How Blockchain Technology Can Help The Healthcare System During This Covid-19 Crisis

The world is almost at a total standstill. The corona pandemic has brought with it issues that weren’t previously expected. Businesses, schools, and even churches have closed down to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus. However, in times like these, technology has always proven to be very useful in keeping things alive. COVID-19 offers an opportunity for innovative technologies to emerge and solve existing issues and help to end the crises.

As far as this healthcare crisis is concerned, blockchain can be seen as a streamlining technology that helps to manage the outbreak. Below we highlight multiple ways how blockchain can help the healthcare system to battle COVID-19. 

Ease Sharing And Management of Medical Data

The world is almost at a total standstill. The corona pandemic has brought with it issues that weren’t previously expected. Businesses, schools, and even churches have closed down to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus. However, in times like these, technology has always proven to be very useful in keeping things alive. COVID-19 offers an opportunity for innovative technologies to emerge and solve existing issues and help to end the crises.

As far as this healthcare crisis is concerned, blockchain can be seen as a streamlining technology that helps to manage the outbreak. Below we highlight multiple ways how blockchain can help the healthcare system to battle COVID-19. 

Optimize The Supply Chain

For long, the pharmaceutical industry has been plagued by cases of fake drugs being smuggled into the market. Blockchain technology can put a stop to that by maintaining the integrity of the supply chain to eliminate risks of administering counterfeit drugs to vulnerable COVID-19 victims or issuing ineffective PPEs (Personal Protection Equipment) to frontline health workers. Blockchain can be used to track supplies right from production to the final destination and mode of usage. This ensures that no unauthorized supplies get into the market. 

Also, patients and medical practitioners can access real-time information about the drugs and other essential supplies needed to combat coronavirus and their availability in their locality. The system can also track donations and make sure they reach the intended beneficiaries. Blockchain technology is already being employed in supply chains by famous companies like Walmart, IBM, and UPS.

Improve Medical Research Coordination And Drug Development

In the wake of the corona pandemic, the healthcare system has been overwhelmed by increasing cases of COVID-19 positive tests, prompting researches to spring into action to find a cure or vaccine for the disease.  Blockchain tech can come in handy in this case by enabling scientists/researchers to upload their ongoing research trajectory and trails onto a universal data pool system. This way, scientists around the world can share insights regarding the possible cure or vaccine. This would also ensure no duplication of research that could waste resources and human resources. Such a system would significantly improve the chances of a coronavirus cure or vaccine being found faster. 

Besides that, a time-stamped blockchain system can log all research uploaded by each particular scientist regardless of their popularity or funding, making it easier to manage patents and correctly attribute discoveries to prevent plagiarism and theft of intellectual property.

Management Of Claims And Bills

The medical industry has been plagued with numerous cases of false or inaccurate billing as well as issues regarding insurance claims. These issues have sometimes strained the relationship among the patients, the healthcare facilities, and the payers. With blockchain technology, these issues wouldn’t exist, and that could make a huge difference, especially during this corona pandemic, when so many people are frequenting healthcare facilities.

Also, blockchain enables the sharing of billing information among the stakeholders without relying on external service providers (like third-party claims processors), thereby saving time and money. This makes it easier for the parties involved to coordinate in processing insurance claims and making sure that no incorrect information is held on any one side, especially regarding payer networks. Since all data is digitally accessible by all parties, it reduces logistical burdens that would otherwise need piles of paperwork to be filled out.

Case Tracking

Coronavirus has been spreading fast since it was first reported in late 2019. Over the months, various stakeholders have sought to develop a universal system to track the spread of the virus across the world, with noted hotspots as well as effective means to trace contacts to get ahead of the disease. A blockchain system can accomplish that goal by making all the tracking data accessible to everyone at a central information outlet updated by medical staff working in COVID-19 stricken areas across the world.

In effect, vulnerable regions can get an early warning and institute preventative measures immediately. Any positive case is reported within them. Granted, areas that have been lucky enough to warn residents early adequately have recorded lower rates in terms of the spread of the disease. However, a blockchain system can fast track this process and help make significant headway towards ending the crisis.

Conclusion

With all those applications blockchain will have the potential to play a crucial role in supporting the healthcare system with the current pandemic. Even if those applications aren’t wide spread yet or in a proof-of concept phase. Those will be on the frontline in a future outbreak.

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