How Blockchain Technologies Can Improve Healthcare

Updated on March 29, 2021

We’ve undoubtedly by now heard about the disruptive effect that blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies have had on the world. 

The ability to process vast quantities of information or transactions nearly instantaneously has changed the way we think about financial services. Expensive and time-consuming money transfers have now become a thing of the past.

Now with blockchain tech, huge sums of cash can be effortlessly transferred within just a few seconds from anywhere around the world.

Besides the financial sector, blockchain technology has the potential to disrupt a myriad of other industries. The healthcare industry is one sector which could benefit enormously from the blockchain revolution.

Whilst new developments in medical technology are often on the cutting-edge of science, backroom operations are oftentimes overlooked. Thus leading to costly and sometimes deadly medical errors and lengthy delays.

In this article, we’ll take a look at why blockchain technology should be the next logical step for the medical industry.

1. Better protection for patient data

Medical centres process highly confidential data on a regular basis. Patient records are one example of this. 

If allowed to get into the wrong hands, sensitive medical records can be used to blackmail, intimidate, or even possibly cause harm and injury. 

This is why medical professionals need to take extra steps to safeguard their databases. Even countries as tightly regulated as Singapore are not immune from this as can be seen from the 2018 SingHealth data leak.

Hackers were able to gain access to SingHealth’s IT systems and in turn gain access to the medical records of 1.5 million patients including that of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that hackers had gained access to SingHealth’s databases via an exposed front end workstation.

Blockchain technology could perhaps be the answer to the question of security. The decentralized nature of blockchain storage coupled with various privacy enhancing features makes it next to impossible for hackers to access classified data. 

For example, you can communicate with your patients through one of these blockchain messaging decentralized apps to make sure the confidentiality is never breached:

2. Increased efficiency and improved hospital operations

Hospital visits are at best unpleasant affairs with hours often spent waiting for something to happen. Let’s not get it wrong, this is in no way the fault of the good people working in hospitals and clinics around the world. 

More often than not, delays and extended wait periods are caused by the excess amounts of paperwork that healthcare professionals are forced to fill in.

Oftentimes the record keeping system at hospitals is archaic at best. Thus making it nearly impossible to retrieve patient records efficiently. Consequently, this makes medical errors frighteningly common.

Rather than having staff rely on inefficient databases, blockchain technology allows medical records to be retrieved instantaneously. Blockchain’s decentralized nature means that healthcare experts all over the world can have easy access to crucial data – improving patient care and efficiency.  

3. Tighter supply chain controls

From fragile and expensive equipment to potentially dangerous medications, it’s easy to see why tight supply chain control is essential. Besides safeguarding their assets, medical professionals need to ensure that products supplied are up to spec and fully traceable.

Thanks to its decentralized nature, it is entirely possible to monitor the movement of an item from its point of origin to the destination. Once an entry has been made on the ledger, data of all types is recorded every step of the way.

All of this allows for greater data transparency that is often lacking in today’s supply chain. Any suspicious activity or loss of product can be easily tracked and traced thanks to the blockchain.

Whether its improved data security or tighter supply chain management, blockchain technology truly has the potential to change up the way we operate. The healthcare sector is no exception to this and we’ll likely see even more improvements as we move forward into the future.

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.