Blockchain technology has the potential to radically transform various sectors of society. Economics and business, as well as healthcare relies on sensitive information of consumers. Blockchain is an innovative way to store and share data in a more organized way which is less vulnerable to external hacking. The implications of this technology will impact our day to day interactions, whether that be in a bank or at the doctor’s office.

More broadly, interactions between world economies will be more transparent. Most people tend to associate blockchain technology with the idea of cryptocurrency. With the sudden rise of Bitcoin, initial coin offering (ICO) funding will continue to grow in popularity. The benefit of these ICOs is that it eliminates an intermediary between investors and creators. Regulatory compliance bodies, banks, and stock exchanges are unnecessary, so start ups are able to funnel their investments directly into their business. The global impact of these financial blockchain applications has brought about anxieties.

Because cryptocurrency can be easily transferred across the globe, it is incredibly challenging for regulatory bodies or authorities to monitor the movement of these cryptocurrencies. Although this method could potentially attract a wide range of investors from all over the world, it could also provide a blanket of anonymity for individuals involved in illegal behaviors. On a more microscale, the financial application of blockchain technology simplifies virtually each monetary transaction. Without the need for a mediating body, purchasing a car, applying for a loan, and sending money abroad is easier and more accurate.

In terms of healthcare, transparency and the secure sharing of medical histories has been one of the biggest challenges to effective healthcare treatment. Currently, in order to transfer your medical history to another provider, you need to contact your primary physician office and request a file transfer. And because medical histories are shuttled around, they can often be inaccurate or out of date. By transitioning to an electronic health record system, the sharing of vital information and the ability to follow the progression of a patient from birth to death would allow physicians and medical personnel the opportunity to provide more effective care.

Additionally, a blockchain health system would standardize the format of all entries, improving health transactions. It would also allow regulatory bodies the ability to monitor and control the supply of pharmaceuticals. Maintaining the supply chain integrity of drugs would reestablish trust between distributors, manufacturers, providers, and patients. In an industry where there are so many transactions and services offered, maintaining a ledger of interactions will allow hospital systems to better understand provider patient interactions and what improves patient outcomes.

Although there are current electronic health record systems in place throughout the country, these are often expensive for hospitals, vary widely across platforms, and lack a centralized entity which would increase the accessibility and flow of data. All of these blockchain applications will allow hospitals to provide better care experiences, which will in turn drive the cost of care down. Not only will blockchain improve healthcare delivery, but it will make it cheaper. On a larger scale, blockchain technology would revolutionize medical research.

Patient recruitment across the entire globe would be possible with a single blockchain database unique to a specific pathology. It would allow researchers from across the world to access sensitive information and collaborate with providers to develop the next generation of life saving Treatments.

Blockchain has a plethora of applications; however, most prominently, the future of blockchain will transform interactions in business and within healthcare. The security granted by this technology will improve the efficacy of information transfer, and will ultimately result in an improved US healthcare system. William Mougayar, who has been described as the most sophisticated blockchain business thinker, has described blockchain as, “a tsunami-like phenomenon, slowly advancing and gradually enveloping everything along its way by the force of its progression.” Mougayar recognized the transformative power of blockchain; it will radically transform our relationship with finances and patient care.

Author's Bio: 

I am a computer science professor. Being a tech enthusiast I keep close tabs on trends and will be glad to share and discuss the latest wrapups in the field with the community.