Blockchain poised to disrupt healthcare and senior care stands to gain significantly

|June 4, 2018 0

Sunny Kapoor

Commerce has for centuries relied primarily on two things, namely trust and verified identities. On a much more simple note, having complete trust on what is being exchanged, and who is it that’s participating and confirming it!

Modern commerce and neo-classical economics have its roots in ‘mercantilism,’ or the trading activities professed by the Italian city-states fourteenth century and onwards. What was once a very direct and in-person transactional process is nowadays mostly conducted online, and this further necessitates ‘brokering’ by commercial intermediaries.

The simpleton requirement for entities such as governments, or banks, and other central authorities is in the verification of each transactional party’s identity, and for establishing requisite trust in-between them. 

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The basic theoretical concepts of commerce are still very much the same, though the methods have grown exponentially complex and this need for intermediaries also translates into inefficiencies of increased waiting time and costings as well as fraudulent activities.

Crossing the threshold here, Blockchain technology, which has been dubbed by technology experts and influential spokespersons as a Chain of Trust is expected to transform the way certain tasks are performed in many contemporary industries of the economy. 

Undoubtedly, blockchain is finding ready applications in many industries and sectors of world economies. It’s slowly enveloping everything. Key characteristics of a blockchain enabled ecosystem include an absence of a central point of control, strong data integrity, high availability, and network-wide consensus. And speculation is rife that the blockchain boom is just around the corner.

Holding fragmented healthcare records together 

There’s a huge list of benefits that are offered by medical records on the blockchain.

The good thing is that the overall data pertaining to healthcare records is over 150 exabytes. Almost 80 percent of this data goes unused, and if used correctly, it can have a life-saving impact. With blockchain, advanced analytics of these records can make possible tailor-made treatments, particularly for the 50 million people living with dementia.

Instead of fiddling through multiple drawers and cupboards, these digital health records can be instantly retrieved from a secure online platform. This will provide patients and family members a better control over who has access to their data as well.

Creating an age-friendly ecosystem

But the question that we really ought to ask is that is it really a force of progression if it fails to add value in everybody’s life? Like, with absolutely no bias against any age or sex. 

Perhaps not.  

Furthermore, technological innovations and scientific methods can only possibly engage those demographics which are able to comprehend its dynamics and avail the benefits. This is another pressing concern especially for the not so tech-friendly. The aged care sectors arguably don’t stand to benefit much from blockchains’ eventual realization. 

The digital age has resulted in a culture of ‘online profiling’, which is better known as reviewing. From the latest toothbrush purchased online to the services of creative agencies. We review everything. But do we ever even think about reviewing an aged-care employee or worker?

However, with the world around us ageing, it’s time to build a transparent age-friendly ecosystem. UN reports that currently 1 in 9 people you meet will be over the age of 60, and by 2050 this number is expected to go up to 1 in 5. And that’s precisely why the senior care sector demands urgent attention of this novel technology.

Blockchain provides for an ecosystem where trained professionals, nursing and other care staff can fetch suitable jobs, and families of patients can avail the best help according to preference. With blockchain, we can eliminate the intermediaries and ensure that our seniors can live a healthier life without having to spend all their savings on it. Additionally, smart contracts can ensure fair and timely payments for all stakeholders involved.

Creating a fair market for old age healthcare products and services 

There’s a huge array of aged care products that our seniors need to live life, from hearing aids to transportation equipment. The opportunity is grand, and that’s why we can expect huge monopolies and outrageous prices to claw their way through the sector.

But, like any industry, the market of senior care is also controlled and manipulated by the big names. As it has been pointed out numerous times, blockchain takes control from the few with ‘power’ and distributes it to the many with ‘purpose.’

And with blockchain, power ought to shift to the ones who are availing these services instead of the ones who are providing them. Further, with such a system in place, we can surely bid farewell to the scams worth of billions of dollars, and the chaotic business processes.

The blockchain is undoubtedly an emerging powerhouse that is poised to revolutionize most of the sectors that exist today, including the aged care sector. And it’s only a matter of time before this novel tech’s applications transform the senior medicare industry, and from there onwards, hopefully, the entire healthcare industry along with its auxiliary sectors. 

The author is CEO, GladAge

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