Modeling the health care ecosystem with Blockchain

Blockchain has become a hot topic of discussion these days as it has made its way into a number of areas. From the banking sector, to finance, to the infrastructure, the blockchain has penetrated into every sector of work. Health care is another realm that has encountered a growing demand for technology. The collaboration between health care and blockchain has led to interoperability that changes the conventional way of sharing a patient's health data among the value chain entities.

Before delving into the way health care is fueled by the blockchain, here is a brief introduction to the concept

Blockchain technology consists of three main components:

  • Distributed Network
  • Digital Transactions
  • And stored log

In a distributed network of computers, a group of members or users can share their data electronically. Sharing is basically classified as peer-to-peer transactions structured in a block that contains cryptographic hashes. This digital information is shared on a memorized ledger that is open to all members of the network. Despite being open and public, data is protected.

The process seems simple, right? But the main problem is that these shared records and transactions books can not be deleted or changed without the consent of the other colleagues in the network. When a peer sends information to another peer on the network, it is validated by each member of the group. Only the approved transaction is added to the existing transaction record.

How Blockchain Powers Healthcare

The implications of blockchain in the health sector are widespread. Since there are several departments dealing with different health treatments within an integrated practice unit (IPU) such as dieticians, obstetrics, etc., it becomes difficult to have access to all information when necessary. To overcome these shortcomings, blockchain technology facilitates interoperability by sharing data from different clinicians. It has the power to connect all fragmented systems regardless of location and geographies to generate faster and better results. For example, patients undergoing treatment for similar chronic conditions such as chronic gastritis can be identified and grouped. This identified group can share test results, blood group and other clinical trials on the distributed network. With this shared access to patient data, the doctor can determine the best treatment plans. Since blockchain offers the application of smart contracts, the possible treatments are shared through distributed networks.

On the other hand, the use of a private blockchain can allow monitoring of the accuracy of changes such as new diagnoses and results. Several sharing parameters can be set to limit access to patient health data. For example, you may want to share your blood group on the chain, but not the results of your HIV.

Why Blockchain is the solution

For patients, database security and confidentiality are essential. However, because the data is tangible, it can be accessed in bytes and bits that sometimes compromise its authenticity. Data available on a computer can be optimized because any administrator with access to the network or files can modify or corrupt it. With blockchain these shortcomings are eliminated. The biggest catch of blockchain is that a central administrator is missing. Users have full access and control over their data.

Access to sensitive patient data is simplified with blockchain because it eliminates the possibility of duplication of data, committing errors and other discrepancies that may occur with traditional data storage.

Another advantage is that it allows the use of intelligent contract applications that allow medical professionals to enter into a treatment contract with patients directly on the network, thus reducing the potential for problems arising from intermediaries. Furthermore, the number of tests and unnecessary clinical trials is significantly reduced because the result of the test that was previously performed by a clinic can be shared across the network to other professionals.

How Blockchain Adapts to Health Care

The Blockchain application will improve the health care ecosystem as a whole. This is mainly through the elimination of third parties and intermediaries. Furthermore, several challenges that industry faces, such as fragmented data, security, among others, are simplified. In addition, authentication checks on shared transactions reduce the risk of data theft and other digital fraud.

Below is a table that gives an overview of how the blockchain will complement the healthcare industry.

Challenges faced by the health industry How Blockchain fits
  • Huge piles of fragmented data in digital or paper format
  • Shared storage not centralized through the computer network [19659005] Patient data can be shared between nodes
  • Access to fragmented data [19659023] Secure access to patient health data distributed via shared books distributed over the network.
  • Real-time access to updated patient health data
  • Interoperability of systems
  • A decentralized network that is connected and can be managed across geographical areas.
  • There is no central information administrator with blockchain and therefore can not be damaged. In addition, digital identity protects patient privacy
  • Access to patient-generated data
  • Data generated via the Internet of Things (IoT) or medical devices at home can also be shared on distributed ledger [19659024] Chronological data access
  • With blockchain, data shared on the distributed network is stored chronologically, eliminating the need to mix files
  • Delete third-party intermediaries and applications

Conclusions

Considering the complexity of the health sector, the use of blockchain will have huge benefits. Looking at its enormous potential, blockchain will be the next big innovation that will transform the industry. It will revolutionize the way health data is stored and shared. At the moment, adoption is slow, but a broader adoption will be adopted in the next decade. To realize the full potential, healthcare professionals must understand its implications for the sector.

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