Medhealth Review

Why Does the Present Healthcare Industry Require Blockchain?

The coronavirus, which almost paralyzed comfortable or anytime access to healthcare due to the need for enforcing physical distance, paved the way for the emergence of certain technologies to the forefront. Blockchain deserves a special mention among these technologies.

The current healthcare industry considers blockchain as a much-needed replacement to the conventional distributed data management approaches. Although many of these technologies have been long-existent, they come with their own set of limitations which may not make them ideal for the specialized needs of the current pandemic-hit industry.

Mostly, the conventional systems are unable to comply with the peer-to-peer sharing of data. Further, many of these systems are highly vulnerable to cybercrimes including hacking.

With its capabilities such as traceability, non-repudiation, and transparency, blockchain can be an ideal replacement for these traditional methods.

Blockchain has numerous applications in contemporary healthcare. It could be enabling safer transfer of medical records, managing the medical supply chain, or enabling researchers to unlock the genetic code.  The blockchain technology is already being leveraged to improve overall tasks, be it safely encrypting patient data or managing the spread of fatal diseases. 

Besides the commonly occurring challenges, the current healthcare industry faces a new set of challenges. The pandemic-affected industry had to overcome entirely different challenges. The need for extending superior healthcare without physical visits to the doctor was apparent. Apparently, telemedicine was the most appropriate option to extend the requisite care without the risk of exposure. 

However, certain challenges started surfacing as telemedicine came into prominence. Keeping crucial medical data safe would be the most important blockchain application at the moment. This is hardly surprising as security is a major concern in the present pandemic-hit healthcare sector. There is no dearth of incidents of patients’ information being exposed to data theft even in the past. However, considering how destructive the coronavirus has been, the possibilities of data breach can’t be ignored. 

Blockchain is a technology that is both transparent and private. Moreover, Blockchain is capable of maintaining a highly decentralized, transparent, and incorruptible log of medical information. This feature enables blockchain to function as an apt technology for security applications. 

It is possible to retain the secrecy of massive amounts of medical information using secure and complex codes when blockchain is applied to the process. 

The decentralized nature of blockchain technology also addresses the never-before need to share large amounts of information quickly and safely. 

The Roadblock

There are several governance, technical and organizational barriers that impact the widespread adoption of blockchain technology in healthcare.

For example, much of the ongoing studies on blockchain focus on the technical aspects of it. It is imperative to conduct in-depth research on actual clinical applications of the technology. The focus of the research should be practical methods to translate basic blockchain technology into clinical utilization.

The urgent need for new methods during the covid-19 times is what fuelled the emergence of blockchain. However, a widespread attempt from the healthcare sector is needed if we have to see blockchain in its entire capacity.  

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