5 Use-Cases of Blockchain in Healthcare Technology

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Blockchain technology can transform healthcare with enhanced data security and improved patient services.

Blockchain technology, often associated with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, has vast potential that extends well beyond financial realms. Known primarily for its robust security features, blockchain is a digital ledger that records transactions across multiple computers such that the records cannot be altered retroactively. This makes it an ideal solution for sectors requiring high integrity in data management, such as healthcare.

According to Grand View Research, the global blockchain technology in the healthcare market is expected to reach US$126 billion in 2030, up from US$1.97 billion in 2022. By integrating blockchain into daily operations, the healthcare sector can potentially save billions of dollars a year on costs associated with data breaches, record keeping, counterfeiting and insurance fraud. Beyond financial aspects, blockchain technology can also have a profound impact on how healthcare services are delivered. 

Now, let’s explore five pivotal applications of blockchain within the healthcare sector. 

1. Enhanced supply chain transparency

Counterfeit medications pose a severe global threat. As per the U.S. National Crime Prevention Council, more than 10% of drugs in the global supply chain are counterfeit, with figures soaring to 70% in some countries. This is particularly alarming for patients relying on these medications to manage life-threatening conditions. 

Blockchain technology can address this by timestamping and securing each transaction with the drug supply chain, making the data immutable—unable to be altered or deleted. This ensures that every step, from manufacturing to delivery, is recorded and verifiable, significantly reducing the risk of counterfeit drugs entering the market.

2. Patient-centric electronic health records

Despite widespread adoption, healthcare systems still grapple with fragmented data silos when it comes to electronic health records EHRs. These digital versions of patients’ paper charts, which encompass comprehensive medical histories, diagnoses and treatments, often face interoperability issues—the ability of different systems to exchange and utilize information effectively.

Blockchain offers a solution by creating a unified, decentralized and secure system for EHRs that enhances data interoperability. This system not only ensures that patient data is accessible by all authorized healthcare providers but also ensures the privacy of patient information. The blockchain system requires permissions for data access, which patients can control, thereby enhancing data security against cyber threats.

3. Smart contracts for insurance processing

Fraudulent insurance claims are a substantial economic burden, with the FBI estimating that they constitute about 5-10% percent of total claims, costing non-health insurers in the U.S. over US$40 billion annually.

Blockchain can mitigate this through smart contracts—self-executing contracts where the terms are written directly into code. These contracts automatically execute agreements without human intervention when predefined conditions are met. As they are registered on the blockchain, they allow authorized personnel easy access to contract details such as coverage and claims procedures. This can enhance transparency and reduce potential disputes and the likelihood of fraud.

4. Credentialing of medical staff

Blockchain provides a secure and streamlined way to manage and verify the credentials of healthcare professionals. Each credential can be verified and recorded on the blockchain, making it easily accessible and immutable. This accelerates the hiring process, reduces administrative burdens and deters credential fraud. For hospitals and clinics, this translates to improved regulatory compliance and the assurance of qualified care.

5. IoT security for remote patient monitoring

IoT devices, enhanced by advancements in 5G and edge computing—a model that brings data storage and computation closer to the data source—are increasingly embedded in our lives. By 2026, about 7.4 million Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) devices, such as heart rate monitors and wearable fitness trackers, are expected to be in use. 

Security, however, remains a critical challenge for IoMT devices, especially concerning patient data privacy, integrity, and protection against falsification. In scenarios like Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks—a type of cyber-attack that disrupts service availability—the need for a robust system for each IoMT device is crucial. 

Blockchain provides a secure platform where data from these devices can be stored and shared securely among authorized healthcare providers. It ensures that data is not only secure but also accessible in real-time, which is crucial for monitoring patients with chronic conditions or in remote areas.

Conclusion

The adoption of blockchain in healthcare promises numerous improvements, from ensuring drug authenticity and enhancing data security to streamlining insurance claims and improving remote patient monitoring. While challenges such as implementation barriers and regulatory issues persist, the transformative potential of blockchain is undeniable. 

As the technology evolves and more applications are validated, blockchain is set to become a cornerstone in addressing some of the healthcare industry’s most enduring challenges related to data security, privacy and operational efficiency.

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