- Blockchain in healthcare works as a decentralized ledger system that is duplicated and distributed over a network of computers. It allows access to data to all the designated members who can share, record, and view encrypted transactional data on the blockchain.
- MedRec, a blockchain-based system allows patients to authorize providers to view their records and approve changes to their EHR. It can even manage data sharing between providers.
- According to a survey conducted by the PwC, 49 percent of the companies are piloting, developing, and implementing blockchain projects in medical supply chain management.
Blockchain is a DLT (Distribution Ledger Technology) that allows data storage and transfers in a decentralized way. Data sharing and storage are common challenges faced by the healthcare sector. Blockchain in healthcare can be used to curb these challenges and allow seamless data exchange.
The global blockchain technology in the healthcare market is estimated to increase at a CAGR of 68.1 percent from 2022 to 2030 timeframe. The rise in the incidences of data breaches is driving the growth of the market during the forecast period. The prominence of blockchain in healthcare is due to a need to reduce counterfeit drugs and manage healthcare data systems. Let’s look at the use cases of blockchain in healthcare.
5 Use Cases of Blockchain in Healthcare
1. Healthcare Data Security
Healthcare software is developed with ePHI security and privacy in mind. Data security is crucial for healthcare facilities. Any damage to patients’ data results in a breach of HIPAA regulations, followed by legal charges. Failure to protect medical data hampers the privacy and safety of a patient. Cybercriminals can use patients’ data for identity theft, scam, fraud, or reputation damage. Hence, healthcare data must be safeguarded.
Blockchain in healthcare works as a decentralized ledger system that is duplicated and distributed over a network of computers. It allows data access to all the designated members who can share, record, and view encrypted transactional data on the blockchain. Blockchain in healthcare collects and stores data in groups, which are called ‘blocks’. Every block holds some information.
Additionally, blockchain’s data structures are highly secure as they are based on cryptography, consensus, and decentralized principles. Every block is linked to the previous one in such a way that it’s impossible to tamper with. All transactions in a block are validated and agreed upon by a consensus mechanism, assuring that every transaction is accurate. Furthermore, the process of building a blockchain can be augmented via AI to prevent data manipulation.
2. Electronic Medical Records
Blockchain can be used in electronic medical records (EMR) software to protect data privacy and manage interoperability. MedRec, a blockchain-based system allows patients to authorize providers to view their records and approve changes to their EMR. It can even manage data sharing between providers.
Additionally, MedRec stores only viewership permissions and data ownership, instead of raw records in blocks, thereby the security of the user is assured. Apart from this, OmniPHI (a peer-to-peer) network is used to integrate EMR, including blockchain, and allows patients to have a unified view of their records. It allows providers to access updated data of their patients even if the data is stored at different locations.
Though blockchain in EMR helps with interoperability and privacy issues, it comes with its own set of challenges. Blockchain-based EMR mandates complex computational functions such as digital signatures and consensus mechanisms. This complexity puts an enormous computational burden on the wireless nodes.
3. IoT and Fog Computing
A research paper stated that a cloud-based framework was developed to monitor the progression of neurological disease using IoMT. Cloud computing was used to process and store IoMT data and deploy an Ethereum-based blockchain network to safely exchange data between healthcare users.
Research further stated that a blockchain architecture was proposed for secure patient monitoring. Apart from this, to fit the IoMT specifics, there are suggestions to modify the consensus process. Researchers recommend a consortium blockchain-based architecture to record data generated from IoMT and assure patients’ privacy.
Fog computing’s capability to turn IoMT devices into small data processing centers can be used for data sharing. With fog computing patient data can be transmitted across devices through a shared interface.
4. Medical Supply Chain Management
According to a survey conducted by the PwC, 49 percent of the companies are piloting, developing, and implementing blockchain projects in medical supply chain management. However, the survey reported that lack of trust is the biggest barrier to blockchain incorporation in the supply chain.
Blockchain technology can maintain a fixed record of available medical devices and drugs. This prevents the purchase of counterfeit and expired products. Further, blockchain has a reliable tracking system for transactions between hospitals and suppliers. Thus, creating an efficient hospital system accountability.
Also, blockchain facilitates data sharing between pharmaceutical companies and healthcare organizations, allowing suppliers and providers to engage in an effective feedback loop.
Genomics data is crucial and sensitive, and blockchain in healthcare offers robust security and integrity for this data. Encryption is one of the preferred methods to prevent data breaches, however, it doesn’t ensure complete protection. Hence, blockchain is used to provide better protection against breaches.
Blockchain technology uses a hashing method to store and share data securely. Furthermore, the decentralized nature of blockchain technology assures secure and easy data exchange between providers and patients. The data is stored in a ledger in a blockchain database that safeguards information. Also, the decentralized nature prevents data modification. So, changes in data will be reflected on the nodes, thus making data sharing safe.
Apart from the above five use cases, blockchain can also contribute to clinical trial data privacy, maintaining transparency in the supply chain, drug development, and much more. Blockchain does well in healthcare because of its tracking abilities, secure data access, real-time transactions, authentication, and safe data transfers. Its decentralized system has made it a popular technology in the healthcare sector and it will continue to thrive in the upcoming years.
In addition to blockchain, the healthcare sector relies heavily on multiple software ranging from e-prescription, medical billing, EHRs, and third-party integrations. Healthcare software assures seamless workflows and enhanced patient satisfaction. To get one developed for your healthcare facility, get in touch with Arkenea. With over 12 years of experience in the field, we will provide you with the best healthcare software that meets your organization’s standards.