Blockchain has transformed a variety of industries. This new technology also has the potential to change healthcare. As it becomes more common, it is important for surgeons to understand the system’s basic principles.
What is Blockchain?
Blockchain is a virtually incorruptible digital ledger. Information can be entered and updated in real time. The system is also completely transparent, so anyone with an access code can view the data. Originally this technology was developed for use with bitcoin, a type of digital currency. Others quickly realized that the advantages of blockchain could be applied to sectors other than finance.
How Can Blockchain Be Used in Healthcare?
Blockchain gives patients better control over who can view their medical history and personal information. While patients can already control who can legally view their data, the current system is complex and information may accidentally send information to the wrong group. Patients may also sign the wrong release forms. Blockchain simplifies the process.
Blockchain will also help surgeons better customize care to each individual. Through blockchain, providers will be able to integrate the entirety of a patient’s information into one place. This allows providers to quickly and easily create a plan suited for their patient.
Another advantage of blockchain is that it also improves the security of the healthcare system. Billing fraud costs the system billions of dollars each year. Blockchain helps solve this problem by entering data permanently through a transparent system. All parties can see exactly who updated the record and when.
Challenges to Implementation
Although blockchain presents solutions to problems within the medical system, there are challenges to its successful implementation. In order for blockchain to work, hospitals will need to update their systems and install the necessary software, as well as provide staff with training on how to use it. Common universal standards will need to be developed.
Blockchain could very well be the future of the medical industry. After all, the system gives patients better control over their personal information, helps surgeons customize care, and increases security. Before blockchain becomes commonplace, however, healthcare systems will need to be updated to include the new technology. This could be a significant obstacle to blockchain’s progress. It is important that surgeons understand blockchain and can participate in discussions about its future. This is one way they can help contribute to the world of medicine.