How Blockchain Will Change the Way We Live
Blockchain is the technology of the future and like all such technology, its impact cannot be understated.
Blockchain is on the verge of revolutionizing the way information is stored, accessed and shared. This shift can have a tremendous impact on healthcare delivery and even directly on our health. As you may already know, blockchains are basically a chain of blocks, with each block representing information in the form of a record, transaction, etc which are linked together permanently and securely through the means of very strong encryption or cryptography. Quite similarly to how the internet has infiltrated virtually every facet of human life making almost all devices and tools “smart” so is blockchain also poised to make the same impact. The applications of blockchain are essentially limitless and the medical field is not an exception. Here are a few ways in which blockchain technology can positively impact the health sector in general and our health in particular.
Brad Bulent Yasar is an expert in blockchain technology. He’s a co-founder and Managing Partner of Krowd Mentor, an investment and advisory firm that focuses on grooming entrepreneurs and also entering the blockchain market. He will be sharing how he thinks blockchain will affect our lives, especially as it pertains to our health now and in the near future.
Reduced costs: Blockchain can make an impact in reducing costs by eliminating the expensive structures that serve no purpose other than verifying and securing the integrity and privacy of data. A lot of companies solely exist to sell private information that they have gathered through various means to others. With blockchain, the members of the blockchain will all have information at their fingertips ready to be used without cost or without a central authority demanding a fee in return. Brad says, “The improvement in our lives and benefits could start with the elimination of costly middlemen and middleware structures that make living healthy so expensive these days.”
Improved health monitoring devices: Even the devices we use can benefit from blockchain technology as they can communicate with databases and update them with new information ready to be drawn upon on demand. Brad believes: “As more data from our wearable devices as well as medical history is available for all our healthcare professionals and more anonymous data is available for research, we can potentially have a blockchain revolution in health and wellness where we receive better care for cheaper because technological improvements based on the blockchain.”
Better security of information: Blockchain technology has security features intrinsically inbuilt rendering the need for robust databases of password information obsolete. The owners of the information on the blockchain can maintain their anonymity and also the integrity of their own information since all members of the blockchain are notified of all and any new inclusion to it.
Information gathering and Research: This way a lot of information can be accessed anonymously and greatly improved the veracity and accuracy of health studies without the need for test subjects and volunteers. With the vast databases available to researchers, efforts in the mapping of symptoms will be easier and also in the quest for understanding the mechanisms of some tough ailments. The most important commodity in research is data and this can be easily and readily available if the health sector embraces blockchain. “Eventually, the potential anonymous data points that can be created for research purposes can speed up our understanding of particular health problems and our ability to find a cure for them,” Brad says.
Faster processing times: The bureaucratic delays caused by multiple levels of checks and balances can be drastically reduced through blockchain. Blockchain technology works similarly like peer to peer file sharing meaning this information is not hidden behind several walls of code and third parties. According to Brad, “By allowing us to securely store all our health-related information and only share it with necessary parties on demand, blockchain can speed up HRS (Health Record Systems) and allow new designs for future HRS.”
This list is by no means exhaustive. Companies will think of creative ways to apply blockchain and make it more useful to the consumers. Blockchain technology can be adopted in so many ways and woven into so many other information based technologies that the sky is really the limit. There are still challenges to this technology, for example where will all this data be stored since no one single server exists and nobody is responsible for. Also, the immutability of blockchain information may not necessarily be an asset in the case of differences in opinions in a blockchain of trusted peers. There are many projects working round the clock to tweak out all the challenges of blockchain or create their own blockchain with specific attributes and workarounds. One thing is clear though: blockchain is here to stay and it bears gifts.