The healthcare industry could be preparing for an IT system overhaul with the implementation of new Blockchain technology impacting how patient records are stored and possibly saving billions of US$s
Since the introduction of the Blockchain, the much-debated architecture has gone beyond the original idea of creating a decentralized alternative to using fiat currencies and traditional banking systems instigating an unprecedented wave of new ways to use its technology. Numerous businesses are recognizing Blockchain’s powerful potential to streamline their current operations, in particular, the healthcare industry.
Improved Healthcare IT and Patient Record Management
It is no secret that healthcare records have been one of the industry’s most time consuming and costly admin overheads. Issues with privacy, accuracy, data entry updates and missing healthcare records have long been an expensive administrative headache; something that was seen in 2013 when British NHS healthcare abandoned its new patient record system costing taxpayers £10bn.
Fortunately, Blockchain experts have recognized similar issues with record keeping in a number of industries. As a result, new technology has been designed to securely track changes over multiple proprietary systems, which are traditionally fragmented and the cause of loss of or inaccurate data.
Applying the same principles to the healthcare industry, the newly developed Blockchain architecture is said to be the key to solving the ongoing patient record saga that has plagued the industry for far too long.
Within this architecture, a decentralized ledger will become the authoritative source for patient records. This will solve the issues that occur when transferring data across fragmented systems, but despite the Blockchain solution’s ability to rectify the main problems causing data inaccuracies, it has now raised the question of ownership of records.
Currently, the consensus is that ownership of patient records could be handed over to the patients. This solution could hypothetically take the burden of healthcare record management away from the healthcare sector altogether.
The Future Outlook for Healthcare and The Blockchain
Currently, the primary objective is to reduce IT costs presently plaguing healthcare providers in all areas of the industry. With some companies successfully implementing Blockchain tech to manage healthcare records already in place, the future of the Blockchain’s involvement in the healthcare sector is already being mapped out.
Furthermore, it isn’t only patient record management that is set to benefit from the implementation of Blockchain solutions. The new technology is also set to be introduced in other segments such as healthcare insurance sectors, prescription drugs tracking, and cold chain monitoring in order to streamline the industry as a whole.
This is all good news for investors monitoring the potential partnership between healthcare and the blockchain. It is said that the industry as a whole could potentially save up to $100 billion a year by 2025 using Blockchain solutions.
In addition to this, according to BIS, a US-based research company, the healthcare industry on the Blockchain will be worth $5.61 billion by the end of 2025. Currently, in 2018, the industry is said to be worth $176.8 million.
If these estimates are correct, the Blockchain is already set to become a significant player in the healthcare sector, and investment in ICOs connected to the healthcare industry will almost certainly increase.