Blockchain technology in the COVID-19 era

Blockchain technology is no longer constrained to the crypto ecosystem, as study has shown its potential for involvement in the healthcare industry.

While blockchain is renowned for its role in powering cryptocurrencies, technology has revolutionized it into a generic tool capable of keeping data safe. This is by maintaining it as a structural spread in form of encoded ledger.

With Blockchain technology, medical personnel can control who can access patient data. In so doing, Blockchain technology has challenged traditional patient record keeping, bringing the industry from a space where one administrator is the gateway to accessing patient data, to a place where medical personnel can have one shared ledger spread over a network of interlinked databases that can be accessed only by authorized medical experts.

There are companies who are already using blockchain technology in capturing, tracking and tracing several data points for their products. Among what is captured in this endeavor include Covid-19 vaccines. This has elevated transparency levels in their supply chain, while at the same time allowing for mobile-app verification.

The Case of Zuellig Pharma

The Singapore-based medical services company, Zuellig Pharma, has integrated blockchain into their operation through their eZTracker management system. Now, the company has a tracking system based on blockchain technology. This technology helps improve efficiency for the company by keeping track of Covid-19 vaccines.  This eliminates chances of the company dealing in expired vaccines.

Client companies and the government can both make follow ups at any time to verify the provenance as well as determine how authentic they are. The same technology applies to other products of the company

Application of Blockchain technology in healthcare

There are multiple ways through which Blockchain technology can be applied in healthcare, especially in the Covid-10 era. These include:

  • Coordination

The healthcare system requires a structure that is electronic in maintaining patient data. Blockchain technology helps make this possible to the fullest extreme, solving the issue of interoperability. This is because of its unique ability in authenticating user identity, authorizing access and offering a safe infrastructure where medical personnel can preserve and update their patient records.

  • Data sharing

Blockchain technology has also provided a more efficient means through which hospital systems can share data. In so doing they have improved the level of efficiency of patient care, while at the same time lowering cost and saving time. Medical personnel in different departments can easily share patient data upon need instead of having to meet and discuss. It is also easy to send the patient for a subsequent procedure now that practitioners can keep track of patient history.

  • Data storage

Blockchain technology is useful for data analysis in the healthcare setting by focusing on information such as the origins of drugs and useful data on clinical trials and drug testing. With such data, healthcare facilities are able to evaluate drug quality while ensuring the accuracy of clinical trials.

Advantages of moving medical records to blockchain

  1. Privacy and Security

The main advantage of integrating blockchain to the healthcare system is data privacy and security. It is not possible to hack a block on the chain without attacking other blocks in the chain’s chronology. This makes blockchain technology a value addition to medical staff and the healthcare industry at large.

Additionally, medical personnel do not need to continuously send and receive patient information between each other and institutional departments.

  1. Saving time and labour cost

This applies to digital transactions like patients paying their bills or the clearing of invoices for suppliers.  Several bits of code structure or compilations of the digital transaction are made into a single encoded block. This is alongside other transactions that may be taking place at the same time.

The same can be said about a patient undergoing several treatments concurrently. For example, upon visiting the doctor, the patient may have to perform a blood test, stool test, get a new prescription, and undergo imaging techniques.

Blockchain technology groups together all these data about this patient, noting which clinicians validated the procedures as well as the treatments. The software thereafter gives a time stamp to every validated block before compiling it to the chain.

  1. Increased efficiency

Blockchain technology enhances efficiency level achieved during patient treatment by eliminating chances of mistakes. In a healthcare setting, the potential for mistakes in patient data management between doctors is high. The technology makes it is easy for the practitioner to get a clear picture of patient history as information is kept current at all times.

Blockchain thereby eliminates chances of physician overlap, confusion or misplacement of patient records.

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