Blockchain in Healthcare

Blockchain is good for your health, and your business

Share this post:

Blockchain is a potential game-changer to business however there is no clear and easy route to adoption. As I discussed in my first blog, there are still several challenges, including a lack of common technical standards, transaction speeds, verification processes and data limits, which are still being resolved. In a sensitive industry like healthcare, government and regulatory approval is a must to ensure legal clarity.

Despite these challenges, the intrinsic properties of blockchain technology — such as interoperability, data security and authenticity — can help in tackling some of the major problems in healthcare. Some of these areas include:

  • EMR: Blockchain platforms can support the entire lifecycle of a patient’s electronic medical record (EMR). For billing documentation it provides robust security and flawless auditability, eliminating redundant administrative units.
  • Counterfeit drug prevention and detection: Blockchain can be used to introduce anti-tampering capabilities in the manufacturing phase to ensure pharmaceuticals are genuine.
  • Clinical trial results: Blockchain can provide accountability and transparency to the clinical trial reporting process by curating all trials associated with a published study.
  • Internet of Things: Patient-generated health and device data from IoT-enabled medical equipment has enormous promise, especially if interconnected with health records accessed by providers and patients.

Let’s start, accelerate and innovate your healthcare blockchain strategy

Information sharing across healthcare

Regulatory requirements, authenticity trust issues and security concerns, are some of the major barriers to information sharing. A better collaboration can aid accurate diagnoses and effective treatments to deliver cost-effective care. Blockchain can remove the problems of unclear data ownership thereby improving data integrity and peer-to-peer accountability. Patient consent can be accurately captured using tailored consent provisions. Since they are recorded in an immutable fashion, healthcare professionals can place complete trust upon it.

Without violating regulatory requirements, it will be possible to collect, store, protect and share health data and enable its real-time use. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) limited the use of health data and delayed its real-time use. With blockchain, a massive amount of records can be used rather than relying on a selected few voluntary releases. Healthcare professionals will gain access to more information generated from patient health records that can result in an exponential increase of samples. This will empower hospitals, patients and other parties in the healthcare value-chain to grant access to their networks without affecting data security and integrity.

Blockchain can also open a new avenue of pseudonymous health recommendations. Individual identities will remain secure while health data is added to the blockchain. Patient recommendations can be made based on this real-time data.

Blockchain also provides a secure and easily authenticated platform for the integration of data from wearables such as fitness trackers and devices using mobile apps. A single patient can generate authenticated and secure health data from multiple devices. By monitoring and accessing their daily health data, tailored health and exercise plans can be created for patients, continually adjusted as results are interpreted.

On the blockchain path

Since healthcare is governed by a complex regulatory network, a secure cloud environment that can exceed the compliance requirements will encourage adoption of blockchain technology in this sector.

IBM Watson Health has partnered with US Food and Drug Administration to explore the use of health data transfers from wearables and other IoT devices using blockchain. One of the major aims of this project is to facilitate the secure transfer of health data and make it easily available to patients, researchers and healthcare providers. The transparency and accountability inherent to blockchain will assure the security of data and reduce the associated risks.

I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave any comments you have. You can also explore more about blockchain in healthcare in this great article by Heather Fraser. For more thoughts on blockchain and its industry applications, follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Learn more about blockchain today

Business Account Manager - US Public Sector

More Blockchain in Healthcare stories

What are the use cases for blockchain tech in healthcare?

What are the use cases for blockchain tech in healthcare? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. Answer by Software Development Company, on Quora: Constantin Yukhymenko on Quora: What are the use cases for blockchain tech in healthcare? Use Case […]

Continue reading

Your unanswered questions on the ROI of blockchain

Over the last year, there has been an overwhelming amount of excitement around blockchain, but will the technology live up to the hype? From cryptocurrencies to supply chain platforms, the emerging technology that underpins these networks is a powerful tool that should be sensibly evaluated by business leaders to understand whether it is worth the investment. […]

Continue reading

From insight to action: Lessons from blockchain first movers

When you go for a swim, do you dive right in or do you test the waters, standing by and letting others jump first? With blockchain, we have witnessed a similar pattern: certain industries and organizations have rapidly embraced the technology, while others have waited on the sideline to watch the results play out before […]

Continue reading