Healthcare industry represents a complex organism that has various branches and possesses numerous challenges and improvement possibilities. Various entities gradually incorporate technological developments into different sectors, such as finances, real estate, retail, and others. Blockchain technology is one of the advancements that can offer several benefits to the daily operations and management of the organizations. The healthcare industry is no exception to the integration of those innovations. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the implementation of blockchain technology in the healthcare industry and analyze the solutions it offers to the exciting challenges within the field.
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Firstly, it is essential to understand the essence of blockchain technology and its functions. In general terms, blockchain technology is “a distributed decentralized system, which records the data and stores transaction records in the form of blocks” (Sethi, 2018, p. 607).
According to Agbo, Mahmoud, and Eklund (2019), this innovation gained its popularity through Bitcoin, and the researchers continuously look for new ways to implement this technology into other industries. Blockchain offers healthcare organizations nationwide the possibility to record the transactions without the control from the trusted central authority (Sethi, 2018). Thus, one can compare this technological development to an enormous database that collects information from different parties and provides them with secure access to the requested data blocks.
The next important point is to look at the process of the data flow in correspondence with the blockchain technology applications. Khezr, Moniruzzaman, Yassine, and Benlamri (2019) describe the steps that blockchain-based management follows to secure immutable data. First, the interaction between the patient and the healthcare professional creates information, which is later transformed into the electronic health record of the patient (Khezr et al., 2019).
An individual patient has customized access to the data stored in a distributed and private manner, and they can grant permission to other parties (Khezr et al., 2019). The closing chain link of the process is when the hospitals get access to the records from the permission of the patient who is the authorized owner of that information ((Khezr et al., 2019). Hence, these are the critical elements of the blockchain data storage and sharing process.
It is crucial to observe the sides of the healthcare industry, which will significantly benefit from the implementation of blockchain technology. The integral aspect is that this technology will help to create a network that connects hospitals around the country. Sethi (2018) associates it with a collaborative ecosystem that will have an easy information sharing process, allowing different parties to have access to the individual users’ records.
Another valuable side of the blockchain is the creation of networks of the blood banks, laboratories, pharmacies, and insurance companies (Sethi, 2018). With the usage of this progressive technology, all of those parties can eliminate numerous challenges, such as the blood shortage in one of the centres or management among the pharmacies and manufacturers (Sethi, 2018). Besides, blockchain can help prevent the frauds related to the health insurance that occasionally take place within the industry (Sethi, 2018). Consequently, this technology provides numerous advantages to the industry and creates a harmonious collaboration for its members.
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In conclusion, blockchain technology is integrating different industries, including healthcare and provides organizations with new possibilities. The innovations offered by the technological process open up the chance for improvements for the healthcare industry’s parts that face continuous challenges and work on overcoming them. Blockchain technology presents a convenient way of collaborative data sharing among the parties involved in healthcare and eliminates the problems and restrictions among them.
Agbo, C. C., Mahmoud, Q. H., & Eklund, J. M. (2019). Blockchain technology in healthcare: A systematic review. Healthcare, 7(2), 56. Web.
Khezr, S., Moniruzzaman, M., Yassine, A., & Benlamri, R. (2019). Blockchain technology in healthcare: A comprehensive review and directions for future research. Applied Sciences, 9(9), 1736. Web.
Sethi, S. (2018). Healthcare blockchain leads to transform healthcare industry. International Journal of Advance Research, Ideas and Innovations in Technology, 4(1), 607-608.