Blockchain technology may be able to increase trust, collaboration, traceability, and auditability in the healthtech sector
Blockchain offers a wide range of applications and functions in healthcare. By allowing the secure transfer of patient medical information, controlling the medication supply chain, and facilitating the secure transfer of patient medical records, ledger technology aids healthcare researchers in uncovering genetic code. Regulatory agencies that stand to benefit from requiring the use of blockchain technology to streamline medical device approvals and post-market surveillance are likely to urge medical device manufacturers to use it. During clinical trials, blockchain will speed up the acquisition and evaluation of patient data and device performance data. Blockchain might also help avoid data manipulation or falsification in clinical trials.
The usefulness of blockchain to enhance healthcare services:
Having a safe and centralised repository for clinical trials and patient outcomes for novel medicines might significantly improve patient care and outcomes. Clinical trial and outcome records on the blockchain are immutable and time-stamped, which might help eliminate result swapping, data spying, and unethical reporting, as well as fraud and inaccuracy. By sharing patient outcomes more widely, blockchains might help to mobilise new and creative research efforts (with patient consent). Furthermore, releasing patient data more widely (with patient agreement) would accelerate new and novel research projects, resulting in amazing collaboration between participants and researchers.
The documentation used to assist the development of medical devices might be a combination of paper and electronic data. For example, the Device Master Record (DMR) and Design History File (DHF) include a range of documents, such as requirements, design plans, risk management, design testing, and design validation. As these papers transition from paper to electronic format, blockchain technology, which includes built-in traceability and electronic signature capabilities, can aid in their secure handling. One of the most challenging challenges in product development is clinical trial data management, which might be solved using blockchain. Data from clinical trials, for example.
Between 2009 and 2017, there were about 176 million data breaches involving medical records. The blockchain’s secure properties can significantly boost the security of health data. Each person has a public identity or key, as well as a private key that may only be used when and for the time indicated. Furthermore, having hackers personally target each user to gain sensitive information would limit hacking. As a consequence, medical data may be provided with an immutable audit trail thanks to blockchain technology.
Drug Development and Supply Chain Integrity
Blockchain in healthcare might improve supply chain traceability and transparency by giving both the overall picture and minute details of every pharmaceutical transaction. Companies like IBM, Walmart, and UPS are already using blockchain technology to improve supply chain integrity. Patients might obtain real-time information on any drug from manufacture through arrival at a retail pharmacy if supply data is maintained in a blockchain. Whether it’s a patient’s health record or a medicine travelling through the supply chain, blockchains may convert the system from disjointed data fragments held by a single company to the life history of any resource.
Many medical device companies’ business models entail combining consumables and equipment usage. These consumables may be sold on a sliding price drop scale dependent on volume, which can be difficult to keep track of. Due to special arrangements with Group Purchasing Organizations (GPOs) or big healthcare providers, chargebacks or refunds for consumables may be feasible. Smart contracts and blockchain technology might be used to enable manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and other middlemen throughout the medical device value chain to automate, clear, and settle these transactions.
Blockchains have the potential to improve patient case management. The treatment plan can be put to the blockchain ledger as part of the patient’s medical record once a patient visits a physician and a treatment plan is created. Then, utilising all of the pieces of the patient’s case management, a smart contract may be created. The contract lays out the structure for the patient’s treatment goals, as well as the smart contract’s criteria for tracking and evaluating the patient’s progress. Once the patient’s information is added to the blockchain, it can give historical data on how care was delivered and how it was received. A patient’s health information is gathered from wearable monitoring devices and social media platforms, and then posted to the patient’s blockchain ledger, adding another layer of usefulness. Smart contracts can be used to track a patient’s progress toward their health goals once more.
Preventive Measures of Medical Equipment
Machines may communicate operational data with those in charge of regulating it using blockchain applications without jeopardising enforcement or privacy concerns. Patients who have been treated with the unit, types of treatments, and photos or other data can all be shared with the maintainers, but only for auditing, monitoring, and compliance. Depending on the system and its purpose, blockchain may potentially store essential service records.
Mobile Health Apps and Remote Monitoring
As technology progresses, mobile health applications are becoming more vital. Electronic medical records (EMRs) were discovered to be stored safely on a blockchain network, allowing the data to be quickly exchanged with medical personnel and used for self-monitoring and home care. Malware is particularly vulnerable in this area, especially root flaws that allow a hacker to obtain the patient’s private key.
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