The technology world is currently abuzz with the relatively new advancement known as Blockchain.
Most people associate Blockchain with cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin.
However, there is much more to Blockchain than most people recognize.
How Does Blockchain Work?
Blockchain is a technology which is used to create data records which can then be shared via a peer to peer system. The best thing about Blockchain technology is that it does not allow for manipulation of data before the data reaches the recipient. This ensures that the data is safe from threats such as hackers.
Blockchain technology is already showing massive success in various industries around the world. For instance, data provided by the Silicon Republic shows that banks that have adopted the use of Bitcoin save between 8-12 billion dollars annually. Financial services firms too note the btc loophole for the distributed ledger technology has the potential to generate wide-ranging savings.
How Can It Work In Healthcare?
Blockchain technology can improve healthcare in the following ways:
1. Improved Data Management.
Medical data increases every day in hospitals as the hospitals continue to receive more customers. This creates a new struggle for hospitals as they try to store new data. Such data includes:
2. Patient information, Medical Insurance claims, Data from patient monitoring systems.
Such information is usually sensitive and critical to the wellbeing of patients. The use of blockchain ensures that no unauthorised person can change or remove any information from the system.
To ensure that the data hasn’t been interfered with, information generated through Blockchain can be anchored to the public blockchain. This allows any user to verify the information. This will ensure the integrity of data since no one will be able to interfere with it. Hospitals will begin to notice greater transparency and accountability in healthcare.
3. Safety & Security
Blockchain provides a safer option for storing and sharing data since it is virtually immune to hackers. It requires monumental effort and resources to hack into Blockchain. In addition, even if a hacker manages to get the resources, hacking into Blockchain still remains a major shot in the dark.
This will ensure that patient records remain as confidential as they should be. It will also ensure that medical insurance claims are settled with integrity.
A Solution to Fraudulent Drug Dealers.
The use of Blockchain can be used to weed out fraudulent drug dealers. Blockchain technology records every transaction. This means that a registered drug can be traced from the manufacturer to where it eventually ends up.
Aetna Partners with IBM.
Aetna and other insurers recognized the potential of Blockchain in the health industry and decided to partner with IBM. The partnership is set to cut costs in the healthcare industry by using Blockchain systems developed by IBM.
The companies that have partnered with IBM want to use blockchain to enhance processing of medical insurance claims and to maintain proper records of transactions. They intend to take advantage of the fact that Blockchain guarantees the integrity of information. They have been motivated by the success that Blockchain has achieved in the financial sector.
PNC Bank and Anthem are other companies that have joined Aetna in partnering with IBM. One of their executives, Chris Ward expresses his delight and his expectations with the use of Blockchain technology. He stated that he now expects that industry vices such as duplication and inflated administrative costs will be eliminated by the use of Blockchain technology. The statement announcing the deal stated that other technology and healthcare providers are set to join the deal in the coming months.
This is not the first such alliance to be formed between healthcare providers and technology providers. A few months before this deal, some healthcare firms such as Hamana and Ascension formed an alliance with technology providers. The goal of this deal was to explore how the technology can be used to make healthcare information more accessible through directories. Aetna is also a partner in this project.
The numbers involved in this deal are absolutely staggering. Aetna alone serves around 40 million people around the world. This means that through Aetna, Blockchain technology will be introduced to 40 million new users. This will undoubtedly lead to the technology’s growth and potential for change in the healthcare industry.
The other healthcare providers also account for large numbers. PNC and two other insurers in the deal account for over 55 million members. Health Care Service Corporation and Anthem Inc. account for about 15 million and 40 million members respectively.
The world of technology is ever-changing and may be around the corner something better than Blockchain will emerge. Currently, however, Blockchain is the bird in hand. Its benefits are clear to see as it has already been used in the financial sector.
The partnership between Aetna and IBM will really put this technology under the test. If it proves successful it will pave the way for other service providers to adopt this amazing technology.