Healthcare is one of the domains that has taken the most advantages of the successive waves of digitalization, from cross-sharing patient records to sharper radiology imaging to better camera technology and remote patient care. Blockchain may add yet another strategic advantage.
The care of a lifetime
While sharing a patient’s medical data across experts and doctors is already a common practice, Blockchain, through its immutable nature and built-in verification, could increase the reliability of a patient’s dossier. For instance, currently, overall health and dental records are usually separated. But why should they be?
Imagine every patient with their own personalized Blockchain healthcare file, starting from birth and ending at death. This gives a clean, complete overview of a person’s health, and could even be linked up to the patient’s family files, shared across healthcare experts that treat the patient (and their family members) and add any and all diagnoses, interviews and prescriptions to the file.
Trends and predictions
Through this technology, smart data analytics could search for trends that would otherwise remain hidden or be the domain of intuition or guesswork on the part of the medical expert. For instance, there could be automated warnings of checks for dementia that runs in families, or typical cases of cancer.
These kind of innovations could literally save lives or greatly improve the quality of life of people with chronic or terminal illnesses. The data is all there, just waiting to be analyzed. Entire families, across generations, could discover hidden trends, risks and dangers.
Blockchains like these could be interesting for insurance companies, too, when they assess the cost of onboarding new customers. Ideally, this would need to be regulated so that they cannot engage in predatory practices as is unfortunately all too common in the US, but their access should be limited to a ‘need to know’ basis.
Other paramedical domains such as pharmaceutical industries may also benefit from this, by being able to track mid- and long-term consequences of their products more accurately and over very long periods of time. This could lead to higher product safety and better treatment effectiveness.
But it’s not just the healthcare professionals that ought to benefit from Blockchain technology: a personal Blockchain chronology of health could and should be accessible to the individual (or the guardian of a minor), too. There’s no reason why a system of early warnings shouldn’t go to the patient as well.
This would give people a stronger sense of control over their healthcare, as well as lessen the need to go crawling on the Internet to search for healthcare advice and opinions that are often of dubious merit. It may also lead to a greater information equality between healthcare specialist and patient, where today this relationship is more vertical: the specialist assesses and decides, and the patient undergoes.
Clear the cupboards
A final Blockchain benefit is better administrative handling and fewer time spent on contacting other medical experts to request or send data: it’s already all there, in the cloud, accessible by the relevant doctors. As with the insurers, this should come with personas, as not every medical professional is privy to the entire data file, e.g. orderlies that treat the patient for a specific period of time don’t need to know their patients’ baby or early childhood history, or about private sessions with therapists.
However, using Blockchain for administrative purposes relieves doctors and other healthcare workers of maintaining laborious file structures of hundreds of patients on their private computers or on a hospital’s internet servers, and would also reduce the need for paper archives even more. This frees up both physical and digital real estate that can be used for other purposes, e.g. the ever-increasing amount of visual data due to the leaps made in radiology and medical imaging technology. For instance: 3D.
Is your curiosity piqued? Do you have any questions about how, exactly, Blockchain can help you as a medical professional? After all, even the longest journey begins with a single step, and while all of this information may seem a bit overwhelming or it may seem to belong to the domain of science-fiction, its benefits are merely waiting to be reaped today.
So, if you’re curious, feel free to contact us. We pride ourselves on our impartial expertise and we’re excited to let our customers discover all the business possibilities Blockchain entails for themselves. Give us a call or drop us a line – we’re waiting for you!