New Frontiers in Crypto – Healthcare and the Blockchain
Crypto has been investigated by even the mildly curious in the last couple of years. Cryptocurrency is definitely the most common, widespread, and direct application of blockchain technology. The race to diversify applications into new sectors is starting to pick up pace.
Blockchain technology has had tremendous success in disrupting things in the financial sector. The introduction of popular currencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and many others are clear evidence of the potential.
Markets and experts are fast recognising that this is not the end of blockchain technology. We are just in the beginning of an era, the start of Industrial Revolution 4.0. Blockchain technology is projected to have massive impact on other fields such as real estate, supply chain management, government services, music industry, voting and democracy, and particularly in the healthcare sector.
There are interesting advancements in the application of blockchain to the healthcare sector. Hyperledger, a technology firm from the Linux Foundation, has been particularly keen on developing blockchain frameworks to help better the healthcare sector.
With their release of Sawtooth 1.0 – a production ready blockchain framework - they have been able to add some incredible functionalities within the industry such as:
The advanced transaction execution engine
- Allows you to successfully process parallel instructions which accelerates block creation and validation.
- Comes with a wide range of computer language support, ensuring that execution of programs is simplified and adaptable.
- Supports Ethereum payments
It’s isn’t clear exactly how this innovation is going to disrupt the healthcare sector at this point, but it looks promising.
The fundamental goal of this framework (Sawtooth 1.0), is to make the exchange of healthcare data, both within and outside of an organisation, much more efficient, faster, and more secure. It is able to provide failsafe data transfer, since human error such as bad handwriting and losing pieces of paper are taken out of the process. This is turn translates to a more reliable revenue management system.
Those analysing the markets also believe that blockchain technology can be directly applied in the healthcare sector to help give insights into a patient’s entire healthcare history. This is practically achievable because of blockchain’s character of immutability.
It is a positive breakthrough that will ensure that every patient receives a more personalised care plan. The actualisation of this possible application is a major priority for the Change Healthcare team.
Since the idea of blockchain is still relatively new in most fields, very few ideas have been made reality across the different sectors. Most industries are still figuring out how to incorporate this revolutionary technology to get ahead of each other.
Into the Future
The healthcare sector has had some amazing ideas on how blockchain technology could turn out to be beneficial. Ideas are abound in the field, the areas that are showing promise in their development include
Correcting longitudinal patient records
Managing patient records is a huge challenge in the healthcare sector. Blockchain technology can ensure single, longitudinal patient records are kept and are easily accessible across sites, eliminating the risk of a mix up. These records can include lab reports, previous prescriptions, disease registry, and inpatient data. These data could help tailor better ways of providing care.
Supply chain management
Blockchain essentially work on a validation-based exchange model. This is instrumental in the management and monitoring of contracts. Supply and demand cycles can be simplified a great deal using blockchain technology, eliminating the possibilities of drug shortages due to inventory mismanagement.
All in all, blockchain technology is a kid that is still being nurtured at the teat. It has the potential to be tweaked and adapted to suit various needs. Most sectors are still in the early stages of mastering this phase.
But for sure, it is a technology with infinite applications. With the success of its application, the world will have realised a significant improvement in efficiency, integrity, and security.