Digital Salutem
28 March 2022

Why Blockchain Technology Matters In Healthcare?

By João Bocas
blockchain

Blockchain technology offers an opportunity to consolidate the fragmented healthcare industry in terms of information repository, clinical trials, drug development, medical records, and medical billing.

The big challenge in today’s healthcare systems is to make healthcare accessible, affordable and efficient to everyone (both current and potential). The old rules of economics don’t work here, which is why there has been a growing demand for blockchain technology.

Blockchain technology is not just a tool for financial transactions; it also has clear implications for the health sector. Adoption of blockchain technology by the healthcare industry needs to be approached with care, as it has the potential to disrupt almost every aspect of the business.

The healthcare sector is already facing some major challenges, particularly with the development and adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) and electronic medical records (EMR). EHRs are being used widely in hospitals and clinics alike, but less so in day-to-day practice.

This problem is becoming more acute with regard to EMRs as well: many organizations have already adopted EMRs, but when patients start working with their own personal data, management about these data becomes more difficult. It makes sense that these are some of the most important people to engage in this discussion — our readership among companies that have demonstrated successful adoption include VMware, IBM, Microsoft and Oracle, so they should be able to provide answers.

Blockchain and healthcare

The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value. Blockchain technology has the potential to break these sectors free from rent-seeking middlemen and monopolies, restoring power directly back to the users. Blockchain technology is not just a tool for financial transactions; it also has clear implications for the health sector. Adoption of blockchain technology by the healthcare industry needs to be approached with care, as it has the potential to disrupt almost every aspect of the business.

Blockchain technology is gaining more and more traction. With its potential to disrupt almost every aspect of the business, we believe that blockchain technology needs to be applied to healthcare with caution. Blockchain is generally accepted as having a great overall potential for the future of healthcare organizations and can help improve patient outcomes from clinical trials, through training hospital staff on clinical trials, to tracking medical records and improving the efficacy of drug supply chains. However, challenges still exist in the implementation of this technology within healthcare systems.

Blockchain technology offers an opportunity to consolidate the fragmented healthcare industry in terms of information repository, clinical trials, drug development, medical records, and medical billing. Blockchain technology is a great way to create a single version of the truth for health stats by enabling real-time access across the healthcare network sphere.

Impact of this solution to society

Healthcare is the largest provider of data to governments. The number of repositories of healthcare data in the world exceeds 7500. This is enough to store all the information required for an individual patient. In a recent study, these repositories were found to contain more than 250 million pieces of information that could be used by any government or private entity to obtain medical records and patient’s health condition and history. If this information was shared with the right parties, it would lead to countless opportunities for government and private sector companies like hospitals, doctors, insurance companies just to name a few.

As far as healthcare IT is concerned, there is no reason why it can’t benefit from digitization in different ways. It definitely has a place in improving security, but also in other ways:

  • Enabling the users to have access to their medical records in real time without having to wait for harried staffs
  • Improving speed (it saves time)
  • Changing how it operates from an administrative system into something closer to a personal health record management system (which can also be used for marketing purposes)

This is just one example of how digitization can benefit both patients and providers alike. Even if you aren’t working on your own project atm, you should keep an eye on what innovative solutions are being developed around healthcare digitalization; it may just be your next big thing!

Recommendations or suggestions

E-health is a great way to bring accountability and transparency to the healthcare system, but we must also balance this with patient privacy. As in any other sector, there are some problems that can be fixed with technology:

  • Easier access: patients will always want more information about their health and the treatment they receive, and the ability for their physicians to provide more information about them can be a gamechanger.
  • Access through more convenient locations: with ehealth systems like InspirePoint, patients can wait in front of the hospital (and outside it) instead of waiting at home.
  • A more efficient system: you can use your phone or tablet to access your health records and doctors’ paperwork, but you cannot access your records while they are being produced (at least not yet). This cost is often passed on to patients.
  • Better clinical outcomes: better data analysis may lead to better results in many cases. In fact, improved data analysis could get rid of many diseases which doctors now claim they cannot treat effectively because of the cost or time involved. A new drug may have an effective result within 2 months of its release, but if it only works in 2% of cases after 4 months, then it is already obsolete!

Healthcare has seen a massive digital transition. The rise of international markets (China, India, etc.) is driving this change. Business models are evolving as well with more and more mergers and acquisitions. Furthermore, major players are entering new markets such as the US healthcare market. This has led to a lot of discussion on how digital transformation in healthcare can be facilitated.

However, when it comes down to it, the most important thing we need to do is to talk about digital transformation from a technological standpoint alone: technology alone will not bring everything we dream of; rather it needs to be integrated with business strategy in order to have any real impact on the overall healthcare system.

Some final ideas of :

  • We do not believe that every technology or solution that can be found in healthcare will necessarily be useful for all applications;
  • A good solution should ideally work with existing infrastructure and processes;
  • A single solution does not necessarily mean one should use one solution;
  • We recommend companies keep an open mind when evaluating technologies for their specific needs and go with what they feel is best for them – even if it means taking risks along the way (this idea also applies to product development). We also stress that all technologies require validation before going live; hence, reading thorough reviews from companies who have actually been implementing certain technologies may help you make smart choices.

In addition, please keep in mind that each technology or solution has multiple uses; you need to decide which ones you prefer and which ones you don’t, especially if your company uses different applications across different departments, so too must your decision makers! At the end of the day though, any technology needs to be used carefully and appropriately (e.g., cloud computing cannot replace on-premise storage). Another important thing: there is no one answer, look at all available solutions head-on and choose what works best for your company, hospital, patient…!

Contact us for more relevant details. To find out more about how we can help you with your Digital Healthcare Transformation, Healthcare organizational growth, or Healthcare brand positioning, please get in touch via phone +44 (0) 203 3620421 or via e-mail: info@digitalsalutem.com

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