How Blockchain Can Improve the Healthcare Industry
Our recent class dove into the concept of Blockchain as a distributed ledger technology (DLT) and how it improves a numerous variety of markets. Initially, I found myself very confused by the concept itself and also the application of it to other industries, so I believe this post can help as an example to define what Blockchain is and how it expands to other markets and industries. Here is a case for using Blockchain in the Healthcare Industry:
So what exactly is Blockchain? Basically, it’s defined to be a system of recording information using a “digital ledger” that is distributed and duplicated across multiple computer systems. Within each chain are blocks that contain a number of transactions, and every time a new transaction occurs- that transaction is added to every participant’s ledger.
The benefits of Blockchain is that it enhances security, creates greater transparency for customers, is instantly traceable, increases efficiency and speed and introduces automation within each process. You might think of a number of industries that could use a boost in security or efficiency- or even companies that you think could benefit from the basic concept of automation. Personally, I think that Healthcare is one of the biggest industries of all that could use all of these benefits.
Enhanced security and transparency for customers within the healthcare industry are self-explanatory benefits- I find that oftentimes the healthcare industry within America is predatory and not as pure and straightforward as it should be. (That being said, the industry would probably find loopholes around avoiding transparency for things like itemized billing for hospitalization.)
This is a fairly idealistic view of implementing Blockchain across the entire healthcare industry (and it’s practically impossible to implement across the world because of how healthcare as a concept works in different countries). However, I believe that in the event Blockchain could be implemented across the world it would greatly improve the livelihood of many people who suffer from numerous diseases. Namely, if organ donors were globally registered within the digital ledger- it would make it that much easier to find donors for those in need of certain organs for surgery- easier to find rare blood types of those who share similarly rare symptoms. Health research could boost exponentially if hospitals were willing to share research information and experiences with one another. Those who visit other countries and are injured during their stay wouldn’t struggle to find proper health care, since doctors could access your medical records easily within the global digital ledger- which would prevent the chances of using medicines that the patient is allergic to and would take extra care to make sure they got the best care they needed.
Automation tied to insurance processes would also greatly expedite the process of monetary transactions, making doctor and hospital visits that much more efficient and in the process cut costs. The digital ledger would include notes on unique surgeries and dental records, which I think would lead to great improvements towards helping identify bodies in cold criminal cases. There are numerous benefits that could stem from implementing Blockchain in healthcare globally (and honestly, a lot of these would benefit even if only implemented nationally). Whether or not it’s possible or if it would ever even be considered is an entirely different case- and it would be extremely costly to implement. That being said, the healthcare industry (at least in America) makes massive amounts of money each year- I think it’s high time they took steps towards improving the industry and making digital moves.
Krawiec, R. J., & White, M. (2018, September 3). Blockchain: Opportunities for Health Care: Deloitte us. Deloitte United States. Retrieved November 8, 2021, from https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/public-sector/articles/blockchain-opportunities-for-health-care.html.
Daley, S. (2021, July 30). How using blockchain in healthcare is reviving the industry’s capabilities. Built In. Retrieved November 8, 2021, from https://builtin.com/blockchain/blockchain-healthcare-applications-companies.
Thomas, L. (2021, January 19). Blockchain applications in Healthcare. Blockchain Applications in Healthcare. Retrieved November 8, 2021, from https://www.news-medical.net/health/Blockchain-Applications-in-Healthcare.aspx.
Thompson, J. (2021, June 1). 5 ways blockchain can transform healthcare. ReferralMD. Retrieved November 8, 2021, from https://getreferralmd.com/2018/10/5-ways-blockchain-can-transform-healthcare/.