“Effective use of technology is important to deliver healthcare. By leveraging technology, you can bring down lack of access and cost of healthcare.” – Narayana Murthy, founder of Infosys
The Healthcare Sector is a much-debated topic on news channels. Its access to hard working middle class versus insurance covered individuals is being talked about at every coffee shop or watering hole. But the consensus is that no matter which way the healthcare bill is passed, the clear winners are going to be corporate insurance companies. That is one result no one wants.
While this debate rages on, one fact holds truth. There is a substantial rise in patient data which is being processed by hospitals, clinics etc. This data consists of health records, patient information, money exchange policies and medical insurance claims. If this data is compromised, it can cause serious problems for the patient and hospitals too.
A Cure Shot: Blockchain
Technology is heavily relied on in the healthcare sector, especially in machineries, scans and laser procedures. But, Blockchain technology is here to bridge the gap between public and corporate/government hospitals. Details of every patient, their subscriptions, their diagnosis, past procedures, allergies and blood type can be stored on to the different nodes or blocks. Once stored, they can be updated but not altered. This helps in case of an accident. All access to your healthcare related details shall be available for better and quick diagnosis.
Blockchain also helps in undertaking quick Audits of hospitals. Any theft of prescription drugs, any unofficial use of apparatuses can easily be detected. A complete detailed breakdown of hospital administrations can be expected once it has been uploaded on to a block. This virtual ledger makes day to day operations easier as there is no chance of lack of blood in banks or lack of any medicines or hormones. As a decentralized platform, it is un-tamperable and practical to implement.
There are many different fields in which Blockchain is being implemented. Tourism, Education and even in the creation of Smart cities. While these fields are Noble in themselves, Blockchain in the Healthcare Sector has developed beyond expectations. Almost every developed country is using some part or the other of blockchain Tech in its everyday operations. Some of them are:
1) Hashed Health:
Hashed Health is based in Nashville, Tennessee. It is a healthcare innovation firm that is focused on blockchain and all that it offers via distributed ledger technology. This company is creating work groups to further develop networks that are focused on specific healthcare uses. It is also providing services such as network product management, regulatory guidance and technology support.
2) Gem Health:
Located in Venice, California, Gem is primarily a blockchain company. In 2016, Gem’s healthcare division entered in a partnership with Philips to explore how Blockchain Technology can support the patients. Their Gem OS platform for healthcare allows all stakeholders to securely access shareable data. The platform follows HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) protocols while streamlining communication for the continuum of care.
While blockchain technology is considered new, there still arises the question of adaptability. The transference of all the data involved in healthcare sector, be it medical records or the number of drugs in stock, shall be a large mountain to scale for many.
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This keeps doors open to data breach vulnerabilities. According to the 2017 IBM Security and the Ponemon Institute study, the cost of data breaches for healthcare organizations has increased, averaging $380 per record.Once this hurdle is crossed, there seems to be a smooth road to recovery for all involved. Guess the Doctors really do know better.