There’s a place for Blockchain in the Healthcare environment, whether individual providers are choosing to adopt it or not. With the current health crisis rocking our country, and even our world, sending patients to ICU or bed-ridden and unable to leave their homes to receive care and diagnoses from their medical professionals. No matter the situation, integrating blockchain-based strategies into healthcare operations can assist medical staff with combatting the overwhelming pandemic crisis, one step at a time.
Blockchain has many effective uses in a number of different vertical markets, but the Healthcare segment is definitely an area that can greatly benefit. Security within health systems is more paramount than ever before. Patient data is more valuable than credit card information and thus health systems are at risk on a daily basis. Blockchain can provide a much-needed encrypted ledger to secure patient sensitive data across multiple health networks and make it even more difficult for hacking to occur.
Securing Patients, Record by Record
Obviously managing security is a major issue for any workplace environment, but especially under the light of those who are administering basic health principles and treatment plans to better the lives of their patients. From 2009-2017, 176 million patient records were compromised due to exposed data breaches. Credit card information and personal information from test results was stolen. With blockchain, healthcare organizations can unlock a whole realm of potential, from establishing decentralized platforms for doctors and patients to communicate, to the ability to track and trace transactions and PPE equipment. The opportunities are endless.
Blockchain works to streamline care communications quickly and efficiently, cutting out costly clerical mistakes in the long run. Miscommunication errors alone can cost healthcare providers billions of dollars every year and that includes spelling, birth date, and genetic factor mistakes. Blockchain, too, can lead the way towards faster diagnoses and personalized care plans for patients, following testing and follow-up appointments.
Addressing the way our prescription drugs get delivered directly to our hands, blockchain virtually guarantees full transparency in the shipping process. Ledgers are created to record data during every step of the way, including who handled it, where it’s been, up until the point it reaches the consumer. This way pharmaceutical companies can monitor overall labor costs and cut back on waste emissions, potentially.
Managing PPE Everywhere
Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) has always shown beneficial use to medical staff members, for they utilize it on a daily workflow basis. At one point, it felt as though we were all thrust into apocalyptic times what with the lack of toilet paper stocked in grocery stores, but also thanks to the lack of federal funding, medical staff didn’t have access to a flowing inventory of PPE. Hospitals have been forced to recycle their disposable, single-use face masks in order to protect those around them.
Blockchain holds the ability to allocate resources and monitor them while they are in usage, just as easily as a retail worker could check to see if there are any size small sweaters left in the stock room, but applied towards masks, respirators, gloves, hand sanitizer, etc., Coming down the pipe from government departments, healthcare administrators can work to track the amount of PPE available for hospitals throughout the state.
Promoting Telemedicine with Blockchain
It seems as though Telemedicine was just a concept back at the beginning of the year, but now it’s really presented itself as a lifesaver. Healthcare could promote Blockchain usage to construct a private network for their Telehealth program, so they could regularly communicate among themselves, spreading messages through the channel effectively. Using privately formulated keys/codes, data can be shared with the appropriately trusted user so they can stay in the know about their chart and be aware of any updates that come down the line.
Additional use cases for blockchain include securing patient consent details for a surgical procedure and the ability to optimize inventory and supply chain operations to ensure the integrity of the manufacturing and distribution process of medical equipment and pharmaceuticals. Adoption of this technology is expected to occur at a greater rate this year and beyond. This year has been a massive wake up call to the Healthcare community. Health systems should utilize any piece of valuable technology to ensure the safety of their patients and maximize efficiency within their medical environment, not just now, but moving forward, so they’re better prepared.