In health, the progress of science and technology merits the advancement of society’s overall capability to care for health. Whether it be health practices, healthcare or health programs, science and technology – as they advance, places society in a much better position to care for a person’s life stages.
Healthcare services are defined by its quality and rate of delivery – which are vital in response to a patient’s need. In the distribution of medicine, the supply-chain is vital in delivering medicine to the sickly and to people that are dependent on it for maintenance.
According to the six aims of the Institute of Medicine’s journal in improving the US Healthcare entitled “Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century”
- Make it safer
The goal of the program is to improve the overall quality and delivery of the healthcare system with precision and better transparency. This will benefit patients the population.
However, such lofty goals must be attained realistically. Healthcare costs have steadily risen over the past two decades with a 5 (5) percent increase annually. By 2025, the healthcare cost in the US is estimated to be worth $5.7 trillion. A huge contributor to the cost of healthcare is the administration cost to go alongside labor, equipment, logistics and maintenance.
Add to the healthcare rising costs are the inefficiencies of the current system:
- Hospitals in the US destroy $800 million of expired drugs annually, according to estimates.
- About 4,500 drugs and medical devices are recalled every year, and 5% of those recalls are considered life-threatening.
- Nurses spend an average of 21 minutes per shift searching for lost equipment.
- Hospitals use their mobile clinical devices, such as ventilators and heart monitors, only 42% of the time—more than half the time those devices sit idle. The upshot: Hospitals buy more mobile equipment than they need.
With the large cost and inefficiency of the medical process from admission, diagnosis and delivery of the medical supply chain, the quality of the patient experience is experiencing a drop in quality and expectations.
As nascent technology improves, healthcare must also adopt technology’s innovation in order to improve delivery and quality. Below is the potential of Blockchain in the medical supply chain:
Combat Counterfeit Medicine
The war on counterfeit medicine will be greatly reinforced as every parcel of manufactured drugs from pharmaceuticals is now traceable through unique serial identifiers even through out the entire supply chain system. From manufacturing, to logistics, distribution, pharmacies and patient prescription, Blockchain can make the supply-chain patient-centric through traceability. This improves several layers of trust and ensures that only genuine drugs are given to patients.
With Blockchain, hospitals and pharmacies can instantly verify the authenticity of a medical shipment under a pharmaceutical manufacturer.
Insuring that the receives their prescribed medicine through a pharmacy is another function of Blockchain. With smart contracts, medical insurance and medical grants are tied-in to a patient’s health records. As they update their condition based on recovery, the medical contract can adjust the prescribed medicine or dosage with the latest patient information in-hand. This allows doctors, clinics and pharmacies to better coordinate prescription for a patient.
Internet of Things Connectivity
The internet of things (IoT) will connect smart devices like never before. Medical devices and patient monitoring devices will be able to commune real-time patient data to clinics, hospitals and pharmacists. In using smart medical contracts, a patient’s emergency prescriptions are always on-stock and is better coordinated without layers of information harnessing.
Blockchain as a nascent technology will revolutionize the medical and healthcare society through automation, high-level of efficiency and better health information coordination that bypasses layers of time-consuming tasks of medical & health administration.