healthcare: how blockchain can offer solutions to healthcare sector challenges: EU report

The many utilities and potential of the blockchain industry are now undisputed and are constantly being explored and researched to solve the problems of various sectors. A report titled “Blockchain Applications in the Healthcare Sector” published by EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum in April 2022 comprehensively considered the existing challenges in the healthcare sector and the solutions that can be provided by the healthcare industry. blockchain. We bring you the facts uncovered in this report.
We first take stock of the issues detailed in the EU report, affecting the efficiency of the healthcare system:
  • Shifting demographics have strained the healthcare sector with elderly patients suffering from chronic and complex illnesses and led to the transition of healthcare towards considerable digital transformation to meet demand.
    • Digitization involves new digital methods and technology-intensive medicines for both primary prevention and curative purposes.
    • Additionally, there has been a shift from paper-based medical records to electronic records and new technologies to improve health services.
    • However, blockchain is necessary to support prevailing demands in the industry and enable the continued development and digitization of healthcare.
  • Organizational and Workforce difficulties:
  • The increased specialization has led to the demand for effective multidisciplinary collaboration tools that could be implemented across various disciplines and beyond the healthcare sector.
  • Apart from the vast pool of healthcare related knowledge, the methods and tools have brought more sophistication and complexity to the healthcare system, and finally more susceptible to data errors.
  • Patient engagement with healthcare information
  • Many patients want to access their health information through a patient portal or app, although only about 30% of patients are able to do so, according to research from Allard & Krasowski in 2021.
  • Health systems interoperability, which is the ability of different health information technology systems to integrate and exchange data for better health care delivery, can be a solution to facilitate access to information for patients.

Blockchain Solutions:
Blockchain can prove to be a technological panacea to these healthcare sector demands and concerns in the following ways:

  • In the health sector, blockchains can protect health information by combining storage, encryption and distribution of data.
  • The first blockchain technologies designed for healthcare are private, permissioned blockchains that meet the demand for keeping healthcare information private.
  • Storing data on a blockchain using data encryption or hashing reduces access to sensitive information.
    • In fact, a properly designed healthcare application on a distributed ledger can solve data security issues. It provides secure storage of data, authorized reading and writing of data.
  • Additionally, distributed data storage in the blockchain can be designed in a way that prevents a single data center from having direct access and control to the underlying patient data.
  • The decentralized nature of the blockchain would ensure continuous and uninterrupted availability of applications like Covid-19 vaccination certifications.
  • In pharmaceutical industry supply chain operations, blockchain can provide traceability and transparency to the large and complex ecosystem of many stakeholders.
    • It can significantly improve the efficiency of different processes by avoiding duplication of tasks.

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