Blockchain is a decentralized ledger that constitutes the underlying technology of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. While Blockchain is best known for powering bitcoin, it has been identified as disruptive technology platform relevant for various industries and businesses to keep data secure in a distributed, encrypted ledger and control access to that ledger.
When such a database is accessed by any authentic user, it is visible to the whole network, which gives it superior security benefits. Hacking a Blockchain network is almost impossible because to hack one block in the chain, a hacker needs to hack every other block in the chain’s chronology.
The security and encryption features that Blockchain technology offers makes it appealing to the doctors and hospitals since they need secure access to a patient’s entire treatment history. Blockchain can also prove beneficial in streamlining the long supply chain process in medical devices industry.
Let’s discuss two of the multiple use cases of Blockchain Technology for healthcare ecosystem.
1. Streamlining Healthcare Supply Chain via Product Tracking and Validation:
Since many of the devices/ingredients are imported from other countries, pharmaceutical and medical device companies depend upon a global supply chain.
Assurance of provenance of Quality Standard/Active Ingredient: For medical devices and manufacturing companies, patient’s safety and company’s trustworthiness depends on the reliability of active ingredients/compliance with Quality Standards, during the manufacturing process.
Traceability and Validation: Counterfeit drugs and low-quality medical instruments possess a serious threat to both patient’s life and company’s reputation. Assurance that drug/medical device meets the specification and that it has not been comprised during transportation is a boon for the healthcare companies.
Reliable Data: Real-time data helps pharmaceutical and medical device companies to manage their inventories and initiate‘recalls’, which are very difficult to execute in the absence required data.
2. Smart Contracts for awarding Patients Compliance with Health Coins:
A “Health Coin” provides a way to use Smart Contracts to motivate patients to perform certain activities. Since it depends on the patient to meet health goals, an additional incentive can be planned to help patients achieve the goals. The Health Coin can be used for the purpose. Once earned, the health coins can be exchanged to avail various health services.
Current Scenario of Blockchain Adoption by Healthcare Companies
According to IBM report called “Healthcare Rallies for Blockchains…”,healthcare companies seem to be set for adopting Blockchain Technology. In this survey conducted in 16 countries, among 200 healthcare executives, following facts were revealed:
– 16%of the executives said that the experimental phases have come to an end and that their companies are ready to adopt & implement Blockchain solutions. They expect to have a commercial Blockchain solution at scale by 2017, while 56%are likely to implement Blockchains by the end of the decade.
– 70% of likely early adopters believe that Blockchain will help them improve the management of health record data, while 60% anticipate that the technology will help them access new and trusted information securely.
– Approximately 60% anticipate Blockchains will help them access secure information in the new markets that they can trust.
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