Blockchain’s Impact in Healthcare II

Blockchain Solutions to existing Problems

Blockchain has the potential to make it easier to put the patient in the center of care, while also making health care more affordable, accessible and efficient for all. The technology’s value stems largely from its inherent qualities as a store of immutable data that permits collaboration with instant, secure information sharing. Because of these qualities, care coordination on a blockchain would result in effectively putting control of health care into the hands of patients and their providers, leading to faster care delivery and improved care outcomes.

The decentralized nature of blockchain means that there is traceability, accountability, and transparency in the storage, and the retrieval of patients’ medical data, simplifying the process of planning and executing the health care experience.

Let’s see in detail how Blockchain will tackle these issues:

Crowdfunding and Funds Management: Blockchain is a technology that both promotes social good and enforces trust due to its transparent nature. The crowdfunding feature of the blockchain will make it possible for easy support of any health project. There are already existing crowdfunding platforms such as GoFundme, Quickraiz, NaijaFunds, Patreon, etc and if one is built solely for health-related causes on the blockchain, it will further help in ensuring that the funds gathered are secured and will not be mismanaged.

Data Security and Management: Blockchain provides a good way to handle patient data management. It provides a structured way to store data that can be accessed by the right professionals. Patients data can be stored on the blockchain and can only be kept accessible to the patient and the doctor who is handling the case. Access can be revoked anytime which ensures that the patient has full authority on his medical reports. That doesn’t mean that not all data is inaccessible. Insensitive data is available publicly which then can be accessed by healthcare organizations or stakeholders through API. This ensures proper collaboration across different systems. Doctors can also request data whenever possible. Patients can also share their data without revealing their identity. This is extremely favorable to the healthcare institutes as they can use the anonymous data to improve their healthcare research and systems. Patients always have control of their data, and they decide who can access the data.

Interoperability: One of the biggest advantages of using blockchain in the healthcare sector is the interoperability that it has to offer. The current health systems uses different types of protocols and standards to ensure that the data can be accessed across hospitals. However, this can lead to complexity when it comes to integrating new systems or platforms. To achieve syncing patient data with multiple, disparate healthcare information systems, while ensuring patient data security and privacy through a distributed framework for managing patient identity, the solution is blockchain. Blockchain can solve all the interoperability issues as it acts as a decentralized database. The data can be accessed thanks to the APIs with a focus on the standard data format. Blockchain can also work seamlessly with the current platforms and protocols that are used to access and store data.

Digitized Supply Chain: Blockchain can solve all these issues by digitizing the supply chain of pharmaceutical products. Currently, the way to check the authenticity of pharmaceutical products is to check for its NAFDAC registration number or send a message to a certain number and expect a response to ascertain originality. These methods can be faked and thus needs to be improved by digitizing the pharmaceutical product’s supply chain on the blockchain thereby improving drug traceability.

Blockchain works by adding transactions to the block. These transactions are immutable and are also timestamped for later verification. So, if the whole supply chain is moved to the blockchain, all of the issues can be fixed. This is a perfect example of the blockchain use case in pharmacy.

All drugs need to be registered on the blockchain before they began circulation. So, if a drug record is not found on the blockchain, it can easily be deemed fake and discarded from the supply chain. This simple method can be used to check the authenticity of the drugs.

These are not just mere speculations, there are already existing startups that are leveraging on emerging technologies such as Blockchain and the internet of things to improve the overall healthcare system. Some of them are DokChain, Patientory, GEM, SAP Pharma Blockchain POC app, Novartis, Chronicled.

In Summary, blockchain has the following benefits to offer the healthcare system:

  • Decentralized Data Management system
  • Effective policy implementation especially in the private sector
  • Verification of medical credentials and health provider directory
  • Supply chain management for all clinical products
  • Equity source for medical projects will be made easy with crowdfunding and investor accessibility
  • Crowdfunding for relief and emergency aid locally and internationally
  • Patient Insurance system
  • Secure storage of medical records accessible to only authorized medical personnel
  • Enhanced medical research platform with permissioned distributed ledger of several patients medical records
  • Full utilization and monitoring of government aids for the health sectors
  • Holistically, it can save excess cost in the entire ecosystem

Also, as a part of the social responsibility to elevate the status of the country especially in the health sector, Jelurida Africa is planning a day training seminar for experts in the healthcare sector cutting across all stakeholders. This seminar will be held on 7th Dec, 2019 with our targeted audience including Doctors, Pharmacists, Dentists, all other health workers and students with a theme; Improving the Nigerian healthcare using technology as a catalyst.

The seminar will explore the major issues on health data management, resource management, drugs production and safety, and medical tourism among others and how the 4IR technology can solve these problems in Nigeria.

A blockchain-based healthcare system will help doctors be more effective at providing care, allow patients to control their data and be proactively involved in the treatment they deserve, and enable both the provider and the patient alike to lead more vibrant, fulfilled lives. Blockchain technology is still in its infant stage with lots of promises for the health sector in the next few years.

Ndukwe Victor Sunday

Written by

… among other things, I Write, Right and Wright

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