Blockchain technology is one of the most crucial and unruly technologies which industries are willing to adopt. The healthcare industry is pretty much interested in the blockchain technology and is soon going to adopt such technology.
How is blockchain going to help the healthcare industry?
Compared to the other industries the blockchain industry is developing very slowly. In today's fast-moving world, the processes followed by the hospitals are old. It has been often stated by researchers that the industry lacks technology. The statement is quite contradictory to the fact that some of the most educated and skilled professionals work in this industry. How can anyone state that the medical world lacks innovation all around the globe? Well, most of the innovations have been done in this industry which in turn has increased the mortality rate and decreased the death rate. The world of medicine provides a new life to humans. If you take a closer look at this industry then you will soon find out that this industry is filled with vertical modernization. When it comes to horizontal modernization then there is a slight delay.
What is the difference between vertical modernization and horizontal modernization?
Vertical modernization focusses on one particular aspect. Whereas horizontal modernization aims at fulfilling the desires of everyone. For example, Penicillin, Polio vaccine, and others help to diagnose a particular illness. This is an example of vertical modernization. On the other hand cloud computing, electricity, and many others can be used in a wide variety of fields. This is a wonderful example of horizontal modernization. Many of the hospitals still prefer using pen and paper to jot down patient's history and other things. This indicates that they are still using vertical modernization and they will take time to adopt horizontal modernization.
How is blockchain a horizontal modernization?
The data recorded in a blockchain remains unchanged and is handled by a network of computers. The computers are not owned by any individual or business firm. All the blocks of data are chained with one another and they protected. The blockchain has gained immense popularity among business houses. This is because the processes followed by the blockchain are decentralized in nature and there is no third party involved. The storage of data is cryptographical in nature. As the blockchain is unchangeable therefore no one has the right or the access to get a hold of the data. The data stored within the blockchain can be stored.
How is blockchain a decentralized process?
Decentralization is transparent in nature. Moreover, it brings in trust in the minds of the users. In the earlier days, humans lived in caves for their survival. None trusted on one another. When a human saw the chances of he or she being killed living in the wild then they learnt to trust one another. Therefore, started living in a community. With time, the trust factor evolved in a variety of ways. The barter system was our first system of exchange. It was not a very complex process. As time progressed business became complex. People began trusting on banks rather than on other individuals. As time moved on banks started failing in their nature of business. The customers started losing faith which ultimately led them to search for an online platform which would take care of financial transactions. The data accumulated inside the blockchain is stored in numerous storage spaces. Several computers operate within the network which holds all the copy of the saved data. If anything is upgraded within a blockchain then every node receives a notification for that.
Interoperability in the healthcare industry
Interoperability is a complex situation in the healthcare industry. Over the years patients as well the authorities are facing a serious complexity when it comes to interoperability. Recognizing patients is a conflicting situation when it comes to interoperability. In addition to this, the information remains blocked due to useless interoperability.
Dissatisfaction with recognizing patients
Since times immemorial there is no absolute guide to recognize patients. International bodies have been working on this for decades now. So the healthcare authorities thought of introducing electronic health records for patients. Such a system in the earlier days has led to ultimate chaos and patients were left ill-treated.
Obstruction in the path of information
Blogging of data has caused chaos in the healthcare industry. When it comes to the healthcare industry it is often said that obstruction in the path of information seems unreasonable. Information is blocked without any valid reasons. Blocking of data can sound reasonable when it comes to exchanging of reports. The main reason behind the blocking of information is something else. Hospitals do not want to lose their count of patient’s. This is the main reason why they do not want to share their patient's details with another hospital even though the patient has been referred to there. On the other hand, researchers have claimed that data blocking by hospitals can be reduced. The entire process of data sharing must be kept transparent so that data transferred can be tracked. A financial incentive is required for hospitals so that they start sharing data among one another.
Public blockchains are very common in nature. Blockchains like Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc are open for all. Moreover, a reward in the form of an incentive is provided to all the participants who take part in. The blocks in these public networks do not have
enough space. Moreover, Bitcoin has only a little more than 1mb space in each block. It isn't enough to carry on with the transactions as well as storing data for the healthcare industry.
Moreover, Bitcoins cannot handle more than 7 to 8 transactions per second. This isn’t enough for the healthcare industry. If transactions in the healthcare industry are taking time then it can kill a person. The consensus mechanism is really important and it is a waste of money for this industry. Lastly, medical institutes hold very crucial data in their system. Why on earth would they want the data to be shared with any third party? Therefore, a public chain sounds impossible for the healthcare industry.
Every kind of user is allowed on a public blockchain. But this is not acceptable when it comes to a private blockchain. A user has to seek permission to gain access within the network. There is a problem with the participation of users. Users are restricted from entering into the network even though they have the capability of going through an agreement. Participants are only allowed if they aren't new to the blockchain ecosystem, their control can be administered and if a user is an entity. Networks can be preserved as soon as any company has entered it. Business firms upon entering into a private blockchain, benefits. This includes confidentiality, boosted up transactions and a secured network.
Cryptographic Hash Functions
Transactions serve as input and processes over a hashing algorithm thereby producing an output which is of an immovable breadth. This process takes place over financial platforms like Bitcoin. Being deterministic means it does not matter how many inputs you have passed through a hash function the output remains the same. It would have been really hard to keep track of the different hashes produced every single time. Pre-Image resistance states that it is really difficult to figure out the input with the help of produced output. Though it is not entirely infeasible the process is annoying and can kill a lot of your time. The snowball effect claims that minor changes being made in the input can result in disastrous changes in the output.
Private chains are always better for the healthcare industry
If there's a hospital then it would never inherit all the data of the patients. The data of the patients would be stored in the networks within the blockchain. The data will remain completely malware-free and protected. Every patient will be given a has ID utilizing which they can be recognized. The blockchain technology can help out the healthcare industry to share their patient’s details to generate incentives within the industry. There would be no unnecessary blocking of the information. Significant questions have risen what if the information within the industry gets blocked? Well, blockchain technology has a solution for this as well. Users have permission to take a thorough look in their network. Blockchain technology is transparent. Individuals have the full access to check whether their transaction is getting passed or not. When anyone tries to tamper the data then the snowball effect comes into effect. There is an exorbitant change in the hash.
How can the healthcare industry benefit by using blockchain technology?
The data stored within the blocks is unchangeable and can be recorded. Patients can now send their crucial medical history to anyone else without the fear of it getting tampered. Every patient details stored within the blocks are completely protected. Patients now have access to check out which hospitals are using their data. Medical institutes can now have full access to the patient’s details stored within the blocks. Patients are rewarded through the reward mechanism for their apt behaviour. For example, patients can receive tokens because they have followed the exact diet chart to stay fit and healthy. Various medical institutes can reward them using tokens as their data have served their purpose of research. Pharmaceutical businesses have to be very careful about their supply chain process. Many drugs which are prohibited from selling without a prescription from the doctor are stolen from the warehouse and sold illegally. The blockchain technology will help such companies in the smooth delivery of the medicines to their destination without it being stolen in the middle of the process. Every process can be tracked with the help of this kind of technology. Many medical institutes carry out research work to ensure whether a particular drug is safe for human consumption or not. Using the blockchain technology a global database must be created so that research information can be used by other research centres as well in the future. Every patient receives insurance from the company by claiming it. Most of the time the claim has been recorded as a fraud claim. With the blockchain technology, the fraud claims can be eradicated.
Though the blockchain technology will help in boosting the healthcare industry not everyone around us supports the authenticity of the technology. John Halamka, a criticizer who is apt with the use of blockchain technology is aware of both the advantages and the disadvantages. He mentions that the blockchain technology is not the right place to accumulate a large number of data. The technology is not even apt with the reasoning. Apart from this, the transactional process is sluggish. Despite all these disadvantages blockchain is a huge space where you can store your data without any tension. There is no chance of it getting tampered. This technology is flexible.
Blockchain technology has a wide number of advantages which are now tried and tested by many industries. If the healthcare industry invests in this technology then it can gain heights. The main thing about this industry is that it doesn't lack money. By the year 2020, there will be a global investment of $8.734 trillion in the healthcare industry. In the first half of the year 2018, the investment in the healthcare industry reached its heights. In the year 2015, $7 trillion was spent on the healthcare industry worldwide. The statistics of investment shows that the industry does not lack money. It can comfortably carry out its research work for technological purposes as well. The future of the healthcare industry would be completely decentralized in process.