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Blockchain in Healthcare: Benefits for Patients

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Written by
Shivani Tripathi
Published on
September 14, 2022

Blockchain is a shared digital ledger used to store data. It is accessible by multiple people through a shared computer network.

Blockchain technology is being used in various industries across the world and India. It is increasingly used in the healthcare industry for different purposes, from clinical research to medical patents. Using blockchain in the medical sector offers various benefits for patients and healthcare. 

health insurance

How Blockchain Can Benefit Healthcare and Patients? 

Blockchain technology has the potential to improve various facets of the medical system. These benefits include:

  • Better security and accessibility of medical data
  • Prevention of fraud
  • Better tracking of the drug supply chain
  • Improving the process of clinical research and trials
  • Improving the process of insurance claims 

Security and Accessibility of Medical Data

Securing patient data is an integral aspect of healthcare services. Apart from personal medical records, financial and other information is also stored.

Blockchain offers a way to store patient and medical data so it cannot be tampered with. It allows it to be securely accessed by the persons who need to access the data. It also enables multiple stakeholders or concerned parties to view the data and receive updates as and when they are put on the blockchain. 

This helps secure patients' data and protect them from fraud or misuse of their data. It protects their privacy since medical history and medical data are often private. It also allows the patients to easily access their data in one place instead of going through a convoluted procedure to recover their various medical data.  

Prevention of Fraud 

Authenticity and reliability are critical in the medical industry, particularly for verifying the credentials of medical practitioners and staff. It is also important to verify the identity of patients, healthcare providers, or medical institutions (such as an institution that provides a certification).

Blockchain can ensure that a person does not fraudulently claim the identity (commit identity theft) of any of these persons, providers, or institutions. This can also prove useful for prescription history and insurance claims. 

This helps ensure that practitioners and medical staff are competent and qualified for the services they offer and also provides safer and better healthcare for patients. It can improve the credibility of a clinic, hospital, nursing home, or pharmacy and support patient trust in the healthcare they offer. 

Tracking the Drug Supply Chain 

Blockchain technology allows for better tracking of transactions that take place along a supply chain. The different persons and entities involved at various stages can update the transaction and confirm the veracity of information or transactions.

This shared verification ensures better authenticity. Further, this helps prevent counterfeit versions of medications from making their way to the market. It also ensures smoother recording and accessibility, reducing time delays and human errors. 

Moreover, blockchain can help verify that drugs offered on the market are safer and have undergone the necessary testing procedures. It also enables drugs to be made available more efficiently in different locations by coordinating and tracking the chain of supply.

This ensures better availability of drugs, especially life-saving medicines on the market. It helps improve the supply to clinics and pharmacies when the stock of a particular drug runs out. 

Clinical Research and Trials 

health insurance

Clinical research and trials are an integral part of the pharmaceutical industry because they ensure that quality and reliable drugs have been tested. Blockchain can make this process more efficient. 

Clinical trials are not just expensive but full of logistical and administrative challenges. Using blockchain technology can make this process less time-intensive, less costly, and more streamlined. Many resources are wasted on duplications, system glitches, communication errors, inefficiency, and incomplete data. 

Blockchain can be used at different phases of clinical trials, ranging from patient recruitment to data storage and access. It can also enable better data recording and verification as multiple stakeholders can confirm information to create a more reliable time chain. 

This helps improve the reliability and safety of drugs that are tested and approved. Speeding up the process of research and clinical trials brings necessary drugs to the market quicker, reducing the time patients have to wait for life-saving or life-improving drugs to be approved or for more affordable versions to be available.

This is particularly helpful for pandemics or serious diseases, where new research and drugs need to be released as soon as possible. It also helps improve the effectiveness of drugs and the quality of medical research, benefiting patients and healthcare. 

Insurance Claims 

Blockchain can assist with insurance claims processing, where multiple parties are involved, such as the victim, attendant, and family, along with multiple interactions. This can lead to delays in processing or errors in the information. 

By using blockchain, it is possible to make the processing quicker. It ensures that all the parties can access the same information at the same time. This leads to more transparency and accessibility in the insurance claims process.

It also eliminates inconsistencies in data and coordination delays since everyone is updated on what stage the process is at, what they need to do, and when. 

Further, it helps improve the security of the process by preventing fraud through smart contracts that execute automatically when the conditions are met. It can also be used to avoid identity impersonation through the requirement of a digital signature. 

Conclusion

Blockchain has the potential to improve the efficiency and authenticity of various procedures in the healthcare industry - from providing better security and transparency of medical data, enabling better supply chain coordination and availability of necessary drugs on the market, to improving the reliability and speed of clinical trials and research.

Ultimately, blockchain technology can improve the quality of health services, medical processes, drugs, and patient care. Streamlining these different aspects of the healthcare system can transform the experience for patients. 

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