Angel Berniz 942 Questions 9 Answers 0 Best Answers 2,177 Points View Profile Angel BernizIn: BlockchainMaster Asked: February 17, 20192019-02-17T08:25:33+00:00 2019-02-17T08:25:33+00:00 How can Blockchain be applied to Healthcare? Let’s share how can Blockchain be applied to Healthcare. Share Facebook 1 Answer Voted Oldest Recent Emi Hanado 33 Questions 32 Answers 1 Best Answer 58 Points View Profile Emi Hanado Learner 2019-02-20T21:45:42+00:00Added an answer on February 20, 2019 at 9:45 pm I think blockchain can be a huge part of healthcare. Not only I am studying but also I have a congenital eye issue and many of doctors fail to find source and cure for my low vision issue yet they do not want to share their findings among patients and specialist. Potential of blockchain for healthcare highly depends on the acceptance of the new technology within the healthcare ecosystem in order to create technical infrastructure to help in needs. Current Healthcare System Focusing on quality health care services means ensuring patient health management at a superior level at all times. However, federal rules and regulations are making processes even more tedious and lengthy. Due to this, keeping such processes intact and still providing effective patient care is not feasible in many cases. The major issue in providing quality healthcare services is the gap between providers and payers. The dependency of middlemen in the supply chain makes it even worse. In the healthcare sector, critical patient data and information remains scattered across different departments and systems. Due to this, crucial data is not accessible and handily available in times of need. The existing healthcare ecosystem cannot be considered as complete as multiple players in the system do not have a system in place for smooth process management. Moreover, it is also termed as inadequate for handling the exchange of information and requires certain major changes. Today’s complexity in the current Healthcare System , the misuse of available data is preventing healthcare organizations from delivering appropriate patient care and high-quality services for the sake of better health. Despite being fairly efficient in terms of economy, these organizations are not able to fulfill the needs of patients. I found that — Up to 40% of healthcare provider data records are filled up with errors or misleading information — Healthcare data breaches in organizations are estimated to cost around $380 per record in the current times. This amount is expected to increase with the passing of time. Many healthcare facilities today are still dependent on outdated systems for keeping patient records. These systems hold the functionality of keeping local records of the patient data. This can make it difficult for the doctor to diagnose which is time-consuming for the doctor and tedious for the patients too. Due to this, the cost of maintaining a patient-oriented business is increased considerably. Issues prevailing in the current healthcare sector are not limited. They keep on growing with high-intensity with time. The need for a technically advanced system is undeniable. Consider the problem of drug counterfeiting which leads to losses of around $200 million. It could be diminished dramatically if a system with accurate tracking features is put into place in the supply chain. Despite having gadgets like computers and mobile phones at every healthcare facility these days, we’re still not able to collect, analyze, secure and exchange data seamlessly. Therefore, the healthcare system today not only needs an advance system rather it also needs a system that is smooth, transparent, economically efficient and easily operable. Blockchain Solution According to the Gartner Hype Cycle, the Blockchain technology has gone beyond the “innovation trigger” and is at “peak of inflated expectations.” It holds the potential to disrupt different industries such as finance, banking, supply chain as well as healthcare. But before diving right into the details of how blockchain is affecting healthcare, let’s understand what is it first. Blockchain is one of the most disruptive technologies that has taken the world by storm these days. A blockchain is nothing but a distributed ledger that keeps track of transactions and activities happening throughout the network. The most unique factor of a blockchain is that once a piece of information is added to the distributed ledger, no one can alter it. The information stored on a blockchain is absolutely secure in its entirety. In order for anyone to make a change in one block, it is mandatory to make changes to all the subsequent blocks after it. The working of a blockchain relies on three major principles that have existed for long. Compiled working of these principles allows blockchain to provide secure and safe digital relationships. Private key cryptography — In private key cryptography, a secret key is used as a variable along with an algorithm to encrypt and decrypt the code. The key is kept secret even when the algorithm is not. In a blockchain, a reference of the secure digital identity is created, however, the transactions are on the open network. Distributed ledgers — A distributed ledger also known as a shared ledger is referred to as a consensus of shared records. In DLT, the ledger is updated in real time and no central authority is held responsible to maintain the ledger. Instead, network participants keep the ledger updated. Any changes made in the ledgers are reflected within seconds. Authentication — Authentication is a process that proves genuineness. In a Blockchain, all the transactions are authenticated before getting added to the chain. This process takes place through algorithms that validate and verify all the transactions. Once the information is encrypted and digitally signed and stored, the authenticity is sealed. Healthcare firms, technology innovators and the members of overall healthcare sector are looking out for ways to find out what’s possible in the current times and what blockchain could do to make healthcare better and affordable in the future. Blockchain Panacea for Healthcare Problems Blockchain has the power to bring out a massive breakthrough in the healthcare ecosystem as it can easily bring specific changes in the healthcare management of the patient. With the aid of this technology, the power will come back to people’s hands. Meaning that individuals will be responsible for handling their own records thus, getting the overall control of their own data. The technology holds the ability to successfully improve patient care quality while maintaining the funds at a reasonable rate. All the challenges and hindrances that occur in multiple level authentication can be eliminated through blockchain. With the increasing adoption rate, Blockchain has made its way to the healthcare sector. Even in its beginning stage, the technology is being positively accepted by people in the healthcare ecosystem. IBM indicated that around 16% of healthcare executives are determined about their plans to implement blockchain solution in their work this year, while around 56% expected to adopt blockchain by the year 2020. The comprehensive vision for blockchain to disrupt the healthcare sector in the coming times would be to resolve issues that afflict the current system. Imagine a healthcare system where all the information is easily accessible by doctors, patients and pharmacists at any given time. Blockchain allows the creation and sharing of a single common database of health information. This system would be accessible by all the entities involved in the process no matter which electronic medical system they use. This offers higher security and transparency while allowing doctors to find more time to spend on patient care and their treatment. Moreover, it will also enable better sharing of statistics of researches which, in turn, would facilitate clinical trials and treatment therapies for any rare disease. In a healthcare system, smooth data sharing between healthcare solution providers can lead to accuracy in diagnosis, effective treatments, and cost-effective ecosystem. The day-to-day growth of patient data requires the proper utilization of resources in order to make the most effective utilization of the insights discovered through it. Blockchain Applications for Healthcare Having explored the importance of blockchain technology in the healthcare sector along with the changes that it could bring, here are a few use cases that utilize the potential of the technology and could make the healthcare industry more accessible, secure and reliable. Population Health Data Population health data refers to the medical information of a particular demographic. For example, it may be health risk information for women suffering from thyroid in the group of 25–40 years. To understand the risks across a diverse population, the data is usually provided in an anonymized form and no names are revealed in these cases. When it comes to population health management, the largest challenges faced till date are data security, shareability, and interoperability. If the patient information is isolated and stored on multiple systems that do not allow the smooth exchange of information, the population health data sets across various patient sets would become scarce. Blockchain provides a reliable solution to this specific challenge. When applied correctly, blockchain will allow improved Security, data sharing, interoperability, data integrity and Real-time update and access. Using blockchain technology can allow people to participate in population health studies to and monetize their data in the form of tokens. Moreover, better data and sharing of population health data can improve care delivery across diverse populations. With more data sets, the usage of new technologies like AI and ML would be possible which will result in discovering widespread risks of population health. Secure Healthcare Setups The current healthcare system and organizations operate through one single central database. This database is managed by one entity in the organization. With this approach, the point of failure also comes to one single point. In such cases, if a hacker or anti-social element attacks the system, he/she can access the overall database and would put the patients as well as the organization in jeopardy. Blockchain can be utilized in order to prevent the internal infrastructure of an organization. A large organization with multiple independent actors having different levels of access on a blockchain ledger with encryption embedded within the blocks will save organizations from external threats and attacks. If a blockchain network is implemented correctly in a healthcare organization, it would prevent such ransom attacks as well as other issues like data corruption or hardware failure. Patient Payments Through Cryptocurrencies Another appealing benefit of Blockchain in healthcare is the use of cryptocurrencies as payments in place of cash or fiat money. Cash medical practices are in prevalence however, the health care costs are not defined as such. Even today 5–10% of cases come from fraud in terms of money and billing unperformed services. In the US alone, a fraud of $30 million was detected in the year 2016. Through blockchain systems and applications in place, the possibility of providing the right solutions and eliminating frauds has increased. Bill processing automation will remove the third parties from the chain and decrease the overall administrative costs. Moreover, when larger institutions will adopt payment processing through cryptocurrencies, a major shift would take place. Each penny paid to the Medicare would be tracked and ensure that no frauds are made during the process. An example explaining Drug Traceability — Image Source Counterfeiting of drugs along with fake drugs in the supply chain constitutes a major loss of billions of dollars per year. According to a Health Research Funding Organization (HRFO), report, almost 10 to 30 percent of drugs in developing countries are not original. While the U.S. healthcare industry alone bears a loss of approximately $200 billion annually due to these issues. As these stats showcase, drug counterfeiting causes the deaths of hundreds of people who take the wrong medicine. Dissemination of counterfeit drugs is one serious problem in the pharmaceutical space. Clinical Trials & Data Security Clinical trials are conducted in order to ensure and analyze the effectiveness of any particular medicine that is developed and proposed for curing a specific disease. Based on a hypothesis, the proposed drugs can be tested and based on the success of the trial, they can be implemented on a larger scale. Therefore, in order to conduct a clinical trial, huge amounts of data sets are required. The researchers focus on these data sets and conduct regular tests under different circumstances to generate reports, statistics, and effectiveness ratio. Based on these reports, the data is analyzed and further decisions are taken. Blockchain technology would add to the credibility of clinical trials and results. These documents can be stored as smart contracts on the blockchain acting as the digital thumbprints. This catalog of documents will reduce audit costs, review of files, lost document issues and frauds. The blockchain will also keep the supply chain management of the pharma as well as the accountability of drugs tracking. Patient Data Management HIPPA, Health Insurance Portability, and Accountability Act has strict regulations around the privacy of a patient’s data. It requires PHI (Patient health information) to be secure from breaches and modification. Despite the security regulations, patient data cannot be restricted. Healthcare being a complex system with multiple entities requires a patient to share their data and medical records across the ecosystem. Introducing blockchain to this data-centric system resolves many issues. A blockchain system in place for patient data management would create a hash for individual patient health information blocks and a collective system would constitute a patient ID on a theoretical basis. A blockchain system would even allow patients to reveal their necessary data to third parties while keeping their identity secret. The time limit and access permissions for data sharing with third parties could also be controlled by the patients. It has taken the healthcare industry by storm over the past year and many solutions are being developed to adopt it. With so many potential use cases and possibilities, blockchain is sure to disrupt the healthcare landscape for good. 0 Reply Share Share Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on WhatsApp Leave an answerCancel replyYou must login to add an answer. Username or email* Password* Captcha* Click on image to update the captcha. Remember Me! Forgot Password?