When it comes to implementation of blockchain technology in the health sector, there are those who are for the technology and some against it. Some argue that implementing blockchain technology would lead to challenges in implementation – with costs outpacing ROI and benefits. Those who are for blockchain technology argue that a distributed ledger will bring significant benefits to the health sector. A distributed ledger will lead to better management of health data. More medical practitioners in the blockchain will lead to the removal of quacks and substandard medicines in the drug supply chain.
Blockchain technology enables transactions to be recorded and shared across several users. The transactions entered cannot be deleted or edited unless validation takes place from all users in the blockchain. In the healthcare industry, most of the data is fragmented amongst different users. The problem is that critical information cannot be accessed easily. Blockchain can work very well in the health industry because there is no central administrator. Data located in a particular place can easily be corrupted and stolen. Blockchain technology enables users in the chain to verify the authenticity of stored data. Medical practitioners can also share crucial data amongst themselves. Blockchain offers security, data privacy, and scalability.
Implementation of the technology cannot happen at once; it has to be done in steps. Many of the healthcare top executives have little understanding of the workings of blockchain technology. Implementation will have to begin with educating them on the basic workings of blockchain technology. Blockchain technology is expensive, and one of the biggest hindrances is the technical infrastructure needed to support it.
Blockchain technology can revolutionize the drug supply chain, revenue management, and clinical cycles. Data on disease registries and lab results can be used to manage healthcare better. One of the biggest challenges when it comes to healthcare records is the probability of manipulation. With blockchain, all the data is entered into a ledger – which is hard to manipulate without validation from other users in the chain. Blockchain technology can also be used to monitor the entire medical supply chain cycle. Contracts can be approved for successfully completing the cycle.
Blockchain comes in all manner of shades, and the health sector will need to adequately do their research before settling on one. There is public, private, hybrid, distributed centralized and decentralized. Ethereum whose basis is smart contracts could be an attractive option for the health sector. With blockchain, the users can agree whenever a contract is entered into the system.
Healthcare is very sensitive. Getting the wrong diagnosis can be a matter of life and death. Many people can attest to there being a mix up when it comes to prescription medications. With blockchain technology, health practitioners are able to create smart contracts along the drug supply chain. They can also share crucial information with each other. Data security will eliminate fraud and manipulation which will lead to a better diagnosis. Shared data also helps doctors access a client’s medical records from multiple hospitals if it is in a central ledger.