A decade ago, did you know of the concept of the blockchain? Look around you now, and you will find this technology, albeit disruptive, invading almost every sphere of our lives. Out of all the industries that blockchain has pervaded into, healthcare is undeniably one of the fastest changing and dynamic industry. But to bring about any changes there are huge costs involved, and this has possibly been the biggest deterrent for developers. Healthcare has therefore been relatively slow in adopting new technologies. But the truth is that the blockchain and enthusiasm centering on it are not going to let this affect their incursions into this industry.
- The biggest principle and advantage for cryptocurrency is that it makes way for individual sovereignty. Since these are decentralized peer-to-peer currencies, there are no centralized institutions needed for facilitating transactions. Earlier, healthcare records could only be stored and preserved by the hospitals or clinics you visited. Because of this centralization, there were huge volumes of data that stayed exposed to hacking. This happened in 2017 when the hacker group called the Dark Overlord managed to steal more than 600,000 patient records and then sold these on Dark Web.
- With cryptocurrency and decentralization making their presence felt there are no longer huge databases restricted to one location; rather these are scattered across multiple machines all over the globe. So, this innovation has made sure that different applications can be used in different regions. The growth of blockchain in this industry also helps to build ICO projects that offer great opportunities to get funds . The ICO is a type of fund raising by selling set amounts of crypto coins to investors on platforms like Bitcoin Gemini.
- Since the blockchain guarantees immutability and transparency, you can get a tamper-proof trail for audits that were hitherto not possible. This helps to eliminate chances of frauds and offers credibility to ones that are genuinely honest. By getting rid of financial institutions, the economically weaker sections can overcome the hurdles which they had to face earlier because of unstable and corrupt centralized firms.
- Citizens in developing countries will no longer need to worry about whether the drugs they are taking are authentic or not. Problems centering on product authenticity had been plaguing the supply-chain industry for many years. And this is a huge concern for products like medicine that can save lives. But the blockchain may actually offer a solution which the world has so long been waiting eagerly for.
- By combining Internet of Things, high-end sensors and blockchain technology, there are companies that are enhancing quality assurances in ways that were unthinkable. Every medicine package now has a unique ID attached to it; the consumers and doctors can scan these using their phones and get a history of its life, like where it was produced, whether it followed proper regulations for storage etc. This kind of superior quality assurance is most beneficial and can prevent both accidental and deliberate harm to people everywhere.
This shows why there is so much hype around blockchain technology and its application in the healthcare world. Platforms like Medicalchain and Medibloc have provided data sovereignty to patients and cryptocurrency has the power to offer financial access to even the poorest.