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Blockchain in Healthcare: A New Era of Digital Data and Value Distribution

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The idea of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology was originally released to the world in 2009, almost an entire decade ago. In under ten years, Bitcoin was able to become an incredibly powerful and popular digital currency. Today, it’s not only about the “cryptocurrency” anymore – the underlying technology, known as blockchain, offers a much more flexible solution than just a currency that allows for transactions to be executed online.

Blockchain technology has allowed companies to start developing applications that take advantage of peer-to-peer data distribution and offer better versatility and security over existing database systems. Even companies in the healthcare sector have identified the potential role that blockchain application can play in their facilities, boosting efficiency, improving security, easing transactions, engaging patients and improving other aspects essential to their success.

Blockchain in the Healthcare Sector

The use of blockchain holds a significant number of benefits for the healthcare sector. Not only can this technology help dispensing centers and pharmacies keep better track of their inventory, as well as keep track of the dispensing of medication to patients, but the technology also makes the sharing of patient files between physicians, specialists, subspecialists and even surgeons faster and more convenient. A survey by IBM revealed that as much as 16% of healthcare executives are planning to integrate blockchain technology into their facility and operations within the next year.

Both patients and healthcare facilities stand to benefit from blockchain applications. The decentralized distribution of data allows multiple physicians to study patient files simultaneously, while also allowing the patient to keep a close eye on their current health status. Through blockchain technology, confusion can easily be avoided, and security features can be significantly enhanced when compared to how data is currently stored and shared.

Today, many healthcare facilities also still rely on outdated systems that keep local records of patient files – this can make an accurate diagnosis more difficult, as well as call for additional tests to be performed by physicians. Eventually, this causes a considerable increase in the cost of maintaining a patient-oriented business.

Blockchain technology is helping physicians instantly share patient data with specialists, providing for a more effective way of communicating and ensuring a more accurate diagnosis is made.

This technology is used in different categories within the healthcare system. An excellent example is how DentaCoin has created a revolutionary system through the utilization of blockchain technology. The company has officially announced their own type of cryptocurrency (already accepted as a means of payment by dental clinics, laboratories, suppliers in 16 countries), as well as created several blockchain-based applications that will make dental care more effective for patients and more streamlined than before for dentists and suppliers.

How Blockchain is Already Changing Healthcare

Many companies in the healthcare industry have already turned to blockchain to help them succeed in the modern day. Some other excellent examples of how blockchain is already changing the healthcare sector:

– Patientory enables patients to keep track of their health, while also enabling physicians and specialists to quickly gain access to a complete medical record of their patients.

– Medicalchain is making the sharing of medical and health records between different physicians easier than ever before.

– Dentacoin is shifting the paradigm from expensive “sick care” to affordable patient-centric preventive dental care through an innovative insurance-like model, numerous blockchain-based applications for patients, dentists, suppliers and an industry-specific cryptocurrency used as a means of payment between all market participants.

– Blockpharma is helping the world become a safer place by offering vital details on the validity of pharmaceutical drugs, including whether there is a chance that a specific drug may be counterfeit.

– Guardtime is increasing the security and confidentiality of patient files through advanced blockchain features.
Conclusion

Blockchain technology does not only offer an effective way of managing finances and executing multi-country financial transactions today but also enables companies to build decentralized applications to boost their efficiency. The healthcare industry stands to benefit greatly with the integration of blockchain into their models, stepping into a new era of digital data and value distribution.

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Photo: Flickr

References
1 Julia Finch. From Silk Road to ATMs: the history of bitcoin. The Guardian. 14 September 2017.
2 U. Sharma. Blockchain in healthcare: Patient benefits and more. IBM Unleashed: IBM Blockchain Blog. 30 October 2017.
3 Dentacoin Partner Network: See Where You Can Pay with DCN.
4 Top 12 Companies Bringing Blockchain To Healthcare. The Medical Futurist.

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