Blockchain is state-of-the-art technology. In the past ten years, it has grown steadily in popularity even though it has been around since the 90s. In the healthcare industry, things can become a bit difficult to understand. Numerous issues exist in the healthcare industry.
One of the most significant issues with the healthcare industry is that healthcare expenses rise considerably more rapidly than inflation rates or personal income does.
There is a possibility that Blockchain can help solve this issue. There’s also the possibility that it will aid in decentralising the industry. Decentralised and centralised systems have their advantages, but blockchain can aid in several ways. Blockchain technology will be responsible for great leaps in healthcare advancement in a few years.
According to research done by BIS, worldwide health blockchain revenue is expected to reach $5.61 billion by 2025. Blockchain-based healthcare information exchange will account for most total market revenue.
What exactly is blockchain?
A blockchain is a decentralised database that keeps track of all transactions. There are blocks in the database, each containing the history of the blocks that preceded it. It is often referred to as an infallible public ledger of financial activities that can be configured to record banking transactions and almost everything of significance/value.
This innovative decentralized blockchain technology has the potential to alter the healthcare sector by enhancing the security, confidentiality, and accessibility of health data. It can also increase the efficiency and safety of electronic health records (EHRs), serving as a new paradigm for exchanging health information between different institutions. Satoshi Nakomoto is the pseudonym of the individual or group responsible for creating Bitcoin and the first blockchain database under which transactions are recorded.
How can decentralization help the healthcare industry?
Blockchain includes a wide range of characteristics, including decentralization, security, and immutability. By making medical records more widely available, the blockchain could help to decentralize the healthcare sector. Medical records would be shared more easily and securely using blockchain technology if all medical records were converted. It will be simpler for any medical practitioner to provide faster processing and thus a quicker medical response if the data is decentralized. Insurance companies can compete more effectively if they have access to standardized and decentralized patient medical information.
Medical records administration and insurance claim processing are expensive and time-consuming, and blockchain can help alleviate both problems. There would be fewer hurdles to entry into the insurance and healthcare industries due to improved processes, allowing smaller companies to compete more effectively. As a result of the decentralization enabled by the blockchain, additional forms of coverage can be given, and end-users can have a greater say in their coverage selections, medical data collected, and tracking.
The advantages of Blockchain in the healthcare industry
There are numerous advantages of using blockchain in healthcare, such as:-
I. Significantly reduce costs
Transparency for providers and consumers can be improved by implementing blockchain technology in the healthcare industry. According to the BIS analysis, the healthcare industry may save up to $100 billion each year due to reduced data breaches, I.T costs, operational costs, human costs, and health insurance fraud. Smart contracts will also help automate blockchain transactions to improve data integrity and lower administrative costs. Up to $10 billion in annual savings in health insurance expenses is projected. This way, the blockchain will significantly help lower healthcare costs.
II. Simplifies Claim Processing
Blockchain technology acts as a centralized encrypted public ledger shared across numerous users connected to the internet. Blockchain can help consumers and providers solve payment issues by verifying data automatically. As a result, there are quicker claims. Blockchain removes the need for several verifications and intermediaries. This makes the otherwise complicated process of medical billing a lot simpler. It also has the potential to speed up and secure claim processing and transfer of funds. A system of healthcare records that is currently widely dispersed can be brought together through blockchain.
III. Helps secure the integrity of data
The blockchain is a decentralized network of cryptographic keys that can be used to verify identities and combat fraud. Any modifications made to the data are preserved in an unalterable record that can be inspected to determine what was modified, when, and by whom.
This prevents DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks, identity theft, and data manipulation. As evidence is distributed among many blockchain nodes, it makes it hard for cybercriminals to change data undetected.
IV. Improves the value of healthcare
The current healthcare system is heavily reliant on fees and profits. With the utilization of blockchain, this system can be improved to a more value-based one. Health information exchanges (HIE) could benefit from a more efficient and safe exchange of electronic health records. As a result, patient engagement and a more customer-centric strategy can be improved. By utilizing this technology, it is possible to link disparate healthcare systems and gain new insights into patient care. It is possible to improve prescription accuracy and tamper-proof medical records by using this technology. Improves accessibility to healthcare by promoting travel and medical tourism
International health administration data can benefit from blockchain technology to regulate and decentralize them. Because of this, healthcare systems will be accessible from all over the globe with the aid of the internet, enhancing global interoperability. Several individuals travel abroad for medical treatment every year. To balance off the high expenses of local healthcare, insurance companies seek to use medical tourism as an offset. No matter where a patient is located, blockchain can help them move around the world with their healthcare and preserve ownership of their medical information.
V. Improved Payment Methods
Most times, health workers receiving their payment is a serious, unpleasant, and time-consuming process. It is common practice in the present healthcare system to use third-party monetary transactions to settle payments. On the other hand, this method is cumbersome, prone to hacking, and associated with substantial costs.
With blockchain technology, there’s no need for a third-party service fee. Direct bitcoin transfers to healthcare providers’ wallets are safe, rapid, transparent, and traceable. They do not necessitate the involvement of a third party in the processing or resolution of payment disputes. It is possible to keep the cryptocurrency in your wallet, exchange it for a stable coin, or exchange it for cash after it is received. Even if there are transaction fees, they are often lower than those imposed by a third-party vendor.
Blockchain has the potential to reduce healthcare costs. The blockchain will be used for a wide range of healthcare-related purposes in the future. This will lead to a very efficient healthcare system.
Furthermore, because blockchain transactions are final and cannot be undone, the likelihood of rescinding or fraudulently obtaining payments is considerably reduced.
Source: Devdiscourse, 16 May 2022