Blockchain Use Cases in Healthcare

Blockchain technology evolved from being a cryptocurrency platform to one disrupting innovation that provides tons of benefits across industries. One of them is in healthcare. The healthcare industry, with its tons of information, can effectively exploit the power and potential of blockchain in many different ways. 

It is now an accepted reality that the future of healthcare will improve thanks to blockchain. To know how blockchain can facilitate changes, here are some of the top blockchain use cases in healthcare:

Blockchain Use Cases in Healthcare

1. Patient Data Management

One of the challenges of hospitals and private practitioners is dealing with tons of paperwork and patient data records. In the past years, the introduction of electronic health records was something that can genuinely help healthcare practitioners. Still, the issue of consolidating a comprehensive health record is prominent. Patient data can even vary from doctor to doctor. These differences are not helpful for patients with medical problems that require consultations with different doctors. 

The use of blockchain technology can change all this. Just recently, MBTC introduced the use of an Application Program Interface (API) and blockchain. Through this program, the patient can control information sharing about their records. They can authorise the transfer of records from one doctor to another. Hence, allow doctors to have a clear picture of the patient’s condition by checking the same records. Since the patient will authorise, there is no breach in patient confidentiality, and there is a control on who can only see the sensitive information. 

One of blockchain use cases in healthcare is by creating complete and portable medical records that are interconnected — no more second-guessing for doctors allowing them to arrive at a better diagnosis and treatment plan for patients. 

2. Drug Monitoring

Proper healthcare management aims to give the patient the most secure and accurate diagnosis and treatment as possible. This goal is why the medical field has different specialities and subspecialties. However, this can also cause fragmented treatment, especially when it comes to drug prescriptions. Several issues may arise from this. One, doctors who fail to get an exhaustive medical history may not elicit drug information from the patient. They will prescribe medications without knowing about the possible drug interactions it may have with other drugs the patient is currently taking. This miscommunication can lead to serious adverse effects, or worse, fatalities. 

Second, fragmented patient information may lead to doctor shopping. Doctor shopping is common for substance abuse patients who change physicians regularly so they can get a prescription for dangerous drugs. Third, patients often fall victim to counterfeit drugs, particularly expensive prescription drugs. 

Blockchain can help in drug monitoring that would benefit patients, healthcare providers, and even pharmaceutical industries. Blockchain can provide medical doctors access to all the drugs the patient is taking. As a result, they can see possible drug interactions and monitor drug dependency. 

FarmaTrust recently launched their ICO to help in drug monitoring. Their project has four different sections: 

Regulatory Compliance

This section ensures that the production of pharmaceutical companies is within government guidelines. 

Track and Trace

Through blockchain, inventory tracking is easy wherever the drug is supplied. 

Supply Chain Visibility

This section includes tracking of any changes and alterations in the medicine. 

Consumer Confidence

This section provides information about the lifespan of medications, making it easier for the patient to monitor the drugs. 

3. Security and Control of Healthcare Transactions

Another one of the blockchain uses cases in healthcare is securing and controlling healthcare transactions. Through this, claims management and revenue cycle management is simpler and more streamlined. Both hospitals and health systems can facilitate claiming and remittances easier. They can also streamline the collection of payments and reduce underpayments and claim denials. Blockchain also helps hospitals and other stakeholders to monitor daily revenue cycles and run their businesses with more efficiency. 

Change Healthcare released a project that uses blockchain systems to help streamline processes within the healthcare industry. In their press release, the Intelligent Healthcare Network uses a blockchain that features transparency in claims management. Through the use of blockchain technology, the project can do real-time tracking of claims submissions and remittances throughout the whole process. This tracking allows insurance companies, hospitals, and patients to monitor the status of the claim. 

4. Improved Patient-Doctor Interactions

The use of a decentralised system to access patient information can lead to better patient-doctor interactions. Doctors can access pertinent patient information during worsening health conditions, particularly when access to information can be limited. Blockchain can encourage interoperability among doctors. 

One of the projects currently underway is MedicalChain. Through this project, patients have full access and control over their health records. They can grant their doctors immediate access to these records immediately. The project will also provide wearable bands, which doctors can scan to gain access to the patient’s medical history should they become unconscious. 

5. Clinical Trials and Pharmaceutical Tracking

Clinical trials often take time to conclude because it is challenging to recruit and retain subjects. Blockchain can improve this by providing value discovery for research participants. It would also be beneficial for medical doctors to keep track of existing clinical trials should they want to know more information about a novel drug. 

Conclusion

The growing demand requires industries to keep track of the technological advancements, even in the healthcare industry. In fact, this industry requires a high level of growth because people rely on a better and improved healthcare system. The emerging blockchain use cases can, on a large scale, offer real value for the industry. It can solve the healthcare industry’s most pressing challenges, including interoperability and data security issues. 

As blockchain improves healthcare interoperability, doctors and other allied health practitioners can identify the patients with ease and gain access to patient data records. All these while considering data security issues. 

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