in healthcare can easily maintain the revenue cycle with the advancement in the sector. This platform includes the distributed ledger technology, smart contracts, and machine learning that can easily maintain the cost payers accuracy. 

#4 Consumers, Payer & Providers

If we talk about blockchain healthcare then the B2B context is one of the major factors. This opens a number of opportunities for the companies. to redefine their relationship with the patients and even the providers. The Blockchain solutions can help the providers to adopt new market trends. 

  • Medical History Management – The medical data system in the present time is no less than a mess. The data records of the patient are stored in silos that include the diagnosis, care, and treatment. This can be easily solved with the proper and effective system that works in a centralized manner to transfer data in a trustworthy and accurate manner. 
  • Sell Medical Data – The research activities can take leverage from the right medical records that are achieved with the help of proper activities. It gives access to the research companies with the intermediaries and solves the health issues.

To understand the healthcare blockchain in a better way, here is the scope of it that can give you a better insight. 

scope of blockchain in healthcare

Strength of Blockchain in Healthcare

The use cases of the strength of blockchain healthcare hold a lot of importance. The entire system of the healthcare industry has its own set of challenges and is overhauled. Blockchain-based systems are used in the healthcare world with patients and professionals to improve payment options, tracking pharmaceuticals, patient health history, and so on.

To give you a better insight, here are the major benefits of blockchain in healthcare. 

  1. Stop Counterfeit Drugs – The healthcare blockchain works well in saving the lives of thousands with stopping the counterfeit drugs. It is broken down in the different sections in which the four sections are counted that include regulatory compliancecustomer confidencesupply chain tracks, and track & trace inventory. 
  2. Cutting Costs – Blockchain healthcare includes saving a lot of money with easy forecasting on the financial end and to coordinate the caring aspect. In the market, this includes cutting the overall cost for the audience.
  3. Tracking medical credentials – The Blockchain in Healthcare allows users to track the credentials making it efficient, accessible, and transparent. This eliminated the threat of fraud in the healthcare sector and streamline the hiring process as well. 
  4. Improvement of medical records – With the help of healthcare blockchain users are able to access the information at any time from anywhere with their credentials. This establishes transparency between the providers and patients with top-notch security. 
  5. Relief efforts – The healthcare blockchain works well with the conjunction of the relief efforts of the users and the potential of the technological trends. It includes the centrally managed system that split the relief among agencies for collaborative efficiency. 
  6. Medical record-keeping – The blockchain in healthcare has major leverage on the record-keeping. The patient medical information is stored in the blocks that can be accessed by the providers to get an understanding of matters concerning patients.
  7. Drug shipments – The Blockchain in Supply Chain is extremely common and this compiled with drugs works well for the healthcare sector. It is used to detect any suspicious, find the origin of supplies, and traffick the drugs to the location. This also maintains all the regulations to detect counterfeits and authenticate raw materials.

Weakness of Blockchain in Healthcare

Blockchain technology in healthcare is not always the bed of roses and it faces its own set of disadvantages as well. To give you a better insight, here are the major game-changers of healthcare blockchain.

  1. Lack of Privacy – Blockchain Healthcare is becoming a matter of concern when it comes to privacy. If the users have to store some private information then it is not considered as the ideal technology to depend upon. In addition to this, critical data must be protected for certain transactions.
  2. Security Vulnerability – The Blockchain technology is secure against some threats but you can’t entirely depend upon it for all the data. It is highly possible to achieve technical bugs and zero-day attacks that depend upon code. This makes it essential to have a hook for the security of information or the blockchain in healthcare.  

Blockchain Applications in Healthcare

We have seen the implications of Blockchain for Business over the years. It is one of the major tech trends that is a growing industry. The implementation of blockchain in healthcare is one of the key factors with the CAGR of going around 61.4%.

In addition to this, the adoption of the blockchain in healthcare has gone for around a huge rate as shown below.

adoption of blockchain

The fact is that Blockchain in healthcare has a lot of potential to grow in the coming future. However, there are a number of examples of blockchain in healthcare that are already ruling the market in the present time.

Blockchain is one of the major solutions that are reliable for the users due to its distribution and production tracking. Every block has its own data that is linked together with each other. 

  1. Supply Chain Management – As mentioned earlier, the blockchain in healthcare supply chain holds a lot of importance. It is a major implication in the pharmaceutical world that depends upon full transparency and decentralization. The supply chain can easily store the data over blocks and make transactions when inventory is delivered.
  2. Treatment Regimen – In this blockchain in healthcare application, research is a major factor on which the companies depend upon. The companies implement blockchain in healthcare research paper using the patient data to understand its implications. This helps in understanding the results for the treatment methodologies and their advancement. 
  3. Medical Record Integrity – Another major use of Blockchain is in the medical records that are permanently stored in blocks. This data can’t be removed or updated, only the users can add to it. It is a great aspect for legal and medical purposes. 
  4. Single Patient Identification – There are instances when the patient records are duplicated or mismatched, it is a common fact. This is where blockchain in healthcare falls in since the ledgers are used to hash data. It has fixed keys and addresses for users that makes it easy for identification. 
  5. Change in the Business Model – The business model has a different potential for the work of blockchain in healthcare since it has its own set of operations to use. Many developers use the top blockchain programming languages that fit well with the business model of providers, professionals, pharmacies, and vendors.
  6. Settlement of Claims – One of the major examples of how blockchain is reviving healthcare is claims settlement. The blockchain depends upon the smart contracts that make it easy for the providers and payers to come to the settlement. 

Other than these examples, it is essential to know the healthcare companies using blockchain. Some of the blockchain healthcare companies include:

companies using blockchain in healthcare

Conclusion – Down the Road

The fact is that companies are just becoming more comfortable in using Blockchain as a game-changer. It is in the nascent stage that will slowly but surely reach the level of success with the implementation of Bitcoins as a major addition.

The future of blockchain in healthcare is extremely bright with its major development trends. The blockchain technology in healthcare works well for a number of applications. But yes, it has its own challenges that will take some time for industries to overcome.

In addition to this, both patients and providers can gain so much from the blockchain in healthcare industry that is a revolution in the present world. So, if you have a thriving blockchain idea then feel free to get in touch with us. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q- #1 Is Blockchain same as cryptocurrency?

The blockchain in healthcare holds a lot of hidden factors but the major confusing part for users is using cryptocurrency. It is one of the most attention-grabbing questions asked by the users since it is used synonymously at some places. The fact is that cryptocurrency is the technology that uses Blockchain as its backbone. You can say that it is used for anonymous and decentralized transactions.

Q- #2 Is Blockchain hackable?

Yes, just like any other technology, Blockchain can also be hacked and is vulnerable like others. However, the ledgers are well secure with a number of layers that makes it a bit difficult to hack and exploit code.

Q- #3 Are there any barriers to adopting Blockchain in healthcare?

The public sectors are not that mature as compared to private sectors when it comes to the healthcare industry. With time, the adoption of healthcare has come up as major traction. However, a few barriers faced by blockchain in healthcare are:
Governance
Business
Laws & regulations
Healthcare organization
Cultural & social culture

Q- #4 Will it affects the total cost in the healthcare sector?

The total cost of blockchain in healthcare is affected as per the use cases, demographics, and size. It saves the potential costs of implementation of blockchain technology as per the requirement in the business world. It is safer and helps with a change of management requirements with added technology costs.

Anand Prakash
Anand Prakash

Co-Founder and AVP Technology at Appventurez Mobitech. A tech enthusiast who has broad expertise in delivering end to end software solutions. He is an expert technocrat ho has in-depth knowledge and is highly experienced in delivering solutions for Android, Xamarin, Ethereum Smart Contracts, ASP.net.

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