As far as public knowledge goes, healthcare isn’t a well-known use case of blockchain technology. Understandably, blockchain is often seen as a financial solution more than anything else, which is why it doesn’t often come up in everyday discussion. However, blockchain technology might be healthcare’s saving grace, especially when it comes to America.
As of now, candidates looking to run in the next United States Presidential campaign are preparing to debate “Medicare-for-All,” a plan presented by candidate Bernie Sanders in 2017. Long story short, according to Forbes, the idea would raise taxes for millions already insured under Medicare but protect them from future price hikes and give them more options. Due to this, millions of uninsured people would have healthcare, but because the government funds it. Also, everyone, even those that can afford their own, would have to switch to government healthcare.
Forcing Change Where It Isn’t Necessary
However, 80% of those insured are happy with their plan and don’t want to change it. In addition, they are not happy about paying higher taxes for something they can’t choose. Moreover, drug companies would have to lower their prices, and health insurance companies would all but disappear due to government control. Overall, these changes would cost around $1.3 trillion and bring in new taxes. This would be a timely and expensive endeavor – one that would remove choice despite giving healthcare to those who can’t afford it. Like any policy affecting millions of people, it’s challenging to balance. A blockchain-based healthcare offering could offer these benefits, and potentially more, with less drawback.
Even if the bill were to pass, current healthcare systems suffer from a lack of interoperability, data misuse, and a lack of universal access, among other things. The Breach Barometer Report claims that 27 million patient records were breached in 2016 – an average of one per day. Part of this is due to medical facilities’ increasing dependence on centralized and vulnerable Internet of Things technology.
Our Records, Our Say
Healthcare facilities have so many different ways to manage data that they’re incompatible with others. This leads to problems for patients, who may struggle to comply with specific policies, meaning their information is then useless. Blockchain networks would make all medical data management systems compatible in addition to providing patients with full control over their records.
Data transfers and processes would become automated as well, leading to less overhead and cheaper fees for patients. No more random, useless charges or data misuse, and much more control in the hands of the user. These are our medical records, no? We should have a complete say in handling them.
Do you think blockchain-based healthcare provides more benefits than Medicare-for-All? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.