The Use of Blockchain Technology in the Healthcare Industry
Although blockchain technology was initially launched as an asset for the financial industry, it is safe to say that it could be applied to any other professional field. The ultimate nature of blockchain technology makes it possible for healthcare providers to benefit from implementing new digital instruments (Farouk et al., 2020). The extended functionality might transform life sciences in line with clinical and medical approaches to patients. In the relevant research, the advent of blockchain solutions for healthcare is compared to the initial effects of the introduction of the TCP/IP protocol (Hussien et al., 2019). Thus, blockchain should be expected to improve interoperability and make it easier for healthcare researchers to conduct longitudinal studies. With stronger supply chain management and numerous automated operations, the healthcare industry would also have the opportunity to perform a smooth reboot. In other words, blockchain is disruptive only in cases where its effects are not monitored carefully.
The future of blockchain in healthcare is tremendously positive since the gradual evolution only brings more competitive advantages to field specialists. The research project will cover the need for resources to ensure that blockchain is developed and deployed properly. An investigation will be conducted into why blockchain is synonymous with data integrity and high-quality services.
Significance of Research
The significance of researching the opportunities linked to blockchain in hospital settings stems from the advent of digital systems becoming a facilitator for data collection and secure cryptography. The technology paradigm of healthcare has to be reviewed and transformed recurrently because blockchain represents a strategic contributor to different areas of human activities (McGhin et al., 2019). Since the advent of blockchain, many organizations and businesses across the globe have become interested in finding ways to minimize human error and protect available data. Therefore, the current project is going to investigate how blockchain could improve trust among healthcare stakeholders and probably alter care delivery models at the end of the day. The incredibly high level of anticipation linked to blockchain makes it crucial to keep reviewing the possible uses of the disruptive technology. Smarter exploitation of blockchain solutions would contribute to radical transformations of healthcare settings due to society and government displaying their genuine interest in the new technology.
Goals and Objectives
The primary goal that the researcher expects to accomplish with the current project is to conduct a comprehensive review of existing evidence on the subject of blockchain in a hospital setting. The dynamic nature of technological innovations paves the way for such investigations, especially considering that a blockchain is a universal tool that surpasses the financial sector and generic applications. Hence, a comprehensive review will broaden the horizons for researchers, as the viability and applicability of blockchain solutions are going to be evaluated against a series of fundamental principles.
Respectively, these vital criteria will be treated as objectives during the review, as the researcher is going to evaluate the potential success of implementing blockchain against them. The first criterion is the level of supply chain transparency that a healthcare environment could achieve. Knowing that it is a long-standing major challenge for numerous hospital settings, it might be essential to see how consumers could be enabled with the help of a blockchain-based system. The researcher would be interested in reviewing the connection between artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) when outlining the impact of blockchain on the healthcare sector. An optimized supply chain might be a source of a higher level of consumer confidence as well. Thus, the short- and long-term effects of blockchain on healthcare supply chains cannot be ignored.
Another criterion is the possibility of improving the quality and safety of electronic health records while also making them patient-centric. Medical histories and other types of sensitive patient data have to be stored efficiently in order to affect care coordination and reduce the occurrence of human error. Therefore, the objective will be to see how blockchain-based systems could contribute to the development of comprehensive, easy-to-access medical records that contain various therapeutic information. Also, improved electronic health records have to be perceived as an opportunity because of advanced analytics and predictive insights. The combination of AI and blockchain could transform the process of care provision into a personalized experience.
The final criterion associated with the research objectives is the introduction of blockchain in an attempt to improve IoT security and strengthen remote monitoring solutions. This is a serious trend that has to be reviewed because proactive care has to be instilled in order to aid providers in maintaining a closer connection to patients. The issue of security is too significant to be ignored – especially in healthcare – so it is vital to avoid false information and inconsistent verdicts. Correspondingly, hacker attacks have to be prevented through the interface of blockchain cryptography and limited access to personal data.
Evidence-Based Support for the Project
One of the areas where blockchain is currently utilized successfully is health information exchange. Care providers effectively support interoperability while also following a detailed roadmap that suggests how the blockchain structure could enhance authorization and authentication methods (De Aguiar et al., 2020). The principle of universal availability of information enables patients to collaborate with care providers and share their personal details willingly. It makes it easier for providers to develop a friendlier hospital setting and build a positive relationship with patients within a collaborative nursing ecosystem. In line with McGhin et al. (2019), interoperability is much easier to achieve with blockchain-based solutions because they enhance data protection and contribute to the development of a distributed framework for the extended use of technology. A contract-based system is going to alter the process of care provision even further, with blockchain being utilized to encrypt all sensitive information.
A validated history of patient-centric uses of blockchain also makes it safe to say that many hospital settings could benefit from this technology. The concept of full ownership might become a rather motivating outcome for patients having the right to either revoke or grant provider access to their information (Gordon & Catalini, 2018). The architecture of blockchain perfectly reflects the multi-level approach to data safety required by patients. Therefore, the transition from hospital-centric to patient-centric approaches is inevitable. Data privacy could eventually facilitate interoperability and create a much friendlier environment where providers and patients would work collaboratively to protect sensitive data and improve care quality (Hussien et al., 2019). Structural changes are going to affect the workplace ecosystem while also giving an upper hand to consumers by promoting their individuality and independence. A thorough combination of IoT and blockchain could make the proposed solution even more reliable.
The ultimate area of interest that has to be addressed when covering the use of blockchain for a hospital setting is pharmaceutical delivery. The impact of altering the supply chain cannot be predicted in most cases, but the advent of blockchain can be a positive factor. According to Kuo et al. (2019), delivery delays, data theft, and logistical misconceptions could be predicted and proactively mitigated with the aid of blockchain-based instruments. Logistics system management remains an essential topic of discussion for many organizations, and hospital settings require consistent innovation and incentives to promote consistency and reduce monetary expenditures. The annual losses generated because of drug counterfeiting can be minimized owing to blockchain-based solutions as well (De Aguiar et al., 2020). Additionally, healthcare insurance operations are going to become increasingly transparent with automatic claim processing and blockchain-based pre-authorization.
There are also a few challenges associated with blockchain technology that cannot be mediated easily due to their deep impact on the industry. For instance, the increasing amount of patient data makes it harder for providers to engage in stronger analysis techniques (Farouk et al., 2020). The exponential growth of volumes of patient data overfloods data servers and makes it virtually impossible to standardize data included in the blockchain. Another challenge to be resolved is the presence of crucial constraints that affect blockchain-related regulations and incentives. Despite the benefits of quicker operations and real-time transactions, the cost of blockchain-based solutions drives many executives from vouching for blockchain and constant innovation (Gordon & Catalini, 2018). Hence, encryption drawbacks and the high cost of blockchain-based solutions make them available only to larger care providers, contributing to a growing gap between hospitals.
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Kuo, T. T., Zavaleta Rojas, H., & Ohno-Machado, L. (2019). Comparison of blockchain platforms: A systematic review and healthcare examples. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 26(5), 462-478. Web.
McGhin, T., Choo, K. K. R., Liu, C. Z., & He, D. (2019). Blockchain in healthcare applications: Research challenges and opportunities. Journal of Network and Computer Applications, 135, 62-75. Web.