The global healthcare industry has been steadily on the rise for years. In 2018, the industry was valued at more than 8.45 trillion dollars and rising. However, the current systems in place are not adequate. The healthcare system is not as efficient as stakeholders in the industry would like. It’s plagued with cost overruns and inefficiencies. These factors can deteriorate the system even further if left unchecked. The good news is that blockchain technology holds some of the answers to these very dire needs. Here is how:
Patient-Centered Medical Records
In this day and age, data is one of the most valuable assets in any industry. Today, it’s the medical institutions that control and keep safe medical data for patients all over the world. Although most of these records are kept under lock and key, they aren’t usually accessible to the patient without bureaucracy and waiting. Using blockchain technology, medical institutions can create patient-centric medical records to access their data routinely. This way, patients own their medical data. Since the foundational technology here is blockchain, these records are committed to the network and are immutable. Therefore, it cannot be changed by outside parties without the patient’s consent. Patient-centered medical records are precious because a patient is then not tied down to one hospital. Whether they are abroad or not, the patients can access their medical files to allow them to provide them with the best care.
Improving Privacy, Security, and Reliability
As it is today, technology experts mainly believe in cloud data storage. Data stored in the cloud is more comfortable to access and cannot easily be destroyed when there is a fire catastrophe. Although data silo is easily accessible by the institution because it’s usually hardwired to the system, it becomes a real challenge to share such data with other medical institutions. Most medical institutions operate using bespoke designs. Hence, it’s usually complex sharing data even hosted on a cloud because the architecture may be different. Blockchain technology helps alleviate the problems of inconsistencies, data integrity, and ease of exchange. Using blockchain’s smart contracts, information can easily be transferred between medical institutions. This can be done without the need for verification or intermediaries.
Fraud and Prescription Drugs
Fraud relating to prescription drugs is at an all-time high. Opioid addiction and dependence have created a booming business for evil people who have devised ways to cheat the healthcare system. These fraudsters have developed techniques such as doctor shopping. A method where a person visits as many doctors as possible to get many prescriptions. They photocopy these prescriptions to use the sheet as many times as possible. To solve this issue, Nuco came up with a solution that involves equipping doctor’s prescription scripts with a machine-readable code that’s linked to a particular block of data. When the patient sees the pharmacist for the drugs, the pharmacist can quickly scan the code and see the state of the prescription in real-time. Since various stakeholders such as hospitals, pharmacies, and insurance providers are expected to assist in this fraud prevention chain, they can be given access to certain aspects of the data. Using various cryptographic keys, patients can be guaranteed security all through.
Tracking Shipments and Preventing Counterfeit Drugs
Counterfeit drugs have been a big challenge for the health industry for years now. Unscrupulous manufacturers make drugs that aren’t as efficient or safe as the original ones and ship them to consumers worldwide. Blockchain technology can then be used to make the supply chain as transparent and reliable as possible. By applying blockchain, a patient can use a simple device such as a smartphone to scan the codes on a packet of drugs to see whether the providence is correct.