1. Blockchain applications
  2. blockchain technology
  3. Blockchain applications in the healthcare sector.

Blockchain applications in the healthcare sector.

The large volume of data and information present in the healthcare sector makes blockchain an available technology.

Blockchain applications in the healthcare sector

The use of blockchain technology, which increases the reliability and security of information, is causing a significant impact in numerous fields, including healthcare. 

The digitization of the healthcare sector has already begun, but it still has a long way to go. Implementing technologies such as Big Data or Artificial Intelligence will be critical to fostering ecosystems that allow cost savings in daily management. In this regard, it is estimated that the digitization of healthcare will generate 220 billion benefits per year in 2030 worldwide. A key pillar, cybersecurity, join the increased use of telemedicine and the availability of digital services. This last point is crucial because safeguarding confidential patient data and having critical information available, and recovering it in the event of theft are the key issues for guaranteeing the daily activity of any hospital or healthcare center.

The digitization of the healthcare system would allow a faster and more personalized response to patients and greater efficiency and interoperability in the use of the healthcare system between the different Regional Health Systems.

The large volume of data and information in the healthcare sector makes blockchain a transcendental technology, as it can streamline this type of process and would provide daily cost savings.

To talk about blockchain, it is necessary to understand what DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology) is. DLT technology is a data structure hosted on various computing devices in different locations and regions. While this distributed ledger technology existed long before Bitcoin emerged, this cryptocurrency helped improve DLT by combining multiple technologies such as transaction tagging, P2P (Peer to Peer) networks, cryptography, shared computational power, and consensus algorithms. In short, the components that make up a DLT are:

  • A data model that captures the current state of the ledger.

  • A transaction language that changes the state of the ledger.

  • A protocol used to generate consensus among participants on which transactions will be accepted and in what order by the ledger.

What is blockchain?

Blockchain is a subcategory of DLT that is based on an architecture of chronologically ordered blockchains. A blockchain is also a record shared and stored on many different computers (nodes) and can only be updated based on the consensus of most of the participants in the chain. This means it is virtually impossible to alter once the information is shared and stored.

The data structure in the blockchain is distributed in a strict and immutable chronological order, achieved through a hash or, in other words, an encryption of the block that generates a unique and unalterable digital fingerprint. Each block that is introduced has a reference to the hash of the previous blocks, so this type of structure allows traceability since the origin of each block is unique.

Benefits for the healthcare sector.

Traceability of prescription drugs

The application of blockchain to supply chains guarantees the immutability of drugs, avoiding alterations or falsifications during the different phases of the chain. This makes it very difficult to alter information at any point in the chain. In addition, it also allows for much more secure and efficient traceability. Applying blockchain to the drug supply chain reduces the likelihood of a drug that does not meet quality standards entering the supply chain or ending up in the hands of the patient, as well as simplifying the tracking of the flow of medical supplies and equipment.

Clinical trials.

The blockchain provides a transparent and immutable clinical trial data registry. As Asseco Spain points out, a platform that uses this technology to store clinical trial data makes it easier for researchers and regulators to access and verify the data, improving the quality and reliability of the results.

Protection of confidential and personal information.

On the other hand, they point out that the blockchain allows data to be altered from multiple gateways, which a priori may seem insecure, but the blockchain is designed to mitigate this risk. Unique signatures connect all blocks. If you want to enter more information in a partnership, it is not altered, but a new one is created where we can see what and when it has been updated. Since blockchain works through a decentralized consensus, a cybercriminal who wanted to alter the data would have to take control of most of the nodes in the network simultaneously and change the entire chain. This is possible but challenging because of the network of nodes to which the blockchain is interconnected. In addition, encryption of the data by hashing makes it possible to verify that the blocks in the chain have not been tampered with without the consent of the patient or the medical professional.

Telemedicine, document management, and personalization.

Blockchain opens the door to many options for personalizing treatments and medical care. One example is the data generated by telemedicine, such as video consultations or electronic prescriptions, which can be stored and shared securely through blockchain, improving patient access to healthcare and decongesting the healthcare system. The same goes for patient genomic data, which is securely stored and transferred among medical professionals individualizing treatments and making more efficient use. Access to medical records is another of blockchain's contributions to the healthcare sector. It allows patients and professionals to access personal and medical information, thus giving them more control over it.

Applications in dentistry.

Blockchain technology applied to the dental sector will allow dentists to be able to have greater control, registration, and visibility when reviewing patients' medical records since this type of technology allows you, through a QR code, to access all the traceability of the patient's clinical history, their X-rays, analysis, tests, anamnesis, etc. This means we can access all this information even if the patient is out of the country or we must attend to him in an emergency.

Applying this technology at the clinic management level means greater control and optimization of resources and monitoring at all levels, both at the patient and product levels, purchasing and traceability of products and drugs.

Blockchain technology also offers benefits for the dentist on a personal level, for example, for the optimization of cash flow and even for training and dental courses, since this technology allows access to the metaverse, where the dentist can access and participate in training, congresses and events in the sector without having to travel physically.