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What is Blockchain?
Blockchain is defined as a decentralized, distributed and public digital ledger that is used to record transactions across many computers so that any involved record cannot be altered retroactively, without the alteration of all subsequent blocks.
The 'blocks' or records (transactions) are verified and connected to the previous 'block' thus forming a long chain. For easy grasping, a blockchain can be imagined as a huge Google doc file but with one major difference - Anyone can view and add but can't change the information.
The true value of Blockchain lies in the fact that the document cannot be backdated, once stamped.
- Data is added to the blockchain, chronologically.
- Hash is referred to as the relevant encrypted data contained in each block along with the hash of a previous block.
- The type of blockchain being utilized determines the kind of data contained within a block.
What makes Blockchain relevant?
Blockchain solves multiple digital challenges and thus called as a revolutionary invention. Some of the digital challenges are:
- Every transaction made by Blockchain is recorded and verified publicly which makes it Transparent.
- Data written in the blockchain cannot be altered by anyone once it's entered and thus makes it Immutable.
- >Blockchain is made hack proof by storing the data across all the systems instead of a centralized database. This enhances the Security.
- By providing a platform for new businesses to grow and complete with conventional businesses, Blockchain provides Innovation.
Blockchain technology in Healthcare
Blockchain is considered as an effective digital technology fo improving data security in the medical field. According to an article published by the International Journal of Advances in Scientific Research and Engineering, exposing Blockchain technology in healthcare, makes medical records more accurate and cuts the operational costs for managing and storing information.
According to reports by HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) in the month of March 2019, the amount of healthcare data breaches increased by 14% compared to previous few years. This is a serious situation where the medical records of patients are being exposed. The medical information of 912,992 patients has been either stolen or exposed in the month of March 2019.
Some of the application of Blockchain technology in healthcare are as follows:
- Supply chain management
- Integrity of medical records
- Treatment regimen
- Single patient identification
- Settlement of claims
Benefits of Blockchain technology in Healthcare
Blockchain has a wide range of applications and uses in healthcare. The ledger technology facilitates the secure transfer of patient medical records, manages the medicine supply chain and helps healthcare industries to prevent costly mistakes.
- Securing Patient Data
The most popular blockchain healthcare application is to keep the medical data safe and secure. As mentioned earlier, patient record data breaches results in credit card theft and banking information leakage, as well as health and genomic testing records. The incorruptible, decentralized and transparent log of patient data can be secured by Blockchain by keeping it private.
- Prevent Costly Mistakes
The healthcare industry suffers a huge loss due to the miscommunication between medical professionals. The time consuming process of obtaining access to a patient's medical records exhausts staff resources and delays patient care. Blockchain plays an important role in curing these ills by creatig one ecosystem of patient data that can be quickly referenced by doctors, hospitals, pharmacists and anyone else involved in treatment.
- Medical Supply Chain Management
How much do one really know about their medicine? Are you sure it hasn't been tampered with? Is it coming from a legitimate supplier? These questions are the primary concerns of the medical supply chain, or the link between the lab and the marketplace. Blockchain manages pharmaceutical supply chain management by decentralization which guarantees transparency in the shipping process.
The advantages of Blockchain technology in the medical field are:
- Single storage location for all health information
- Personal data tracking in real-time
- Set data access permissions at a granular level.
The events that were planned for the year 2020, such as a series of blockchain Expos with around 26000 attendees and 500+ speakers in London (March), Amsterdam (July), and North America (November) proves that this technology is growing in.
So, all these proofs clearly states that blockchain definitely has a place in the medical dsoftware development which will make the healthcare sector swift and secure than ever.