In recent years, Blockchain has contributed significantly to the global market, and it has pumped its popularity immensely. Blockchain technology in healthcare has transformed the sector with several implementations. Blockchains as a technology were created to facilitate currency exchange transactions and completely reduce the requirement of a trusted third party that notarizes and verifies such transactions and to protect data security and privacy. The new blockchain structures have been designed to meet the needs of this technology in other areas, such as health, tourism, education, and more.
The choice of Blockchains architecture to use depends on the entities participating in the created chain network. Although the use of blockchains can reduce redundancies and provide caregivers with consistent information about their patients, it does have a few problems that could compromise patient privacy or potentially compromise the entire stakeholder network. It sure does have a long road to go but it has completely transformed the healthcare sector in numerous ways. In this blog, we will learn about the applications of Blockchain in healthcare along with the future prospects.
Let’s start with the current trends of Blockchain technology.
New Trends in Blockchain Technology
Blockchain can be described as a revolutionary technology that has changed the finance and healthcare sector widely. Earlier it was perceived as a temporary solution, but the recent couple of years have completely changed the narrative. There has been a significant enhancement in Blockchain technology and usage. Given the popularity of technology, the trends keep changing for good. Here are some of the Blockchain technology trends that have taken the global market by storm.
Federated Blockchain is actually one of the best blockchain directions in the global market today. This is nothing more than an improved form of the basic blockchain model that makes it ideal for many specific applications. The Federated blockchain operates under different authorities instead of following a single secure and reliable node. On the other hand, a private blockchain, which is managed by a single organization and pre-selected nodes in a federated blockchain, can be managed by multiple agencies.
A hybrid blockchain can be described as a significant concept in the blockchain domain. It can be best understood as a blockchain that seeks to use the most appropriate part of both the public and private block circuits. The hybrid blockchain chain operates in a closed ecosystem, so any information on the network remains secure. Transaction costs in hybrid blockchains are much lower as compared to powerful network nodes making the process of controlling transactions easy and fast.
More Stronger Cryptocurrencies
Cryptocurrency is taking more and more forms. There are more well-known forms, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, that have sparked the trend; are stablecoins that seek to bring more stability to the cryptocurrency by linking the value to some external reference, such as the United States dollar; and there are the digital currencies of the central governments of different governments: It is really possible in the near future that the Federal Reserve can issue a digital dollar as China prepares to deal with its currency through a blockchain.
Immense use of Blockchain in Retail
The retail sector has been progressing with lightning speed that demands robust technology to make the process easier. In order to make the workflow more optimized, retail businesses need efficient inventory management and supply chain processes. Moreover, many expect the Blockchain to save retail long after the pandemic. Due to the growing need for monitored, scalable customer service and logistics, evolving blockchain technology is consuming retail space.
Applications of Blockchain in Healthcare
Managed Clinical Trials
Clinical trials and participant consent management are areas where the Blockchain has the potential to increase transparency and accountability for physicians and researchers. By keeping a consistent record of patient consent, regulators can easily monitor the standards of clinical trials, ensuring that the trial complies with national informed consent rules. This is particularly important as fictitious forms of informed consent have been one of the most common clinical scams. This involves editing the data and falsifying the patient’s consent, indicating that a certain level of subject authentication is required to prevent this.
The described system could be further complemented by the implementation of a smart contract system, which prevents clinicians from using patient data until a key has been released at the end of the audited smart contract process, which requires consent at each stage of the trial. This process should also allow for the withdrawal of the patient’s consent. Implementing the Blockchain Clinical Trial Consent Log gives participants in clinical trials ownership of their data while providing traceability to clinical staff, researchers, and regulators.
Efficient Data Sharing
Data sharing is one of the biggest ways to improve health but also one of the biggest privacy concerns. A national standard is important for the interoperability of healthcare IT services. Tracking the assets of medical devices is a topical issue in the healthcare sector. Drug monitoring is a completely different problem from medical device monitoring, as the main problem is counterfeit medicines.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the use of RFID to track drugs from the supply chain to the patient. This allows the entire chain of custody to be monitored, ensuring that hospitals have purchased medicines from a legal source. Pfizer was the first pharmaceutical company to introduce an RFID “e-family” where patients and doctors could trust the source and capabilities of their flagship drug.
Patient Record Keeping
Blockchain has significant power to disrupt health care and provide data to patients. One particularly interesting step in this direction is MedRec, which provides patients and physicians with a consistent log of health data. It takes a different approach to stimulate miners by providing access to anonymous health data for the maintenance of the network. MedRec uses smart contracts to map patient-provider relationships (PPRs), where the contract displays a list of references that details the relationships between the nodes in the Blockchain. It also puts PPR in the hands of the patient, giving them the opportunity to accept, reject or change relationships with healthcare providers such as hospitals, insurers, and clinics.
The Blockchain offers the potential for interoperability of health systems as it has a decentralized general ledger, an accepted fact in medical records where all healthcare providers have access to this ledger. This means that although the user interfaces may be different, their central ledger is the same for all providers.
Efficient Drug Monitoring
Tracking drugs with the help of Blockchain is another option as it increases the stability of the process to develop a chain of custody and oversight from the manufacturer to the patient. Effective solutions for healthcare are being developed using Blockchain, which helps track a particular drug and stores information about it, such as where the drug was manufactured, when it was paid to patients, and more.
Amplification of blockchain integrity to prevent drug fraud and theft. This will enable healthcare providers to meet existing healthcare standards for the security of the supply of medicines, with a renewed emphasis on interoperability between healthcare providers. The advantage of the Blockchain over traditional means of drug tracking is the decentralization of trust and authority inherent in the principles behind the technology, where bribes can be falsified to central authorities.
Monitoring of medical devices is another way for the Blockchain to transform healthcare from the manufacturer to decommissioning. Many healthcare companies and hospitals use RFID tags to get an idea of the location of their highly regarded devices, as they show the location of the device, as well as the manufacturer, reseller, and serial number associated with the device, helping to comply with regulations.
The Blockchain approach offers several advantages over traditional location tracking products. The most obvious of these are Blockchain’s immutability and tamper-resistant features. This prevents a malicious user from changing the location history of the device or deleting it from the registry. This is particularly important given that the theft and contraction of medical devices have become a multi-million-dollar problem in both the United States and the United Kingdom. As the implementation of the Blockchain on the Internet of Things (IoT) develops rapidly, the healthcare sector is preparing for more efficient solutions.
Future of Blockchain in Healthcare
Blockchain technology has immense use in the healthcare sector, and the future holds numerous innovations. It offers a list of efficient applications such as greater data transparency, safer patient care, process efficiency, and more robust medical research. Despite the positive side, there are a number of key challenges that need to be addressed before safe and successful widespread implementation.
As with any disruptive technology, healthcare organizations need to properly assess the Blockchain technology and also need to train their employees or the service providers about the usage to function properly. Although the Blockchain may provide a better platform for exchanging information, it is easy to assume that the above advantages will arise automatically after the implementation of the blockchain system.
In order to reach their full potential, blockchain platforms need a balance of guidance to allow for widespread use and flexibility to adapt to local practices. Just as the Blockchain is fundamentally opposed to a tacit approach through decentralization, solutions must be decentralized and involve a wide range of multidisciplinary experts, including healthcare providers, legal professionals, technology developers, and patients, to optimize communication while maintaining patient safety.
Ready to Develop Your Blockchain-Based Healthcare Solution with Matellio?
In the current times, various sectors are benefiting from Blockchain, including healthcare. The wide circulation and usage of cryptocurrencies have brought immense popularity to the said technology. The future holds some challenges for Blockchain, but coherent innovation in the field dictates; it will overcome them easily. The Healthcare sector needs efficient digital solutions to function efficiently and deliver a seamless experience to the patients. If you are in the healthcare business and need a robust digital solution to empower your operations, Matellio has the perfect solution for you.
Matellio has been developing software solutions and mobile applications for more than a decade. Our team of dedicated experts and developers has wide expertise in next-gen technologies, including Blockchain. We have developed several efficient digital solutions for our customers that have received extraordinary responses and feedback. Our easy-to-implement hiring models have been designed to keep your budget in check. Discuss your unique idea with our experts over a 30-min free consultation call to get started right away!
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