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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Blockchain in Healthcare

Blockchain technology can revolutionize health care by putting the patient at the center of the ecosystem and enhancing health data security, privacy, and interoperability.

By making electronic medical records more efficient, disintermediated, and secure, this technology has the potential to create a new paradigm for health information exchanges (HIE).

A blockchain-powered health information exchange might show the true value of interoperability. The friction and expenses associated with traditional intermediaries can be reduced or eliminated using blockchain-based systems. 

Doctor holding stethoscope

To grasp blockchain in healthcare, you must first grasp distributed ledger technology (DLT) and how it may be applied across the healthcare sector.

According to SearchCIO, DLT uses decentralized peer-to-peer computing, encryption, and other technologies, to verify and propagate a chain of transaction records throughout a consortium, alliance, partnership, or coalition. 

Blockchain technology, based on decentralized consensus, is increasingly frequently employed in cryptocurrencies.

Naturally, this can make its price rise in value tremendously. But to invest in it the right way, it’s highly recommended to stick to an established platform that provides a safe trading environment.

The potential of blockchain in the healthcare industry has far-reaching implications for all stakeholders. With this technology, diverse systems may be linked to provide insights and better assess the value of care. 

In the long run, a countrywide blockchain network for electronic medical records might increase efficiency and patient health results. Exchanges on the blockchain are transparent to all parties.

They need network verification before uploading information, allowing for trustless collaboration among network members while keeping an immutable audit record of all transactions.

According to PWC, blockchain can enable smart contracts and digital computer code bits that automate the execution of programs, processes, or transactions.

Tokens may also be used to create value for transactions due to the technology. This approach of tokenization is also employed in cryptocurrencies. 

Blockchain allows cross-border interoperability.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology developed a shared nationwide interoperability roadmap focusing on key policy and technology components needed for countrywide interoperability.

These components comprised secure network infrastructure, confirming all participants’ names and identities, and displaying standard authorization to access electronic health information.

On the other hand, current solutions fail to meet these requirements due to security, privacy, and ecosystem compatibility concerns. 

Although blockchain technology has tremendous potential in health care, it has not yet achieved its full maturity and is not a panacea that can be adopted overnight.

Several technological, organizational, and behavioral economic hurdles must be overcome before firms throughout the country can implement a healthcare blockchain. 

Advantages and Disadvantages

Doctor texting a patient with stethoscope around his neck

Truth from a Single Source 

The technology’s major benefit is that it may offer network participants a single source of truth. All participants must agree on the nature of the data stored in the network since all nodes must agree.

Its capacity to resolve conflicts and track all network activities provides unrivalled transparency, obviating the need for intermediaries. Its transparency and immutability make it perfect for organizations that conduct data audits regularly.

Weaknesses in Security 

Although the method can withstand some attacks, it is far from secure. They are still vulnerable to zero-day attacks and technological flaws because they are essentially just programmed.

Furthermore, because people utilise technology almost continuously, it is subject to one of the most significant threats in information technology: social engineering.

As a result, blockchain technology, especially in the healthcare industry, deserves the same data security scrutiny as any other network or software, especially in the healthcare industry.

Insufficient Privacy 

Doctor typing client information on a laptop

Blockchains, particularly those publicly viewable, are unsuitable for preserving private information because of their transparency.

Privacy concerns for protected health information (PHI) are critical when adopting blockchain for specialised healthcare transactions. Always do your own research for further information.

Health Care in the Future 

Blockchain technology can simplify things, allow trustless cooperation, and produce safe, immutable data.

HHS is responsible for keeping an eye on this fast-growing industry to identify patterns and areas where government assistance may be required for the technology to reach its full potential in health care.

HHS should investigate mapping and convening the blockchain ecosystem, establishing a blockchain framework to organise early adopters, and supporting a consortium for discussion and discovery to determine the blockchain’s future. ​

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