The healthcare industry has been drastically changing because of recent and rapid developments in technology-driven innovations, From virtual reality to artificial intelligence it is clear that technology advancements in other industries eventually make their way to healthcare. Blockchain was made extremely popular recently from the cryptocurrency industry so it’s no surprise that blockchain technology is now being integrated into the healthcare scene.
Healthcare startups utilizing blockchain technology are popping up everywhere. These companies are looking to take advantage of the increased security, privacy and tracking capabilities that come with blockchain. This goes to show why most startups are focused on optimizing the electronic healthcare record (EHR) aspect of the industry.
Blockchain Technology With EHR’s
One major problem of using an EHR is the lack of interoperability between different providers EHR systems. Getting patient information passed over from one provider to the next takes a lot of work and data is often inadvertently manipulated. As a result EHRs have been the main culprit for inefficient medical facility processes and incorrect diagnosis throughout the healthcare industry.
All providers need to have access to patients accurate medical information to avoid these drawbacks. Using today’s current EHR systems this would be impossible to do without sacrificing security and patient privacy. Now this is where blockchain can literally become a lifesaver. Blockchain can’t be hacked, corrupted or erased so EHR’s would be 100% private and secure.
Securing Healthcare Data With Blockchain
A little background information on blockchain technology is that the term was initially spelled “block chain” for the two key elements it contains. First one being the “block” which is a secured by cryptography record of a transaction or interaction. This block could be anything from a cryptocurrency transaction to an interaction like recording a medical appointment. The “chain” element contains information on how all of the blocks (transactions, appointments) are linked together.
Healthcare applications that use blockchain will all be compatible because the protocols are universal. Data would look the same for all blockchain systems that access it. People will be owners of their own EHR and could allow hospitals, physicians and insurance safe and secure access. Obviously this record system has not yet been designed but there are already startups making their way towards that goal.
Blockchain Technology in the Healthcare Industry
- Guardtime – This Estonian based company are using blockchain technology to secure networks and digital data. Not only do they store EHRs securely they also secure critical facilities and correct data breaches. They are already protecting the EHR’s of one million patients and are starting to expand into healthcare industries worldwide.
- Medicalchain – This startup focuses on streamlining the exchange of patient’s EHR data between physician and patient. Just like with cryptocurrency using blockchain the patient will have a “wallet” that contains their medical data instead of their cash. Patients can then approve doctors to read and write information to their EHR. This application is extremely helpful during remote medical consultations.
- iSolve – This startup company uses blockchain technology to trace pharmaceutical shipments. Having a super secure drug system can prevent drug leaks and help put a stop to drug abuse. iSolve is connecting all parties involved in dealing medication to create 100% accountability. With their innovation the time is coming where pharmaceuticals would be tracked from drug companies all the until patient ingestion.
Blockchain technology is clearly showing it has a place in healthcare but as expected the market is providing resistance. Healthcare providers are profiting from their already in-place technologies so there is little motivation to adopt new ones.
The future is bright for using blockchain concepts in healthcare and the sky’s the limit as to just how much we could benefit from this technology. While the industry is a little slow to adopting these changes it is just a matter of time that the awesome innovations trump any fears of moving forward.