Plenty of dated practices hinder the growth of the healthcare industry. The inefficient collection of health information, like patient data, diagnosis and even treatment plans, are some of the biggest issues in the healthcare sector.
Many researchers have seen the perks of blockchain in healthcare and suggest that using blockchain tech can remove some of these obstacles. While it can prove useful in many situations, it may be a blessing and a curse when handling sensitive patient data.
Are you someone who wants to switch to a private healthcare provider working with blockchain technology like MedicalChain or ArchiveCore? Then, it’s important to consider the various setbacks of blockchain technology in healthcare.
By the time you’re done reading this article, you’ll know the following:
- The biggest privacy and security issues in blockchain healthcare;
- The major perks of healthcare services using blockchain-based technology;
- What actions you can take to support blockchain for healthcare for the better; and
- First, it’s important to start by explaining what blockchains are and their main uses.
What is Blockchain and How Can it Apply to the Healthcare System
A blockchain network stores and creates data. When one device using blockchain technology records information or creates a transaction, the rest of the devices replicate this action. Think of it as a more complex and secure shared data drive, like Google Drive.
Already, you should understand how this technology could help collect and modify medical records. Moreover, blockchain technology is famous for its advanced security due to its unique permission system.
It has the potential to put data control in the hands of patients. Blockchain tech can also create new opportunities for payments.
Of course, while this sounds amazing, it also comes with a set of drawbacks that everyone should consider.
An Overview of the Setbacks
Are you in a rush? Here are the top drawbacks of using a blockchain in healthcare:
- Difficult adoption.
- Lack of privacy.
- No government involvement (so far).
- Scaling issues.
- No option to delete records.
- Lack of support for large files.
Yes, it’s evidently a lot more complex to implement this new technology into the sector. Let’s take a look at the challenges healthcare providers need to overcome if they want to use blockchains.
The Challenges of Blockchain in Healthcare
Blockchain is a totally new technology, and it has not been fully effective in the health sector yet. While some startups are working on popularising this new technology, there are many hurdles they need to overcome before it becomes fully adopted.
Lack of Privacy
Some of the biggest problems have to do with privacy. The nature of blockchain technology is to be transparent, which means that anyone can view medical records in a blockchain electronic health system. This goes against many privacy and security laws and poses a risk for users.
Not every company can adopt blockchain technology. The main reason for that is that blockchain isn’t something you can attach to an already-existing data recording system. Instead, healthcare providers need to adapt their systems to fit a blockchain.
As you can imagine, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to this. Moreover, hospitals need to paste existing healthcare data and medical records into the new system, which can be a time-consuming activity.
No Government Involvement
Public blockchain may be incompatible with HIPAA health laws. HIPAA is an institution in the US that oversees sensitive data and ensures there are adequate laws to protect patients and their privacy.
The same goes for European countries – blockchain in healthcare may be incompatible with some GDPR laws. This ambiguity is a cause for concern for many users.
Different countries have their individual data recording standards. As you can imagine, it will be difficult to create a data input standard for many different blockchains. Still, it isn’t impossible, but it requires tons of backing and support from investors. This brings us to the next setback – costs.
Such a massive transition will also require significant investment. Many would argue this money, especially if it is taxpayer’s money, should go towards more pressing healthcare matters, such as cancer research funding. Some firms are trying to get sponsors by creating coins and tokens that can support healthcare blockchains.
Cumbersome Data Records
Another issue blockchain might have is recording large files onto its network. MRI scans and 3D microscopic files (used for dental imaging, for instance) might be too big for blockchains.
Healthcare organisations will need to consider how much data they can store. They might need to set a limit to avoid sacrificing the blockchain network’s performance.
To access electronic health information backed by blockchain technology, patients need to have their own private key. Think of it as a highly complex password that protects their medical data. However, blockchain networks work in such a way that a single private key can either:
- Protect all blocks of information.
- Protect a single block of information.
This means that each time a patient goes to the dentist to fix a cavity or get a blood checkup, they will create a new block in the system.
Therefore, it will need a new private key. As a result, this will drastically increase the price of storing and viewing healthcare data. In comparison, a single private key is much easier to breach, so that’s not an option either.
The Perks of Blockchain in Healthcare
Of course, while there are some challenges to the implementation of blockchain in healthcare, the perks are undeniable. Here are the most significant advantages:
- Speeds up verification and authentication systems.
- Creates improved security for medical records.
- Improves diagnosis speed, as doctors can easily access all patient data.
- Stops healthcare providers from accessing patient information systems without their explicit permission.
- Encourages patients to participate in clinical trials.
- Tracks information from medical devices.
- It can help track medicine, from its production to its delivery.
- Eliminates third parties, therefore cutting on expenses.
There are many companies trying to prove that blockchain-based medical support can work. If you’d like to explore such projects from all around the world, check out this article: 17 Examples of Blockchain in Healthcare.
How You Can Help Popularise Blockchain Technology in the Healthcare Industry
If you want to become part of the conversation and help popularise blockchain-based healthcare companies, there are several things you can do. Check out the following examples:
Support Crypto Healthcare Coins
One of the best ways you can support a blockchain healthcare company or product is to invest in some healthcare coins and tokens. That way, you are not only funding a project, but you also get additional perks. These include engaging with a like-minded community and using your tokens for polls and voting within the ecosystem.
If this is your first time buying crypto coins, we suggest that you find a broker who can help you with every step of the process and offer advice. Consider joining a reliable broker-matching site like Bit GPT, where you can instantly connect with a representative.
We recommend Bit GPT because it is free to register, and you only need to pay a small deposit ($250) to start using the service. Don’t worry, all of that money goes towards your investment.
Finally, if you are wondering which healthcare coins to choose, here is a short list based on their current market cap:
- SOLVE (SOLVE)
- AiMedis (AIMX)
- Dentacoin (DCN)
- Trial (TRL)
- Lympo (LYM)
- MedicalChain (MTN)
- Innovative Bioresearch Coin (INNBC)
- Hippocrat (HPO)
- Lyfe (LYFE)
Important: We urge you to thoroughly research all coins and projects you are planning to invest in. Remember that the crypto market is volatile, and prepare yourself for the risks.
Educate Yourself and Others
Of course, if investing in crypto healthcare coins isn’t something you can do at the moment, there are other options. You can show your support by talking about this topic.
Start by learning as much as you can about the technology and how it can be used in the healthcare industry. Now that you are aware of the perks, you can spread the word to others, including medical professionals, coworkers, and friends.
Volunteer for Blockchain Startups
Lastly, you can volunteer or collaborate with growing new firms and help them improve their product. For example, you can discover pain points and help them address their issues.
Are you looking to add volunteer work to your portfolio? It could be a win-win! The IEEE organisation is currently looking for support in its content department, for instance.
Final Thoughts – Can the Healthcare Industry Overcome These Challenges?
Blockchain in healthcare sounds like it could improve the way we handle medical data. However, there are several setbacks preventing its mass adoption. Companies that wish to use blockchain systems will need to find the right balance.
Since this technology is still evolving, they may need to sacrifice one of the following: decentralisation, security, or scalability.
That way, they can improve and work on the other two, making progress and creating the first steps to adopting this technology globally. Finally, the important thing to remember is that progress has to start somewhere.
A new system doesn’t have to be perfect, as long as it works better than the last one, right? Some change is better than no change, after all.