The Future of Blockchain in Healthcare
Blockchain is a distributed ledger system that generates and stores data records. It represents a long chain of ‘blocks’ of information and data and governs how the same is accessed, distributed and manipulated in a peer-to-peer network.
The features of blockchain in healthcare that make it significantly attractive to the industry is the fact that blockchains are highly secure, uniquely-identifiable (hash) and immutable. This is because every time a new event occurs in terms of change, sharing, access or modification, a new block of information is created based on the last block on that chain, and is seamlessly transmitted to all connected ‘nodes’ to the P2P network.
How Blockchain is Changing the Healthcare Industry
Blockchain in healthcare is catalyzing the way the healthcare industry functions in more than one way. We will look at some of the ways in which blockchain technology in the healthcare industry is paving the way for a more reliable, safer, transparent and cost-efficient consumer experience.
The combination of blockchain and healthcare is yielding transformative results for transparency in patient-healthcare interactions. For one, due to its decentralized nature, the medical blockchain is simultaneously updated on all connected nodes. This implies, any modifications in the patient history, diagnostics, costs incurred, health notes and other pertinent information can be shared seamlessly across different healthcare providers and even with insurers.
As with transparency, the immutable nature of blockchain in healthcare makes sure that pertinent patient data cannot be modified without the consensus of all connected nodes, i.e. the respective stakeholders. Blockchain for healthcare ensures that the privacy of the patient is preserved, without suffering from informational transmissibility.
Blockchain solutions for healthcare might come with increased upfront expenditures, but the cost of diurnal operations is significantly reduced both for the patients and the healthcare providers. Seamless sharing of information, immutability, accountability and traceability also add to some of the non-tangible benefits of using blockchain technology in healthcare.
Since medical blockchains are hosted on every connected node simultaneously, the events of complete patient data loss are significantly reduced. Additionally, utilization of cloud hosting for blockchain healthcare ensures lower infrastructural costs, 24/7 access and higher reliability.
The Future of Blockchain and Healthcare
Due to the inherent synergies, blockchain healthcare holds a lot of transformative opportunities for the future. Many of these have come to head owing to the ever-increasing need for privacy and accountability in the healthcare value chain. However, blockchain in healthcare also envisages operational efficiencies owing to such synergies.
Consolidation and User Education
The future of blockchain holds exciting possibilities in consolidation of start-ups working in the field of healthcare. A Blockchain in Healthcare Today (BHTY) review suggests that the sector needs to undergo larger M&As to enhance the pervasiveness and penetration of blockchain technology in healthcare. Another aspect to be considered to increase acceptance is the demystification of myths and enhance user education about the benefits of implementation of blockchain in healthcare.
The current model sees the patient signing informed consent forms for each visit, therapeutic intervention or diagnostic intervention. The future of blockchain would see an inversion of this paradigm where patients, through blockchain, provide single approval for multiple touchpoints such as data privacy, therapeutic procedures and diagnostics, which may be accessed gradually as needed.
Micropayments and Data Monetization
Blockchain applications in healthcare pose significant opportunities for easing the monetary transitions between patients and care providers. The new-age value-based models could see healthcare providers being reimbursed based on actual well-being made, rather than on quantity. Blockchain in healthcare also holds opportunities for data monetization as patients choose to anonymously share health data (such as genomics) for precision medicine research. This alleviates the challenge of privacy approvals and remunerations for disclosing patients for secondary research.
Provider Verification and Accreditation
Blockchain for healthcare provides new modes of healthcare provider accreditation by creating and maintaining complex directories which are conjugate with healthcare regulations. The Synaptic Health Alliance is one such example which combines blockchain and healthcare to allow individual providers to access demographic information updated by its members.
The blockchain healthcare market stood at USD 281 million in 2020, and envisages a growth of 52.7% CAGR from 2021 to 2027 (GMInsights). This growth will primarily be catalyzed by the need for integrity of data in the healthcare industry. Blockchain in healthcare helps us achieve that due to its immutable and private nature. Hence, the sanctity of any alterations made in the patient records is preserved as that right is served to only the licensed, accredited and responsible stakeholder of the value chain. Additionally, each alteration can be tracked autonomously, making it easier for the patients to keep track of the data they have shared and where it stands.
Cases of Blockchain Applications in Healthcare
We will look over some popular blockchain-based healthcare startups and how they are transforming the industry.
Chronicled uses its MediLedger Network to bring together trading partners and medical institutions closer than ever. Without communication errors and organizational mishaps, the room for significant innovation has been created.
Acquired by HealthVerity in 2020, Curisium utilized blockchain for rebate negotiation and contract management. By streamlining such transactions, Curisium enables providers and payers to engage in innovative, efficient and secure contracting arrangements.
The future of blockchain is exciting, but adding healthcare to the mix makes it a more promising proposition for transforming the industry for reliable, safer, efficient, transparent and cost-effective transactions amongst healthcare providers and patients. Blockchain in healthcare makes it possible to streamline micropayments, garner consent, provide integrity and privacy and generate data monetization opportunities.
For a successful blockchain-based healthcare venture, it is advisable to enlist the services of an experienced blockchain development company that can transform your vision of the future of blockchain’s implementations in healthcare into reality.