Blockchain technology has gained considerable attention in numerous applications such as financial services, cybersecurity applications, Internet of Things (IoT), network data management. Now its range of applications is beyond the financial services as healthcare industry has also adopted blockchain technology in its various subdomains such as Electronic Health Records (EHR), medical supply chain management system, genomic market, neuroscience technology, clinical research, and pharmaceutical medicine.
Enthralled by its potential benefits, the healthcare industry globally seems to be embracing blockchain. Last year, Alibaba partnered with the city of Changzhou, China to launch the country’s first application of blockchain technology in the healthcare sector. Additionally, IBM Watson signed a 2-year agreement with the US FDA to explore the use of blockchain technologies to securely share patient data.
The biggest challenge supply chains face today is the oceans of digital data but only islands of useful information. This is not a new problem, and companies using systems like electronic data interchange (EDI) and XML messaging try to maintain information continuity across system and enterprise boundaries. But point-to-point messaging systems have their own issues, as they are often out of sync and move data only one stop down the supply chain.
The result is inventory that seems to be in two places at once. These systems were created for an era of big, vertically integrated companies with large, but mostly static supply chains. They were very relevant 30 years ago, but not so much today.
Blockchain could facilitate nationwide interoperability of electronic health records, which would allow providers access to patients’ medical histories, current medications, and prior imaging studies.
Blockchain can verify every transaction among drug manufacturers, wholesalers, pharmacists and patients, as well as secure drug supply, which could reduce counterfeit drugs.
Blockchain can facilitate new drug development by making patient results more widely accessible.
Blockchain can create rule-based protocols where contracts are executed when conditions are met ensuring correct payment to providers.
Blockchain technology can transform the healthcare industry’s IT infrastructure from centralized & isolated systems to distributed, decentralized and global systems eliminating costly administrative inefficiencies.
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