Blockchain in Healthcare

How Blockchain can benefit India’s public healthcare

The technology is set to equip the highly data-driven industry with a more advanced Health Information Exchange (HIE) model that could genuinely transform electronic medical records.

Blockchain possesses the potential to revolutionize the Indian healthcare industry by placing the patient at the center of the ecosystem, amplifying interoperability, privacy, and security of health data. The technology is set to equip the highly data-driven industry with a more advanced Health Information Exchange (HIE) model that could genuinely transform electronic medical records, making them significantly more secure, efficient, and disintermediated.

This progressive domain is a lodestone for investment opportunities, experimentation, and conceptual analysis. Despite not being the sole antidote to the obstacles plaguing the Indian healthcare system, a widespread blockchain arrangement for electronic medical records could maximize efficiencies and reinforce better health-related outcomes for patients in the long term. To truly appreciate its potential benefits, it is essential to understand its operation and application in various sectors in the diverse industry.

Ledger System:

By utilizing the Blockchain’s signature ledger mechanism, records can be shared among several parties with complete trust because of its immutable nature. Whether insurance companies, medical institutions, or government agencies, diverse data types can be linked together via Blockchain, allowing real-time updates and complete transparency.

This reduces the risk of patient records being breached and improves the efficiency of data sharing within the healthcare industry.

SecurePatient Records:

According to a 2020 survey, approximately 43 percent of health data in the U.S was compromised over the last decade. However, these numbers have come down drastically, primarily due to the efforts of dynamic Blockchain solutions providers, who have successfully implemented a series of systems to secure patient records while making them accessible within seconds, allowing patient data to be shared across multiple levels with complete confidentiality.

For instance, over the last couple of years, Seracle has been working alongside a panel of San Francisco-based healthcare scientists to aid biotechnology frontrunners like Valis Bioscience with their data storage and security requirements, eventually assisting them in achieving the organisation’s functional and HIPAA compliance-based data security goals.

Accommodation Across Multiple Sectors:

Blockchain can act as a bridging mechanism between the major healthcare sectors like hospitals, laboratories, and pharmacies, allowing data sharing amidst an encrypted ecosystem. Diagnostic records, past procedures, current medications, and insurance claims dominate the shared data composition.

Seracle is currently undertaking similar projects, working on blockchain-based applications that allow interoperability between all the participants in the medical industry, such as patients, doctors, pharmaceutical companies, and laboratories.

Assurance of Medical Data Security:

While Pharma companies spend millions of dollars on drug research and development, it is perhaps even more essential to keep their trade secrets under wraps. Suppose such stockpiles of precious data were to be diverted towards their competitors in the form of leaks; in that case, pharma players could risk losing significant chunks of market share within a relatively short period.

Blockchain-based systems usually store medical data in an unreadable format across distributed servers and then disperse them into smaller bits using encryption, ensuring that no party can decrypt, edit, or share those records unilaterally across various channels.

Time Efficiency:

If patient records are stored entirely on a blockchain-based server, locating and accessing previous records of a patient will be considerably quicker. Unlike traditional data applications that require complex algorithms and lengthy coding, Blockchain runs with the help of pre-coded logic that permits facile verification processes devoid of any significant paperwork. Healthcare institutions are, thus, able to focus on the patient’s requirements and line of treatment without being bogged down by tedious administrative formalities.

Several start-ups across India, spearheaded by Seracle, are working on such applications, hoping to inject promptness and sustainable reliability into India’s healthcare industry.

Worldwide adoption for a reason:

More than a dozen developed and developing countries have proceeded wholeheartedly with integrating Blockchain in their healthcare ecosystems, with the U.S., U.K., and Germany being at the forefront of this revolution. However, NHS’s contribution towards the widespread adoption of the technology cannot be overlooked, considering this includes 7,494 GP practices, 234 NHS foundation trusts, and NHS Trust, and 207 commissioning groups that serve over 1 million patients every 36 hours. 

The data in healthcare is perhaps the main asset claimed by the NHS. The rich information trove containing many years of clinical records could assist with opening solutions for even the most intractable diseases. India would be well-advised to take a leaf out of NHS and adopt a few of their most successful practices, thereby ensuring 1.3 billion Indians a safer, reliable, and constant-improving healthcare system. 

By ShrikantBhalerao, Founder & CEO, Seracle Software

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