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Future Blockchain Impact on HealthCare

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Everytime you read an article on bitcoin, you must have come across blockchain technology. And importantly, you must have wondered what magic bitcoin is going to bring to our future economy. This article will tell you how this wizard blockchain is going to take care of your health in coming days.

But you know what, More than anything else I’m thankful to Satoshi Nakamoto for introducing a practical usage to the blockchain, though the invention of this technology can be traced back to 1991. 

Undoubtedly, bitcoin has transformed our vision towards to financial inclusion with improved decentralization, security, and feasibility. But credit to this very much lies on blockchain with its unique and innovative decentralized functionality.

The blockchain is designed to incorporate decentralized ledger and eliminate any third party in between, which turns out to be a reason for transparency, safety, and cost-effectiveness wherever it gets applied.

I believe that blockchain will dominate a majority of the sector including financial services, cybersecurity, prediction market, networking and IOT, insurance market and many more. 

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Effect on all these aforementioned can be summed to a single major public sector, that is – health sector. 

In spite of the development of medical equipment and procedures, there are several other neglected loopholes in the health sector. If taken care of properly, patient life can be handled in a much efficient and convenient manner with least hassle.

Here, I’ll be listing some categories where you can see applications of blockchain can make some real time difference in near future – 

Supply chain

Biopharmaceuticals companies are trying to keep a track record in the medicine delivery. Blockchain can keep an eye on the drug from its journey from manufactured company to destined hospital. Plus, smart contract in the blockchain will allow us to add extra information to delivery process. 

For example, certain medical equipment has to be delivered at a particular temperature. So sensors during the shipping process can provide data to the blockchain ensuring proper quality of the product.

This will get a watch over substandard and bogus products. Although supply management in healthcare is distributed and fragmented in different stages, application of blockchain could facilitate interaction between all the regulators involved in the process.

Clinical Trials

Blockchain generates the idea to share results of clinical trials in a secure and safe manner. This can include information about patient demographics study or collected figures from a specific type of patients. Blockchain can act as a platform to gather data and share among multiple trial websites.

Clinical trials for effectiveness for a medicine to a specific disease involves the higher chance of being manipulated by higher authorities or giant pharma companies. Then recording these results in a blockchain ledger will eliminate the chances of alteration from a third party.

Since this recorded documents are registered as immutable, this data can be used with required authorization resistant to any alteration from third party.

The patient is avail to manage consent on these data across multiple sites, data center, and protocols. Consent from the patient will allow these data to be used by other researchers who might want an access to their data in future.

Personal Health Information (PHI)

Many people have a flake of their health information with them, but blockchain creates a platform to link between multiple systems, hospitals, and health insurance providing nearly entire data of an individual. A person’s medical history could involve past diseases, vaccinations, procedures, and complications (if any) during procedures. Getting access to all these information about a patient will result in fast, effective and properly-analyzed treatment.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) strictly regulates PHI of a patient. There is, however, a certain need to share patient’s information with third parties like pharmacies, insurance agent etc. For that purpose, each PHI block is stored as a hash in blockchain with unique patient ID. And by the use of API, every authority can receive the information without revealing the identity of a patient. We can even set third parties who can view our data, and to decide what extent of the document should be shown.

Administration

Data associated with administration can be documented to a single ledger, with a smart contract we can get mutual consent about who all can access this files.  Maintainance of bills from the pharmacy, patients, scans etc can be regulated in the best possible manner by minimizing human input. This wipes out the possibility of modification of accounts.

Account from different sections of the hospital can be linked to one major network, enabling an easy way for overall account management and auditing.

Insurance Coverage and Claim Adjudication

The ability to differentiate between fraudulent and genuine insurance claims needs to be approved and interlinked between payer, administrative authority, insurance agency and the federal government. Proper coordination in this entire system will gather momentum in the entire payment process. For example, approval of health insurance claims which usually needs a thorough inspection of different reports from Doctors, pharmacy bills, and bank details takes plenty of time. Application of blockchain with proof of adjudication in regard to smart contracts can ease the insurance coverage of patient, which will be a great relief to a patient and his family.

As you notice, aforementioned are some of the practical applicability of blockchain in the medical sector.

Trust me, blockchain is much more revolutionary than what I mentioned in this article. I’ll soon update other applications of this technology in supply chain management, gambling, private transport, renting, charity and many more.

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