Blockchain in Healthcare – The Advantages and Disadvantage and a Detailed Overview

Even from the start of the times, it is almost impossible to imagine healthcare without the back of technology. However, it might be surprising to state that the evolution of technology in healthcare operations management competes with snail-walk. Healthcare, being one of those industries where experimentation requires more than just the research and development, is slow in adopting new innovations due to the risk involved in new technology adaptation.

Medical care and hospital operations are two wings of healthcare sector. Medical care is treading new horizons in terms of care, increased access to quality medical care and the increased life-span are two examples for this. It’s only the operation front that requires a boost triggered by some disruptive technology. Search no further for blockchain can be that disruptive technology and has the potential to become the future of healthcare.

Blockchain in Healthcare – The Ripple of Innovation

Due to its unique qualities such as decentralization, immutability and transparency, the importance of blockchain in healthcare, as an industry, could not be emphasized further. Reliability, fast transactions, high security makes it a must for healthcare sector to adapt blockchain. It also addresses one of healthcare’s unsolved issues ‘interoperability’.

Interoperability has become an issue that could not be sidelined for healthcare providers. This has in turn made identifying the patients and their issues with time effectiveness and to take advantage of available data. In simple terms, interoperability has made time-sensitive healthcare a fruit that is in front of eyes but could not be eaten for the hungry healthcare management.

What is Blockchain Healthcare?

You might still be wondering how exactly blockchain helps healthcare sector? Here is the answer in simplified terms. Imagine a market sharing place where healthcare institutes share a patient’s information with a unique hash ID on a network that does not belong to any particular institute but transparent, immutable and highly secured in an environment that could not be tampered or copied.

Wondering everything sounds fine but the question is still not answered? It will be in the following pointers. Continue reading!

Benefits of Blockchain in Healthcare

The use of a shared data place that is transparent at the same time could not be copied or tampered comes in handy to establish an environment where healthcare institutes can address various issues both medically and operationally with increased effectiveness. Here are the detailed advantages of blockchain in healthcare industry.

  • Data is the new fuel in this digital-driven society. So far there was a fear of data corruption and tampering and it would be wiped off with blockchain. Patients or hospitals can share their data on this shared platform without the fear of tampering or misuse.

  • Blockchain provides certain control to the patients as in how their medical data is being used and various healthcare institutes that have access to patients’ files can view the information to provide better healthcare experience.

  • The availability of highly secured and reliable patient data makes it easy for the involved healthcare parties to provide better care to their patients. It is for the overall good of the entire healthcare ecosystem.

  • The allied healthcare institutes such as pharma companies gain enormous benefits in the light of blockchain. Pharma products are known to be one of the highest stolen (nearly 200 USD annually) products in the supply chain and it could be prevented to the core with blockchain adaptation.

  • Medical research and clinical trails are extremely strenuous process and time consuming. Unfortunately today’s healthcare scenario requires methods that are unconventional and result-bound. With blockchain in place, healthcare institutes can share their clinical trails conducted on usage of techniques, methods and medications on the single database that has been shared globally.

  • Another worry of healthcare provider is insurance frauds. Every healthcare insurance provider might have come across this frauds committed by dishonest providers and receivers. With blockchain adaptation healthcare insurance frauds could be prevented, thanks to its transparency and tamper-proof qualities.

Disadvantages of Blockchain in Healthcare

As alluring as the benefits may appear, everybody in the healthcare industry is not in favour of blockchain adaptation. And their citation is that blockchain is more of an analytics platform than a platform that is meant to store big data chunks.

In fact, you cannot push this citation aside as there is some truth to it. Again, everything in this world comes with two sides of it. The other side of blockchain is that it’s highly resilient. The adaptation of blockchain in healthcare is still on the papers and on experts minds. Only the implementation of it can introduce us to the actual world of it.

Signs of Blockchain Adaptation in Healthcare

For now, what concrets the healthcare sector’s move towards blockchain is that its successful adaptation (even though it is still in experimentation process in many spaces) by the other industries. Another considerable factor is the amount of funding this phenomenon is getting on a global scale. Brace yourself as the number may catch you if you are off-guard.

  • Digital healthcare startups are already enjoying the walk on the shores of all-time record high fundings.

  • The healthcare startups are also expected to bounce upto 8 trillion by the end of 2020 which is not far away.

In the words of BIS research – a global blockchain in the healthcare market is expected grow at a CAGR of 63.85% from 2018 to 2025, to reach a value of $5.61 billion by 2025. The use of blockchain for healthcare data exchange will contribute the largest market share throughout the forecast period, reaching a value of $1.89 billion by 2025, owing to the use of blockchain to solve the most widespread problem in healthcare information systems related to interoperability and non-standardization that has created data silos in the industry.

Conclusive Note

To conclude, the entire world is watching the subtle waves across all industries and spaces that are caused by blockchain. Even though healthcare is yet to experience these effects, the day when blockchain becoming the center and the future of healthcare is not far away. It has its own drawbacks when it comes to healthcare but the advantages are so strong enough to easily convince the players and overcome any obstacles to provide a quality healthcare that is widespread and could be accessed by everyone and anyone.

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