Three Ways That Blockchain Will Impact Healthcare
Similar to the rise of the Internet in the 1990s, blockchain has the potential to impact all facets of the business landscape, from the way currency is exchanged, to how data is stored and used. One of the myriad ways in which blockchain may change the world is in healthcare. Today we’ll look at three ways in which this mysterious new technology can be a game-changer in the sector.
Better access to more accurate data.
It’s no secret that gaining electronic access to health data has been a significant challenge. Compounded by the privacy requirements for sharing health information, many practitioners have struggled to provide this for their patients. While Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems are working diligently to solve many of these problems, roadblocks still exist. Blockchain promises to provide access to health records and information across multiple providers seamlessly, with encryption that can better guarantee the privacy that is non-negotiable in the industry.
Greater operational efficiencies.
Going hand in hand with the need for better data, there are still great inefficiencies that exist around the activities surrounding a care visit or procedure. One of these challenges involves managing patient data that likely exists across multiple providers, and in many cases, also across multiple states and locations. Creating an accurate, up-to-date picture of an individual patient case can be problematic, but the blockchain can automate patient data across providers to clean-up any inaccuracies or duplication that may exist. By providing a single record entry for every individual that can be accessed by all parties securely, the inefficiencies of redundant systems can become a thing of the past.
Outside of the more publicized drug issues such as opioids and illegal drugs, exists another significant problem related to pharmaceuticals – counterfeit drugs. While there may be multiple root causes, one issue in combating counterfeit drugs is an inability to truly trace drugs from origin all the way to the patient. Counterfeit drug makers have also raised the stakes, investing more in equipment such as tablet presses and syringe fillers to better convince end users of the validity of their counterfeit product. Blockchain can provide an origin record for legal pharmaceuticals, and follow them all the way to the patient to ensure there has been no tampering, or opportunity for illegal replacement.
So when will healthcare fully realize the benefits that blockchain can offer? Timing is anyone’s guess, but there’s no doubt that change is coming, and coming quickly. Fortunately, many of these changes should ultimately be positives for the industry as a whole.