BENGALURU - The technological landscape of the world is changing rapidly. Healthcare, however, does not exactly have a reputation as being an early adopter of new technology.1 This is understandable, as the tech adopted must be foolproof. There should be no room for errors. This is especially true in healthcare, where lives are often at stake.
Nevertheless, many new emerging technologies are poised to affect the delivery of future healthcare. One such technology is blockchain, which is a potentially exciting efficiency enhancer in this emerging technology paradigm that can solve multiple problems in healthcare.2
Blockchain is a revolutionary technology: It is a distributed information system across different computers where the record of each data transaction is immutably maintained. Its distributed, decentralized nature is one of its main strengths. In the context of healthcare, maintaining transparency and the immutability functionality is an essential benefit.3
For a long time, healthcare has been grappling with the lack of data integration from different sources.4 The system is inefficient, with high costs and suboptimal user experience for both patients and doctors. These issues urgently need to be addressed, and blockchain can play an important - and also exciting - role in this. The technology can be used to ensure security and data ownership with much safer architecture. Blockchain can connect separate silos of data hubs, thus integrating data from different sources.5 It can also conveniently support patient-physician interaction through remote e-prescribing.6 A trail of immutable data can also help with insurance claims verification and reduce paperwork.7 Moreover, the chain of blocks on a shared ledger can also be used to ensure the authenticity of medicine and supply chain optimization.8
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