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Blockchain Technology and the Opportunities in the Healthcare Marketplace

The global blockchain technology market in the healthcare industry is expected to reach $500 million by 2022, according to a report from Frost & Sullivan. Blockchain is a promising technology that is disrupting various industries and is making waves in healthcare as well. Healthcare data is piling up with every passing day, as there are wearable and smart devices that are also transmitting unprecedented heaps of data. There are patient health records, clinical data, medications, laboratory information, and insurance details – more than ever there is a need to organize this burgeoning healthcare information usable for the betterment of population health. Although, different practice management tools in the past decade have helped to organize patient records and electronic health records blockchain has the capability to totally transform the healthcare sector. It can bind together different segments of the healthcare data and make it tractable.

Blockchain was first used to manage transactions in cryptocurrency Bitcoin and since then it has been disrupting different industries. At the government and enterprise level, blockchain technology is disrupting industries, such as banking, energy, finance, sports, entertainment, and trade. The banking sector is in a similar situation as healthcare where there is always a need for data protection, transaction tracking and more. Blockchain has got the solutions to most of the problems faced by industries that rely on widespread segments of fragmented data. The technology has become more than its beginning and has poised to disrupt healthcare.

Data breaches cost the healthcare industry $6 billion every year and overall loss due to data leaks and identity theft is even more than that. The protection of data has become a major problem for physician practices, hospitals, and medical services providers. Data breaches in healthcare have become unstoppable and various healthcare organizations are facing lawsuits. Blockchain can keep healthcare data in the decentralized form and can encrypt it in a way that would make it impossible to hack. Blockchain is further useful in locating that data making it easier to access for users. Only the security segment of healthcare is a multi-billion market opportunity.

At the point of care, blockchain is capable of solving many impending issues that remained unsolved in the post EHR market. Digitization of health records is the start but using electronic health records in a meaningful way is the prime objective that blockchain can achieve. It can help utilize scattered health records in standardized formats, track each transaction and encrypt data with maximum security. The market is promising to explore by health tech solution providers, data centers, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and government organizations.

Population health is another segment that broadens the scope of blockchain technology in healthcare. It is something more than addressing individual problems and engulfs broader outcomes and can bring in community-wide benefits. Structured data and intelligent systems can easily trace major diseases in a community and can define healthcare issues at a geographic level, race, ethnicity, and behavioral levels. Blockchain can decipher the enigmas of population health management and can give a clear direction to payers, researchers, health tech scientists, and population health managers.  

Telehealth and telemedicine is a healthcare marketplace that is relatively new and has the potential to grow beyond any other segment in healthcare. According to a report, the telemedicine market alone in the U.S. is expected to reach USD 64.1 billion by 2025. Telemedicine altogether depends on the interoperability of data and communication channels. Despite the convenience of telemedicine, the benefits are difficult to realize in the absence of secure protocols that can bridge the communication gaps between patients and care providers. However, this all becomes workable if blockchain makes the remote communication secure and the recent telemedicine initiatives by the government encourage to explore of this market segment.    

Just like blockchain, healthcare creators are also eying artificial intelligence as the panacea to various problems. Growth in the AI health market is expected to reach $6.6 billion by 2021 (Source). Combining the blockchain with artificial intelligence can positively impact the cost, quality and access points in healthcare. According to Gartner’s prediction, business value added by blockchain technology will increase to $3.1 trillion globally and AI will add up to $15.7 trillion to the world economy. 

IoT has become more than the remote transmission of health data by health wearable. IoT is helping health scientists in devising ways to early diagnose diseases, track vitals and communicate health hardware. The global IoT in healthcare market size is projected to reach USD 534.3 billion by 2025 (Source). With the power of blockchain technology, the billions of devices that would communicate to health centers could be securely managed with individually identifiable pieces of information. Blockchain holds the future of healthcare with its potential to make data secure, useful and collaborative. It can fix the imminent issues of healthcare by benefiting all the stakeholders such as investors, creators, consumers and care providers. Such as the possibilities are endless so is the market growth vertex

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