As blockchain technology becomes more mainstream, the benefits of using smart contracts in healthcare are becoming more widely understood. But many still do not realise the positive impact they can have on the industry.
One of the most powerful use cases for blockchain lies in smart contracts. The security and safety of blockchain technology makes smart contracts and their digital agreements suitable for any domain, including healthcare. With the increased number of patients needing medical care, there has been a significant strain on healthcare providers.
Managing patients’ health information, records, and data has become a large task for many practitioners. Additionally, there have been many cases of fraud due to the vulnerability of the outdated systems currently in use. These issues cannot be solved by practitioners alone. This is where smart contracts come in.
Smart contracts can be used daily in health insurance and could reduce many inefficiencies in the current system. If patients use smart contracts to buy their insurance, all details of their policy will be automatically secured in their patient profile. This is then stored on the blockchain – a safe and secure ledger which is less prone to hackers than a traditional database.
They could also eliminate the stress involved in having to file lengthy insurance claim forms. If an insuree was to go through a medical procedure that is covered by the insurance policy, the smart contract would be automatically triggered. This means that the money from the insurance company’s account will go straight to the hospital. This automation cuts out any delays and hassle and allows for correct payments of medical services. In turn, this would speed up all transactions between parties and ensure the procedure does not get delayed.
Smart contracts allow records and information to be stored on a digital ledger. This means if a patient was moving from one hospital to another, they would be able to do so with ease and without having to fill out numerous forms. Records can then also be viewed by the patient’s preferred physician on the blockchain network.
Hospitals and healthcare companies rely on a number of databases filled with patient information. However, these can be too restrictive to allow for the sharing of potentially life-saving insights around the globe. Without blockchain and smart contracts, this information may take a long time to reach the recipient and could potentially be hacked.
If health records were kept in a smart contract and stored on the blockchain, that information would be available to hospitals and research institutions everywhere. With sufficient adoption, an individual could walk into any hospital in the world for treatment, and if they produce their private key, the hospital would have access to their information in a heartbeat.
Telemedicine is a medical field that is growing by the day. It allows physicians and doctors to reach their patients through the use of electronic devices, such as mobile phones and other IoT devices. It is primarily used for providing care for the terminally ill. Telemedicine allows doctors to take care of prescription compliance and collate real-time data measurements of their patients’ conditions. These modern advancements are helping to increase interoperability and reduce admin inefficiency whilst enhancing patient outcomes.
However, Telemedicine has downsides as the mechanisms involved are a large target for hackers. If smart contracts are used, the safety and privacy of a patient’s information and other important clinical data can be ensured. Smart contracts can be implemented on a large scale and stored on the blockchain to share and protect the data. They can also help to maintain data and ensure patients’ private information is stored securely and in a transparent manner.
Smart contracts combined with blockchain technology represent the future of healthcare and medicine. They embrace high-level encryption and security that allows users, patients, and doctors to have trust that their information is safe and attack-proof.