Having made significant inroads into the financial solutions ecosystem, blockchain technology is beginning to solve the fundamental problems experienced in the healthcare sector, especially in developing countries.
Double spending, and control of transaction protocols by financial institutions are the challenges in finance that the blockchain technology is currently solving. Developing nations seem to be the bigger beneficiaries of this, given the restrictions and challenges they face in transacting and joining in the global market.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are currently bringing solutions to these irregularities by introducing platforms that enable seamless, unrestricted and uncontrolled money transfer.
Can blockchain solve the challenges facing the healthcare system in developing nations? How can the blockchain technology help developing nations tackle deficiencies in the healthcare system?
20-30% of drugs in circulation today are counterfeits, and developing countries suffer the most from this vice. Low and medium-income countries suffer 90% of the world’s prevailing diseases, but compose only 12% of the world’s health expenditure. Hence, developing countries are plagued with insufficient manpower in the healthcare sector, inefficient facilities at the health centers, few and inadequate health centers, inefficient use of technology and poor data systems.
How can blockchain improve this situation?
Decentralization, security, and immutability are the core features of the blockchain technology. These features can be harnessed to fix these challenges in the healthcare system, especially in the developing regions of the world.
Helping citizens of developing nations live healthier lives
Exploiting the decentralized and global nature of the blockchain, platforms are being designed that give patients in developing nations the opportunity to access healthcare services remotely. Projects like Cura network are focusing on building a global decentralized healthcare system that will give developing nations the opportunity to live healthier and happier lives, using the power of the blockchain technology.
The platform is built to power a plethora of health services that will reduce delay, cost and inefficiencies in healthcare delivery through efficient, secure and seamless data interoperability among healthcare providers and third party organizations.
With the platform, patients, healthcare specialists, developers, researchers and third party organizations (like health insurance givers) can collaborate to provide better healthcare delivery and experience.
Enhancing Accessibility While Simplifying Existing Processes
This will bring healthcare to their door steps, improve their health standards, eliminate the need for more physical health centers, reduce the cost of healthcare in these regions and allows doctors to attend to more patients with minimum resources. This will also give patients immediate access to expert ideas and services that may not be available in their locations.
Blockchain technology is also being used to build platforms where doctors and caregivers can be paid in real time easily and seamlessly using cryptocurrencies. This will eliminate the delay posed by the payment procedures that plague the healthcare delivery system in these countries, improving healthcare experience and saving lives.
A decentralized health data system to store patients record
Inefficient patient record keeping system (some are paper based till date) is a big issue in the healthcare industry. It has been identified as one of the root causes of delay in treatment and eventual loss of many lives.
Harnessing the decentralized and secure nature of the blockchain technology, global and decentralized healthcare platforms can be designed to store patients’ health records. An efficient data system like this will provide health centers in developing countries with secure and easy to access health records.
Seamless and easy to access health records will ensure adequate and fast medical treatment, This will ensure adequate healthcare delivery for the patients, reduce the health costs and overheads for medical centers.
Drug supply chain tracking
20%-30% of drugs in circulation are counterfeit as mentioned above, and developing nations are the primary target for the distribution of these drugs. The blockchain technology due to its public nature can be used to track drug delivery from the manufacturers to the final consumers.
Special tags can be used on the drugs and stored on the blockchain network. These records can be accessed anytime to verify the authenticity of drugs. This will eliminate the spread and menace of counterfeit drugs in circulation.
Poor data management system
The healthcare industry suffers the most data breach, with as high as over $330 dollars per record compromised. This is a lot of cost for developing countries. This is due to the insecure nature of their medical record keeping system.
Secure and efficient record keeping systems can be designed with the blockchain technology, this will reduce the cost of record keeping in the part of the medical caregivers and reduce the overall cost of accessing healthcare.
Easy access to healthcare, secure medical records, reduced cost of healthcare, and elimination of counterfeit drugs are some of the benefits that the blockchain technology can be used in improving healthcare in developing nations.