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How smart contracts can improve efficiency in healthcare

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Smart contracts They are lines of self-executing code that run on the blockchain and are triggered once a set of predefined conditions are met. They are used to automate the execution of agreements over the Internet without the involvement of third parties. Today, they are used in many industries, including the healthcare industry.

The healthcare sector would benefit greatly from widespread implementation of these self-executing programs, particularly when it comes to streamlining tedious manual processes, automating bureaucratic procedures, and mitigating problems caused by human error.

Today, many healthcare organizations rely on traditional, highly centralized management systems to handle sensitive tasks such as record keeping, transactions, and correspondence. While some traditional systems can do some tasks very well, many are prone to failure due to limited interoperability, data corruption and lack of transparency.

The good news is that smart contracts can solve many of these problems.

How do smart contracts work

Smart contracts can be programmed to perform a wide variety of tasks. It could, for example, be programmed to record payment information on the blockchain as soon as a transaction takes place while ensuring that only entities with authorized access can view the details.

In the healthcare industry, companies can use smart contracts to send salaries to employees, record patient information, and notify insurance companies of pending medical bills.

Smart contract software is usually deployed in compatible runtime environments. On the Ethereum blockchain, for example, Smart contract codes are executed via Ethereum virtual machineWhich supports the installation of decentralized applications, including smart contracts.

Smart contracts in medical records

Medical records are an essential part of patient management. Smart contracts can be used to create patient profiles on the blockchain while allowing doctors and related medical practitioners to view past medical records. This will allow them to come up with better treatment procedures based on the patient’s previous treatment history and subsequent results.

Such a setup would save lives and help doctors avoid problems related to medical negligence. Health centers can also create smart contracts to track health complications arising from side effects of treatment and code them to share the information with partner drug manufacturers and medical associations that have not yet disclosed the full side effects of new drugs.

It is also possible to obtain smart contracts that send patient information to insurance companies for the purposes of patient compensation claims to facilitate these processes.

Simplify billing and collection issues

The lack of effective healthcare billing systems can present many challenges to healthcare organizations, especially when it comes to managing the revenue cycle. Billing and collection errors can hinder optimal service if they cause major outages.

Trustless blockchain networks that include smart contracts can mitigate many of these challenges by ensuring that detailed checklists are implemented to avoid common mistakes.

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These systems may be useful in cases where there are pre-existing transparency issues. The use of smart lockers for multi-signature contracts would ensure consensus within the department to avoid related problems.

Additionally, storing billing information on the blockchain will help prevent issues with data loss due to the immutable nature of decentralized ledger networks.

Speed ​​and privacy

Late transmissions of medical information sometimes result in poor service. Smart contracts have the potential to change this by disseminating patient information across relevant departments in healthcare organizations. Some smart contract systems are able to generate unique anonymous identifiers that can be used to anonymously identify each patient in order to protect their privacy.

Furthermore, they can be set up to prevent unauthorized access and, at the same time, allow checking of records by employees, partners, and regulators.

The data can also be used for many purposes, including clinical research.

However, smart contracts that manage confidential patient information sometimes require periodic security audits, which can lead to disclosure of sensitive information.

Smart contracts to counter fake medicines

Hundreds of millions of dollars of counterfeit medicines find their way into the healthcare industry each year. Fake medicines cause financial losses to pharmacies and hospitals, and sometimes lead to the death of victims who take them. The flow of these counterfeit medicines is enabled by inefficient supply chain systems that cannot trace the origin of the medicines supplied.

Healthcare Alternatives can use smart contracts to detect counterfeit medicines by confirming supply chain data provided by manufacturers. Implementation of such systems would allow medicines to be tracked using custodian records as they travel through the supply chain.

Because the data is stored on the blockchain, which is transparent, healthcare organizations and their suppliers can easily identify supply chain vulnerabilities that lead to the entry of counterfeit medicines.

Cointelegraph had the opportunity to speak with Jay Newing, founder of Immunify.Life, about the issue. His company specializes in developing secure and self-sustaining blockchain networks for the healthcare industry. According to the executive, there are many ways to counter this problem, including withholding payments for drugs that are not from legitimate sources.

“For example, a smart contract could be programmed so that drug retailers need to pay for items received only when certain terms that could have been tampered with at any point in the supply chain have not been tampered with. This enhances drug safety and the healthcare ecosystem as a whole.”

Alex Pipushev, founder of blockchain services firm GTON Capital, said that blockchain supply chain systems are evolving at a rapid pace and will likely cater to a wide range of healthcare services while increasing their utility.

“Blockchain is a great tool for verification. The healthcare use case is amazing here because you can technically store stamps for each batch/pill box in a cryptographic way, and anyone who bought them at a pharmacy can check if a legitimate or counterfeit drug was sold.”

Smart contracts in other aspects of health

Telemonitoring devices have revolutionized some aspects of telehealth. Today, wearable devices can measure important physiological elements such as a patient’s heart rate and transmit data in real time to healthcare professionals.

Smart contracts have the ability to not only store this data on the blockchain but also keep it confidential through encryption while ensuring that only the intended recipients have access to it.

The benefits of smart contracts are also becoming evident in health insurance due to their potential to improve customer experiences.

For example, claims payments handled by smart contracts are usually processed at a faster rate compared to manual procedures, which can sometimes take weeks.

but, There are some limitations When it comes to using these technologies in the sector due to the constant changes in pre-contract disclosure obligations, which require some level of human interaction.

The insurance industry is also a regulated market, so there will always be concerns, especially with regard to the results for consumers. These challenges are exacerbated by decisions made by regulators and underwriters that are, in some cases, of an additional contractual nature.

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As such, smart contracts are currently used in the sector for non-permanent processes such as confirmation of payments.

Smart contracts have a lot of use cases in the healthcare industry. However, the sector has been slow to embrace the new technology, which has the potential to change how the industry operates.

However, the healthcare smart contract market is growing. she was Values by about $1.6 billion in 2021, and it is expected to cross the barrier of $1.78 billion in 2022.