Startups seeking new opportunities to venture into should consider the impact of blockchain technology on the healthcare industry, which is is multi-pronged. Besides helping with accurate, tampering-proof data management, tracking of drugs and fraud detection and reduction, with blockchain technology in place all stakeholders of the healthcare system can also be easily tracked, for example a patient’s complete medical history and drug usage. Not only that, the patient has control over who has access to this information, which means it is secure.
Consider some of the challenges that are faced by the healthcare industry today. The tracking of the supply chain as well as various stakeholders in the healthcare industry are hampered due to the different management systems utilized by each, as well as the fact that they are often not integrated with one another. This is also true for the integrated management of patient data as well, as each hospital usually employs their own data management system which makes it challenging for different hospitals to, say, compile and access the complete medical history of the patient.
However, blockchain technology can offer meaningful solutions to overcome these problems.
By putting patient records on the blockchain, it is easy to compile and access the complete medical history of the patient. The blockchain also has the benefit of providing tamper-proof security, enabling the patient to decide who has access to their personal data with the help of blockchain keys and addresses. In this way only authorized medical professionals have access to and permission for making any changes to the patient’s medical record. With a complete patient record that cannot be tampered with, medical professionals are better equipped to diagnose and treat their patients.
Additionally, hospitals will not have to use their own patient data management systems, thus saving on costs. Thus a startup with the foresight to utilize blockchain technologies for creating a system for recording hospital patient’s data for multiple hospitals across a country or region can reap many rewards.
Another area of the healthcare industry that blockchain technology can have a positive and immediate impact on is in the creation of digital records of clinical trials. Clinical trials require strict security so that the results and data are not easily tampered with, and blockchain technology can fulfill that role nicely. As a result of the adoption of blockchain, the process of clinical trials, and the approval or disapproval of drugs and treatments are now streamlined. In fact, the streamlining of the approval process for drugs and treatments means that the healthcare industry as a whole can benefit from newer treatments and drugs much faster while also greatly reducing costs.
Blockchain can also be used to track drugs via supply chain management and proper tracking. As each and every drug will have a proper tracking system that details its lifecycle all the way from the beginning production stage until its eventual consumption by the patient, the patient can easily verify the authenticity of any given drug, just by checking on the blockchain. The blockchain system also makes it harder for counterfeit and fake drugs to enter the supply chain as well since every drug will have a proper tracking record.
Additionally, data about the drug’s usage can be integrated with the patient data management system, thereby allowing medical professionals to ascertain what types of medication and drugs the patient has consumed before.
The healthcare industry as a whole, from hospitals, to the medical professionals and to the patients, can benefit greatly from the adoption of blockchain technology. Startups that work to integrate blockchain technology with the healthcare industry have the opportunity to completely revolutionise the healthcare industry and pave the way for the industry to more closely align its interests with the patients’.