Since the dawn of cryptocurrencies and the blockchain technology that powers it and makes it all possible, experts in all sorts of fields and employees in various institutions and organizations have been looking at ways of incorporating it into their branches and industries. The sheer amount of possibilities that this type of system brings to the table cannot and must not be overlooked if we as a species are to prosper and advance in the next couple of decades.
This is exactly why major industries and technologies have already started to look into different possible solutions on how to incorporate blockchain. One of the most important fields that people would benefit from is of course the healthcare industry. Healthcare, although it may sound strange, is still a problem for many parts of the world as billions of people do not live in adequate conditions. Many cannot afford healthcare even though they work and have stable lives. They live in fear of getting hurt or sick because it would mean certain financial doom for the whole family.
To tackle this and many other problems, the most important people in this field turned to blockchain technology to see how and if it can help. In this article we are going to explore four main challenges of implementing this marvelous technology into healthcare and whether or not it is possible. If you wish to learn more about the subject, we highly advise you to check out sciencetimes.com.
1. A Major Cultural Shift
The first and arguably the most significant challenge of implementing something as modern and still somewhat controversial into something so straightforward is the shift in culture that would ensue. People are still largely unfamiliar with what blockchain even is and it is always very hard to change things and modernize them when the majority is not keeping up with the times. Combining a notion everyone is familiar with in healthcare with a relatively new invention in blockchain will create confusion, opposition, and slow down things before making them better.
Most hospitals, practices, and doctors are stuck on pen and paper in the age of information technology. This means that if we were to suddenly ask everyone to switch to electronic databases and records they would not feel that positive. Asking them to use blockchain is a big ask, and therefore a risk. Healthcare requires leaving many questions blank and unanswered completely, which cannot and does not happen in technology. Although the tech is here, there are not enough people willing to use it meaning the change in management is needed, and that is a huge responsibility not many are willing to put on their back. Changing the behavior of people has never been easy, and it never will be.
2. Healthcare is Distributed by Various Sides who do not Cooperate
Unlike cryptocurrency systems that are shared with everyone and available for anyone to view the proof of transactions, healthcare is distributed to individuals by insurance companies, healthcare providers, and physicians. Each of them would have to be a part of the system if there is exist a blockchain system of healthcare.
There cannot be single players left out. Therefore, you see how difficult it would be to pull everyone together towards a common goal. There are simply too many differences in revenue, laws, practices, and norms for big and small players to became parts of one joint blockchain.
3. Government Has to be On Board
In general, one of the biggest obstacles in the entire world of blockchain technology is the governments of the world, especially of those more conservative and traditional countries. These types of systems effectively render them unnecessary since they eliminate the need for third parties between the product or the service, and the customer. Governments impose all kinds of laws and regulations on all things that people need in their daily lives, taxing them and changing them claiming that things need to be like that. Cryptocurrencies are clear proof that no third parties like banks and governments, which often work together, are needed for transactions to be safely, quickly, and efficiently completed.
The same would happen with healthcare if blockchain was introduced. However, this would no longer mean that governments of the world and the politicians that run them could decide what goes and what does not. More people would benefit from basic healthcare needs, which should be how things are normally. Sadly, if everyone had it, it would no longer bring as much money to those in control. For this reason, governments are one of the main things standing in the way of anything that involves blockchain.
4. It is not Really Proven Yet
What people like most when a new thing comes knocking on the door is clear proof that it actually works and that is better and more efficient than the old thing. That is the problem with blockchain in healthcare since the world leaders and healthcare providers are never going to adopt it fully as long as it is not proven.
So far, nobody is willing to come together and propose a solution, meaning all of the different obstacles are kind of intermingled into one giant mess of that is stuck in place. Until the previous three steps happen, the new healthcare system will not even come close to being proven, which means that all four of these obstacles need to be overtaken at roughly the same time.
Conclusion and Takeaways
Even though the technology is infamous for no apparent reason than being almost perfect, it is clear to most people educated on the matter that it is the next big thing to elevate our society to new heights.
Blockchain is here to stay, and like many other things people shunned at first for being new and unfamiliar like electricity and the internet, for example, it will soon find a place in the minds and hearts of the general public. Here is to hoping it does not take way longer than it needs to, since we are already off to a not so promising start.