Imagine if we could share sensitive medical data, make health claims, and transactions, on a blockchain-based healthcare ecosystem. Let me guess, you’ve had this idea for quite some time and have been wondering when someone was going to execute.
Good news: IBM is working on a blockchain network for the healthcare sector, with a consortium of several healthcare industry players.
The Ultimate Case for Blockchain Application?
Will blockchain truly disrupt the healthcare sector, which is plagued by costly errors, inefficiency, bureaucracy, maybe even low administration costs?
Tech Giant, IBM, is part of a consortium of healthcare sector players including; Aetna (which was acquired by the pharmacy and healthcare provider CVS Health), Anthem (the healthcare plan provider), the Health Care Service Corporation (which is the largest customer-owned health insurance provider in the US) and PNC Bank. Collectively, all these players account for approximately 100 million healthcare plans in the US alone.
More members will join the network, including health organizations, healthcare providers, tech firms, and startups. In other words, the race to create the perfect blockchain for the healthcare sector is open.
What are the advantages of blockchain for the healthcare sector?
We could consider the fast progress in the industry through new and efficient technological advancements in record systems, and medical examination systems. Indeed, cryptography seems to be playing an essential part in the way hospitals work. Thus, the improvements that need to be achieved only require blockchain adoption for the healthcare setting today.
First, blockchain technology can preserve and protect medical data authenticity and integrity. Don’t you think it’s time to change the way healthcare providers store data on patients?
This data includes patient health information, electronic health records, data collected by monitoring systems, and medical insurance claims.
Data! Healthcare Data Management.
With blockchain adoption, secure information sharing will allow healthcare providers to verify the accuracy of data. Moreover, blockchain will provide a safer way to protect data than ordinary encryption. How?
Of course, by storing all the data starting from the formation of a new data block and ending with the digits related to a specific transaction. Each user in the network is given a decentralized register of ownership, which also stores a copy of each block. As a result, blockchain adoption would indeed widen the potential use of healthcare data in the healthcare sector.
Above all, healthcare providers will be able to take advantage of blockchain for data traceability, security in clinical trials, and data management.
Competing Blockchain Healthcare Projects
IBM is not the only tech firm leveraging blockchain technology for the healthcare sector. Other names include Change Healthcare, Guardtime, and SimplyVital, among others. Since last year, the two largest health insurers, Humana and United Health Group, are jointly working on a blockchain venture with Quest Diagnostics, Multiplan, and Optum.
Another project, ProCredEx, focuses on storing and sharing the credentials of medical and dental practitioners. PNC bank, too as mentioned above, is getting in on the action. Why wouldn’t they? The financial institution has been very public about its blockchain activities, including incorporating Ripple’s xCurrent payment system.
Bottom line: Soon, we will do away with the friction, duplication, and administration costs that plague the healthcare sector.