BLOCKCHAIN AND HEALTHCARE IN THE UAE
13 Nov 2018
Blockchain has gained huge power as a revolutionary technology, reshaping modern infrastructure throughout the world. With the Dubai Blockchain Strategy, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) aims to be an international leader in innovation and technology, with a goal to be the first blockchain-powered government by 2020. With a vision to be the world’s first fully blockchain-powered smart city, Dubai has now developed a blockchain system for healthcare professionals. What implications could the concept of blockchain have on healthcare in the region?
Through adoption of blockchain, there will easily be a decrease in errors, inaccuracies and selective reporting, aiding to effective medical research globally. Further, a blockchain-enabled system could allow doctors throughout the world to collect, store and access information, driving better medical processes through the sharing of valuable data. Of course, standards must be upheld so that the privacy and confidentiality of patients is not compromised but, essentially, the analysis of vast global archives of clinical data can yield information and results that are vital to effective medical research. Also, through evidence-based practice and quality monitoring, it can enhance clinical healthcare for patients globally.
2. Patient-generated data and empowerment
Blockchain enables patients to have full access and control over their personal records. This allows them to check, utilize and stay informed of their health statuses, medication requirements and recognition of medical costs etc. The recorded history and encrypted links to medical records which blockchain would enable, for example, could help in monitoring personal health through health apps and would reduce the risk of data reconciliation.
3. Managing billing and payments
With the help of blockchain-based solutions, all tests, reports, billing and payments can be, tracked in real-time, allowing the healthcare billing system to be more transparent. Thus, the system would decrease the possibility of fraud, enabling higher levels of trust between practitioners and patients, as well as reducing administrative and technical costs.
The healthcare sector is no newbie to fraudulent activity and data breaches. The blockchain system promises security, through data immutability, secure data transfer, patient identity protection and private keys, which require strict verification. In essence, blockchain functions as self-authenticating technology, guaranteeing accuracy and verification, minimizing the need for any middlemen which have the potential of breaching security.
5. Secure and reliable supply-chain
From development of a drug, to the testing phase and to delivering drugs to a patient’s home, an integrated blockchain system could secure the supply chain process and lower the risk of fraud through smart contracts, transfer of assets and distributed ledgers. Blockchain may offer a trustworthy way of measuring provider quality, of both medical supplies and physicians, improving the overall quality of the healthcare infrastructure.
As one of the most promising emerging technologies, it’s clear that blockchain has a future in the developments of the UAE, and around the globe. Blockchain is creating opportunities to reduce complexities, resistances and is enabling a secure system for conclusive, accurate information. Whilst providing solutions and efficiency in current medical practices, the blockchain system has the power and potential to shape the future of healthcare as we know it.
For Dubai specifically, the technology has the potential to improve and streamline the quality of healthcare and enhance the overall happiness and wellbeing of Dubai’s residents, paving the way for a happier smarter future in the city.