Deboleena Bhattacharyya1, Kavitha Duraipandian2, Sharanya Rajan3, Mithileysh Sathiyanarayanan4
1,2Department of Computer Science Engineering, SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Ramapuram Campus, India
3University Hospital Southampton, NHS, UK
4MIT Square Services Private Limited, London
The COVID outbreak has witnessed huge devastation on the global health front. For now, the vaccine is the only cost-effective health intervention to control the spread of the virus and completely eradicate it. In this letter, we discuss how blockchain technology has the potential to improve the healthcare system by creating vaccine awareness across the globe by focusing on parents, healthcare workers, frontline workers, policymakers, etc.
The importance of blockchain for enhancing the healthcare system
Various studies are being undertaken on how to incorporate blockchain technology into healthcare systems so that it may be easily accessed by individuals all around the world. Blockchain offers the ability to provide a single system for securely storing and accessing health information by authorized users in a timely and safe way . By avoiding misunderstandings between various healthcare staff involved in caring for the same patient, many mistakes can be prevented, faster diagnosis and treatments can be performed, and care can be tailored to each patient.
Technological breakthroughs are making a significant contribution to the improvement of healthcare. Blockchain technology is one example of such a technology. Blockchains have the potential to improve the healthcare system in a variety of ways.
- Low cost and decentralized system for healthcare data management: Securing health records and data costs a lot of money in the healthcare industry. Blockchain technology has the potential to improve healthcare data efficiency . Its decentralized data protection and support for a one-of-a-kind data storage pattern at the highest degree of security can help assuage concerns about data tampering in healthcare. This will provide yet another way to make the healthcare system more affordable.
- Aids medical personnel to safely and swiftly transmit health-related information: There is often a breakdown in communication across hospital systems when a patient receives therapy from various clinical institutions or is transferred to another institution for surgery. As a result, patients are required to repeat all clinical tests and provide a detailed account of their medical history, which is unnecessary. This challenge can be solved by incorporating blockchain technology into the communication process. Blockchain technology can aid in the secure transfer of patient data across national and international borders, as well as lower transaction costs and risks and enhance member health management coordination.
- Eliminates superfluous manual work such as billing in medical systems and verification: Because blockchains ensure data accuracy , some billing and healthcare processes may be automated using the technology. Automatic authentication and data correction, for example, might save costs while also reducing the scope of any mistakes.
- Provides transparency which allows proper prioritization of various health aspects: The blockchain is a distributed ledger that allows users to keep track of their data without depending on third parties . Numerous copies exist on multiple nodes all around the planet. Everything is safe, and each new brick connects to the one before it. Blockchain technology improves transparency by storing and making end-to-end facts available.
- Makes communication easy and safe between medical institutions: Smart contracts that are automated using Blockchain Technology can speed up transactions by eliminating the need for manual monitoring . The advent of far more comprehensive, digitized, and shared patient health records will have a significant influence on the healthcare business by allowing for more advanced analytics. Personalized medicine, for example, is a promising topic, but its progress is hampered by a scarcity of high-quality data. Much more robust segmentation and analysis of targeted medication outcomes would be possible if more trustworthy and widely available population-level data were available.
- Easy healthcare automation process due to single controlling platform: PPGISs (Public Participatory Geographical Information Systems) may be developed as democratic and decentralized systems that are open, transparent, and accountable using blockchain technology . The obtained data from people and collaborating institutions, such as urban planning and environmental management groups, is securely maintained on the blockchain thanks to the PPGIS being built on blockchain technology. Without any central control, the veracity of the data duplicated on the network’s nodes is assured by a consensus process. As a result, the data is tamper-proof and unchangeable.
Discussion and Conclusion
A covid certificate is simply a confirmation of two immunization doses. However, given the current trends in covid variations, a certificate is insufficient. A covid pass can be used as a digital document that records the date of the last vaccination dosage. And, based on the dosage’s expiration date, this pass may only be renewed after taking another booster dose. Because blockchain’s digital ledger record provides a continuous chain that documents every stage of the process, this data will be updated and maintained using blockchain technology. The final plan is to assign a unique identification number to each person’s passport who intends to go overseas. Using blockchain technology, this digital unique identifying number will be linked to the person’s whole vaccination and medical history data. This new passport will allow foreign travelers’ health history and vaccine updates to be verified instantaneously since blockchain provides reliable information.
If the blockchain ledger, in addition to the person’s medical history, also records one’s official documents and biometric information needed for verification, this digital identity number unique to each individual or passenger may be used as identity verification. This will not only improve the accuracy of the verification system, but it will also simplify the entire process because everything will be available in one place.
Future development will involve a more complete implementation of these blockchain-based applications, as well as more information on their success. In addition, as stated in this study, an in-depth investigation of the verification system employing digital identity numbers to link individuals’ medical history and immunization to their passports is needed.
- Kassab, J. DeFranco, T. Malas, G. Destefanis, and V. V. Graciano Neto, “Investigating Quality Requirements for Blockchain-Based Healthcare Systems,” 2019 IEEE/ACM 2nd International Workshop on Emerging Trends in Software Engineering for Blockchain (WETSEB), 2019, pp. 52-55, DOI: 10.1109/WETSEB.2019.00014.
- How blockchain is set to revolutionize the healthcare sector https://technative.io/how-blockchain-is-set-to-revolutionize-the-healthcare-sector/
- Chen, Hannah S et al. “Blockchain in Healthcare: A Patient-Centered Model.” Biomedical journal of scientific & technical research 20,3 (2019): 15017-15022.
- Abid Haleem, Mohd Javaid, Ravi Pratap Singh, Rajiv Suman, Shanay Rab, Blockchain technology applications in healthcare: An overview, International Journal of Intelligent Networks, Volume 2, 2021, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijin.2021.09.005.
- 5 blockchain healthcare use cases in digital health https://stlpartners.com/articles/digital-health/5-blockchain-healthcare-use-cases/
- Farnaghi M., Mansourian A.: Blockchain, an enabling technology for transparent and accountable decentralized public participatory GIS https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2020.102850
- Deloitte – Blockchain: opportunities for healthcare https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/public-sector/articles/blockchain-opportunities-for-health-care.html
- The Use of Blockchain in Healthcare https://cloudsecurityalliance.org/artifacts/the-use-of-blockchain-in-healthcare/