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Blockchain for Healthcare, COVID-19

COVID-19: Blockchain is Shaping the Future of Global Healthcare

It is the age of globalization that we live in where we have international bodies like the WHO, United Nations, etc. who make sure that the governments cooperate on global issues, like peace, economic health and otherwise. 

In the present context, where the world is fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, demands unhindered coordination between nations for a universal solution for mitigating the global health and the added economic calamity. 

To make that happen, organizations across geographies need to have access to real-time information that is accurate and unaltered. Reliable and authentic scientific/ medical data is key to and the provision of sharing it with concerned bodies is key to combating pandemic situations like the one we are facing at the moment. It not only helps the experts in understanding the situation but also assists in limiting the present contagion and prevent such future outbreaks. 

During a pandemic, short term quarantines, are just the initial course of action to contain the virus. The real antidote or long-term solution is in cooperation and collaboration rather than the segregation of governments and international bodies. Such an approach is not only needed on a social level but also from the technological point of view.

Technology allows individuals, organizations, and countries to share and work efficiently with substantial volumes of data during a crisis. However, the kind of overflow of information that such a global crisis will lead to is tough for the legacy systems to manage. That’s where new-age technologies like Blockchain come into action. 

Over the last couple of months, all over the world multiple use cases of DLT have surfaced in healthcare mostly. Being integrated with the traditional system, Blockchain has proven to be exceptional in maintaining data reliability and interoperability within a highly secured platform, that has initiated the formation of a trusted ecosystem. 

Blockchain Technology and Global Healthcare 

In times of a pandemic crisis, like that of the COVID-19, access to reliable data is key to its effective mitigation. The data here includes clinical information, medical supply chain, billing management and likewise. Interoperability, between concerning healthcare and medical research bodies, comes next. 

Luckily, Blockchain technology, owing to its make and underlying values, has proven to be ideal for maintaining all of the above and what’s more, it is shaping the future of global healthcare. 

Also read: Drug Development and Treatments for COVID-19

Security and Data Reliability

 The healthcare industry, regularly, maintains tons of data, concerning various areas within the operations. It just multiplies in a pandemic situation. There are risks of mishandling, misplacement, and altercations to the actual data, all of which can add to the woes of an already emergency. Putting Blockchain technology into the mix streamlines the process and ensures that none of the above happens. A DLT system works in the following ways:

  • In terms of privacy and management of patient data, each can be given a unique identified code or number along with a smart contract between the patient and the hospital and health organization. Such a system ensures that the data is authentic and reliable. It works exceptionally well for clinical trials and increases the chances of a faster and more efficient diagnosis. 
  • All patient data entered into the immutable system becomes traceable without the risk of getting altered. It also ensured the privacy of an individual’s medical information. 

Interoperability

The value of Blockchain lies in its decentralized nature. The data instead of being stored in one server is shared among multiple participants across different locations. It allows all parties within a single blockchain network to access the data easily, which speeds up the collaboration between concerned bodies for treatment and even drug development for the pandemic. Interoperability and the promise of security promote cooperation among health officials around the world. 

Future Implications of Blockchain in Healthcare 

Amid the novel coronavirus crisis, the World Health Organization has acknowledged the power that Blockchain possesses in offering a secured platform for data sharing and collaboration among global health and medical organizations.

The WHO has launched its DLT network, which will serve as a platform that will easy sharing and authentication of medical data that’s coming from all over the world concerning possible contagion spots, patients’ health records, drug developments on progress, clinical trials and likewise.

It is just one of the many pilot healthcare blockchain projects that have made headlines in recent times. Such developments in the technological sphere have had experts to believe that the number of such projects is only to increase in number in the coming days, as a world finally gets to realize amid a crisis the true value of the technology. 

It won’t be an exaggeration to say that Blockchain technology through its recent applications has paved the way for a more connected and optimized global healthcare, that will be strong enough to deal with future outbreaks in a much better manner, with less collateral.    

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