Data management issues are a constant source of struggle within the healthcare industry. The lack of a unified protocol and coordination between facilities, as well as the use of outdated programs, have plagued even the largest medical institutions. Not only can leveraging the digital asset blockchain help address these problems, but it can also improve patient outcomes, data security, and profitability.
Top 3 Problems with Managing Medical Data
Currently, there are neither comprehensive standards nor universal methods for storing and managing healthcare data. This results in three major issues:
- Loss of Accuracy and Integrity
Healthcare data is typically accessible to many doctors, insurance providers, and medical facilities. Some can alter or add to the existing data, while others can only view their information. Not all are informed when there are changes in the database. This lack of a unified system turns a patient’s records into puzzles, often missing key data required to come up with correct diagnostics, treatment plans, and drug prescriptions.
- Improper Data Handling
Numerous healthcare organisations today still rely on paper-based records or outdated computer programs to manage data. This has led to misplaced or lost patient records on top of wasted time and workforce for file retrieval.
- Compromised Security
Confidential healthcare data —such as insurance records, prescription drug data, and personal patient information— can be vulnerable to hacking without a secure data management system.
Inefficient and unsecured medical data handling does not only affect healthcare processes, but it can also result in incorrect diagnosis and slow treatment times for patients.
According to IBM’s Institute for Business Value Blockchain, a survey of 200 healthcare executives revealed that 16% of them are willing to deploy a blockchain-based solution to managing medical data. Given the many benefits of the technology, this number can be expected to rise as more institutions enter the blockchain market.
Benefits of the Blockchain in Healthcare Data Management
The unprecedented security and efficiency of blockchain technology offer several advantages to the health care sector, including:
- Improved Access to Medical Records
The blockchain technology can be used to create a decentralised and transparent view of patient medical history that is accessible to all health service providers.
- Enhanced Patient-Doctor Interaction
Patients can also gain full control of their data through a blockchain platform and provide their doctors access whenever necessary, thereby reducing the cost of re-diagnosis.
- Increased Trust in Medical Research
Smart contracts executed within the ultra-secure system of a digital asset blockchain increase overall privacy. They also make it possible for companies to access essential patient information for research purposes, such as drug development and clinical trials without compromising patient identity.
- Reduce Counterfeit Drugs
Integrating blockchain technology into the pharmaceutical supply chain can help trace and track drug distribution to prevent theft. Each stakeholder at every stage of the shipment process has to sign the transaction digitally, which will then be stored in the blockchain platform’s database. This creates time-stamped records and establishes real-time transparency.
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