We have seen massive changes in the whole healthcare sector. From its earlier stress on the supply-driven model, now the healthcare focus shifted to a demand-driven model thanks to overwhelming healthcare demands, more accessibility to modern healthcare and innovative data-centric technologies allowing real-time access to medical professionals. But the healthcare sector experienced the biggest transformation only in recent years, thanks to Blockchain and Big Data.
In this respect, it is important to understand the dynamics of the modern healthcare sector and how Blockchain as a technology delivers a perfect solution to offer more value through decentralised data management. While in financial sector Blockchain contributed to the faster accessibility of data resulting in better decision making and predictability, in healthcare sector the promise of Blockchain lies in providing better healthcare more promptly thanks to faster access to patient data.
But apart from the value addition in terms of making relevant data accessible for more informed decision making, Blockchain has also emerged the ultimate technology for preventing data tampering, unauthorised access and other security vulnerabilities. With a “Write Once, Never Change, Never Delete” protocol Blockchain technology literally made it impossible to tamper, change or delete any data once it is registered.
The Headline Statistics
Recently, a statistics on the use and market size of Blockchain technology in healthcare grabbed the attention of many tech thinkers and publications. It is concerning the rapid growth of Blockchain in the whole healthcare sector that has finally has been measured in the definitive terms.
According to the recent report, the Blockchain in the healthcare sector is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 72.8%. This growth will push the market size of Blockchain in healthcare at a whopping USD 53.9 million at the end of this year. Indications are already ripe and mature enough to confirm this growth rate. The transparency of data and invulnerability of the distributed data system are two key strength areas that continued to push for growth.
Let us now enquire about the crucial healthcare-specific factors that are continuing to push the growth of Blockchain technology.
What is Blockchain? How Does It Work?
Though Blockchain already took the entire world by storm, many don’t have any idea of how this technology really can affect their lives and what are the promises it has in store. The blockchain is basically a distributed ledger system to keep data stored in blocks secured by cryptographic code. Apart from securing the saved data with cryptographic code, Blockchain also optimises data security by following a “Write Once, Never Change or Delete” protocol which means you can always add new information to the database but just cannot change, delete or tweak the data once saved in the database.
Blockchain technology basically works on a few key principles. These principles rule and dominate the way Blockchain saves data and make data accessible through a decentralised database. Let us have a look at the key principles that make the working of Blockchain possible.
- Cryptographic key : Blockchain uses the cryptographic key that must be decrypted through an algorithm to access the data saved in a block. The algorithm remains open while the key remains secret. A secure digital identity is created while the transactions can be accessed through an open network.
- Distributed ledger: Blockchain is also a distributed ledger system containing shared records or data. Though the accessibility is subject to the decryption of the cryptographic key, the database remains open and no central authority remains accountable for it. The participants in the network can update data and make value additions in real time and the changes are reflected in real time.
-> Medical Facilities Now Need Complete And Detailed Patient Data
With the whole of healthcare system all over the globe experiencing a steady turnaround towards holistic health science than the traditional curative procedures, the practitioners, caregivers and researchers are now more focused to study complete patient data rather than fragmented information concerning symptoms and effects. Moreover, thanks to mobile apps and sophisticated real-time technologies the healthcare professionals now also can access patient data faster and it allows them to make more informed decisions about diagnosis and treatment. Naturally, the whole healthcare sector is geared towards collecting complete patient data with minute details for better and well-informed decision making.
Normally, the patient data remains restricted to a medical facility and when the same patient is attended by another medical facility, the practitioners need to examine and collect fresh information causing more cost and drainage of efforts. Blockchain making it possible for healthcare systems to store patient data for allowing access to different practices at different points and for different treatment needs can actually make diagnosis and healthcare decision making more well-informed and smooth.
-> Blockchain To Ensure Optimum Data Accuracy
Healthcare facilities spend millions every year on medical supplies and a considerable portion of this spending suffers from lack of compliance and resulting lack of patient satisfaction. This often remains unchecked due to the inaccuracy of healthcare data across medical establishments. Obviously, the much-awaited solution to this issue is the comprehensive directory containing all provider data. The decentralised database powered by Blockchain can deliver an effective solution to maintain such a robust database of providers. Blockchain technology based on cryptographic cross-verification and evaluation of data really makes it impossible to tweak and tamper the original provider data.
The accurate patient data accessible across medical facilities can ease out the claim processing to a great extent. The patient data being stored in decentralised databases can allow medical practitioners and facilities to stay in sync. This will help not just in faster claim processing but also in proper validation of the medical claims. Moreover, thanks to the shared and decentralised database offering open access to all stakeholders, no provider will enjoy an undue competitive advantage over others. If data is the power, it would remain accessible to all. In this respect, Blockchain will offer providers and suppliers a level playing field.
The last but not the least important thing about Blockchain in the healthcare sector is that it can totally clear the complexities of the healthcare system. With a completely tamper-proof and secure distributed database management system Blockchain will unleash the power of data for improving healthcare with many value additions.
-> Deciphering The Power Of Blockchain
The blockchain is no longer just a new technology pushing data-centric innovations. It has now emerged as the most reliable technology with unmatched expectations to make sense of data for various business niches. Though initially the promise of Blockchain was conceived mainly in the finance sector and for transactions, it quickly emerged as the invincible database solution for multiple industries including healthcare, retail, supply chain and several others. As a data-centric niche, healthcare stands as one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Blockchain technology.
Healthcare is one of those sectors in which data plays a massive role to push growth and satisfaction. But the volume of data is so massive in healthcare that it can only match finance and banking in the scale of data. This is why the distributed ledger system of Blockchain with its unmatched security attributes and unhindered accessibility look so befitting for the entire sector.