Technology has a tendency to advance to gain more and more space in several segments. Currently, one of the best examples is the application of blockchain for the healthcare industry. From patients’ medical records to the sharing of information between different institutions, the distributed ledger can contribute to increased efficiency.
In this article, you will learn how this decentralized database works and can how it can be used for such an important industry. Good reading!
Introducing the blockchain
Some say that nothing has been as innovative in the tech universe since the invention of the internet as the blockchain – and this is no exaggeration, after all, as it can be used to certify documents, register contracts, record the authenticity of documents and intellectual property, and even to improve a voting system, among others.
In short, the blockchain is a new type of data network. In it, blocks are linked and validated, with each block containing transactions that can hold different kinds of information. In practice, it works like a shared ledger, in which only authorized people can register something.
In addition, strong encryption is used to ensure the security of the data registered, and it is validated by consensus, meaning that actors cannot modify it unilaterally, without the approval of the rest of the network.
Blockchain in the healthcare industry
Ideal for the record of authenticity and other utilities, as explained above, blockchain in the healthcare industry comes with certain particularities due to the distinct, sensitive nature of that segment. Here are some practical applications of this technology:
More security for patients’ information
Patient records and medical history can be stored more securely on the blockchain because of its strong encryption and decentralization. The network used for Bitcoin transactions, for example, has been known for almost 10 years and has never been hacked. Thus, the vulnerability of hospitals and clinics, which do not normally have very sophisticated IT capabilities, to malicious attacks is reduced.
Patients can also create a digital identity that works as a “wallet”, storing their history and other relevant medical information. With it, they can control different privacy settings and share specific pieces of data with different doctors and other healthcare professionals. Not only is this system much more practical, keeping all patient information at their fingertips, but it also helps to empower them and enhance their privacy.
Sharing research and results of clinical trials
Also in relation to information security, platforms using this technology are excellent environments for storing and sharing academic research and results of clinical trials, as they are more secure and tamper-proof.
In addition to being more protected, a better system for controlling who has access to the data can be put in place, avoiding leaks of private information and the potential loss of intellectual property rights.
More efficiency for clinics and hospitals
Blockchain technology can be used as a more efficient way to share a patient’s history between different institutions. Currently, they have separate databases, so it becomes difficult to pass on crucial information between them. Imagine, for example, that someone admitted to the emergency room has an allergy that should be reported to the on-call physician in order to avoid a complication. With a database that collects all the relevant data in the same system, such as the blockchain, this becomes possible.
In addition, blockchain in the healthcare industry contributes to numerous processes and assists managers, being an efficient way to reduce the costs associated with information management. It also makes it possible to track medicines to see if they have been falsified or tampered with – its applications, in short, can bring many positive impacts to this field.
Have you enjoyed this content? Are you excited about the applications of this technology beyond the healthcare industry? So keep an eye on our blog!