Blockchain is a powerful and modern trust tool enabling to exchange data and services, make payments with a high level of safety. This data storage tool can be used in a variety of ways. First of all, Blockchain is popular due to bitcoins and cryptocurrency exchange platforms. A high level of security and flexibility provides ample opportunities in healthcare.
Benefits of Blockchain in healthcare
As early as in 2016, banks started actively paying attention to the Blockchain, while Microsoft announced plans to develop a Blockchain platform. In the same year, real deals were carried out by the startup Wave, the company Ornua and the bank Barclays. Previously, work with documentation due to bureaucratic nuances would take weeks, but using an automated verification process and cryptography managed to cope in about 4 hours.
Considering how big players of the market began to use the Blockchain, it can be understood that this opens up new opportunities and will be actively used in the future. In 2017, Estonia is massively moving to Blockchain technology to improve the security and integrity of data. Some analysts predict an increased interest in Blockchain by the Gulf countries, in particular Bahrain, and the UAE. According to Statista, the market for technology blocking will grow from $339 million in 2017 to $2.3 billion in 2021.
In healthcare, Blockchain opens up new opportunities. First of all, it can be used to store personal data of patients (Electronic health records). Blockchain technology works on a distributed basis. Thus, the database is not stored in one place, but on computers hundreds, thousands of users. There is a duplication of the entire chain of information and storage in encrypted form for each participant, like a backup, eliminating the substitution of original data.
This eliminates the possibility of DDoS attacks. Hackers simply cannot destroy or replace data. If the transaction was conducted with the participation of 10 people, then this chain will always remain available, even when 9 out of 10 computers fail. Each link becomes a full backup for all transactions. A high level of encryption based on secret private keys excludes the possibility of stealing any information.
One of the key advantages is the Step-by-step recording of information. In the chain of information, you can add a new element, but you can not delete the old one. More precisely, the algorithm of the Blockchain operation allows you (if you are a hacker) to locally change any data but to record the current operation, you will need to get confirmations of other computers (users) of the system about the integrity of the entire chain. This all happens in an automatic mode. If any element of the chain does not match the same element on another computer, the record operation is canceled. Thus, the whole chain must be complete. No one can change previously recorded information.
On the one hand, this gives a lot of advantages. The patient can always be sure that his information is protected and can not be changed by anyone. On the other hand, it needs very responsibly approaches to filling out the data. After all, a doctor can make a mistake and this can lead to an unpleasant situation in the future.
Another important feature of the Blockchain technology is its global access. The patient can easily provide access to the treating doctor. At the same time, a doctor can get data from anywhere in the world.
Integration of Blockchain Technology in Healthcare
Electronic health records (EHR)
Blockchain is great for creating a single patient registry (Electronic health records). In fact, there will be a single base with a high level of security, stable operation and access from anywhere. Having such an infrastructure, the patient does not need to worry about data synchronization. Any doctor can review the medical history and prescribe treatment, of course only after the patient’s permission. All data will be recorded in the general register, regardless of whether it is a private reception or health insurance application.
After all, often, a private doctor’s appointment is not displayed anywhere in the patient’s history. This will make it possible to see a clearer picture of the patient’s illnesses. Our company, Merehead, is developing a web application in the healthcare, the interaction of doctors and patients. And we believe that this is what is missing in the healthcare industry – the consolidation of patient data in one place based on reliable distributed technology.
This approach will significantly reduce the cost of hardware clinics. The data will be updated in real time, and the processing will be reduced several times. Within a few seconds, the doctor can find out blood group, chronic diseases, allergic reactions, etc. Thus, there is no need to do repeated tests. This will save time and increase the speed of treatment.
But there is a problem, the standardization of data. It is very important that all data is stored in one format and not lead to confusion. In addition, all information should be recorded according to pre-established standards. It may take several years. The data must be reliable and confirmed by the patient himself. Another problem is the reliability of the diagnosis. A wrong diagnosis can lead to wrong treatment. This will be displayed in the lisy of Electronic health records and may affect the following doctors decisions.
Everyone knows the problem of counterfeit products. Blockchain can solve this issue. Each transaction between the manufacturer and the distributor can be recorded in a chain. Within a few seconds, the system will allow you to easily check the drugs for authenticity, learn the manufacturer and the history of the movement.
Using Blockchain technology, people can bring to single standard protocols and electronic health records. This will make it possible to move to a single international standard.
Blockchain future in healthcare
In the near future, IoT devices can collect patient data (pulse, pressure, temperature, etc.) and in real time and add to electronic health records. Data will be transmitted every second in 24/7 mode. The doctor can clearly know when the temperature or pressure has risen when the headaches began. This will allow to more accurately diagnose and prescribe treatment.
In general, Blockchain technology in medicine will allow clinics to work more efficiently with a lower cost. It opens up new opportunities and will lead to a revolution in the healthcare industry. Blockchain will allow raising patient services to a better level.