We’ve seen the success of blockchain in other industries as a significant data management tool, and we’re now starting to see its usefulness in healthcare. Currently, the healthcare industry has important information housed across multiple management systems, making information exchange difficult and, sometimes, impossible. According to HIT Consultant, blockchain offers a solution to this issue by recording “exchanges and transactions in a database that can be distributed and shared across authorized users that can add to it, when needed.” This revolutionary data management strategy will take the current systems and completely change them. Here are two major ways we’ll see blockchain benefit the healthcare field:

Medical Records: With blockchain, all medical records for each patient can be stored in one localized location. Doctors won’t have to spend copious amounts of time to find what they’re looking for. These “longitudinal patient records” give healthcare providers access to every office visit, test, diagnosis, and procedure the patient has ever received. Once written into blockchain, the medical record cannot be changed, ensuring optimal integrity of the documents. There will be no question about what information is correct or the most up to date. While there is still a great deal to be considered with regards to patient privacy, and controlling access, overall centralization of medical records in this form is likely to produce positive outcomes.

Patient Consent: Each state has different consent laws and paperwork, which can make caring for a patient difficult at times. Recording patient consent information into a blockchain system will make the information sharing process simpler. Forbes reveals that “Any party seeking to exchange medical data about a patient could check the blockchain for permission to do so.” No matter where a patient is treated, this will expedite the process and reduce confusion about records.

Utilizing blockchain in healthcare is the next step in streamlining data management. Not only does blockchain offer more sophisticated organization,  it also provides optimal security for highly sensitive information. While, blockchain integration into healthcare is possible, there are certainly obstacles. For one, the industry as a whole must be willing to set up the necessary measures to make it work, requiring the leaders within numerous branches to devote resources to integration. This is not something that will happen overnight. Healthcare leaders will have their work cut out for them in order to ensure correct implementation. This new data management strategy has already taken off for other industries in the past few years, and it is likely that we will continue to see it grow and eventually make inroads into the healthcare industry.