Effective use of Blockchain in Healthcare to tackle the pandemic of COVID-19

Effective use of Blockchain in Healthcare to tackle the pandemic of COVID-19

The world is under a pandemic attack and as President Trump calls the “invisible enemy” is proving out to be much stronger this time. A single country can’t contain this global health crisis and find a solution on its own. Various leaders and global bodies have already announced that there would be a need for a global solution. And with an enemy, that strong and swift, finding a solution without the use of effective new-age technology would be next to impossible. A lot of people have already spoken about using robots, artificial intelligence and other new-age technologies but most prominent as of now seem to be the blockchain.
Even with so much literature available on the internet, a lot of people still associate the blockchain technology with cryptocurrency only. But the one who understands, do now that blockchain has some definite benefits especially in terms of speed, verification capabilities, transparency, and tracking abilities. Along with the characteristics, the data on the blockchain uses a deep encryption system and protects against the tampering of data. During this critical time, the global healthcare and pharma industry requires these characteristics to fill in the gaps that currently exist in the system. This will enable time and effort saving measures bringing the globe on one platform- transparent and traceable.

Current medical system and gaps

Globally healthcare and pharma industries are marred by blames of trust deficit and legacy procurement standards and systems. While these gaps are pretty significant always, in this time of crisis, it may result in mass devastation. This devastation could even endanger human life at large and could lead to a lot of lives being lost if not acted upon in time. The gaps in the current global medical supply chain that can currently halt the fight against Covid-19 virus are

– Diversity in global standards for medical products: Globally the standards for product requirements are pretty diverse and this is leading to a lot of confusion for the manufacturer as he is unaware which country would be consuming its products and adhering to standards of those countries might just delay the process and make the product unavailable which could be critical.
– Manufacturers’ reputation: While the production of the possible medicine or vaccine would be produced via global sourcing of components, it could be really difficult to monitor the credibility and reputation of the manufacturing sitting in various parts of the globe. Also tracking the on the quality and volume would be difficult.
– International Trade Restrictions and payments:Currently the global supply of medical and healthcare products requires a lot of certifications and validations of documents which requires a lot of time and energy for the producers to get their products in international markets. This regulated market approach may jus adds up to delays. This applies to payments as well, where the manufacturer requires a guarantee that his payments against the products are secured.
– Product Tracking: The most important and critical aspect that assures the movement of goods from one component of the value chain to another thus reaching the right people, at the right time and in the right conditions (cold chain might be required for certain pharma products). Under the current condition, it’s difficult to trace the product at a current point

How blockchain can cement these gaps

Blockchain, with its characteristics having a public blockchain and consensus mechanism, can fill in all the above mention critical gaps in the global supply chain of healthcare and pharmaceuticals especially in overcoming the current hindrances that are mentioned above. It would be interesting to note a solution provided by the blockchain technology against each of the problems.
– For ProductRequirements- Blockchain can help producers in understanding the current requirement and need for a product including other metrics like the demand and quality. On the other hand, it helps the procurer in understanding the current availability of the product and also helps lawmakers change their law and legislation based on the availability of the solution
– For the credibility of the supplier – Blockchain, being an open registry, procurers of medical products can easily assess all the metrics that define the credibility of a manufacturer before they shortlist them.
– For trade restrictions and payment- With blockchain, theupfrontpayments confirmations and other trade records are available for all parties to assess and confirm which allows manufacturers the ease totheright procurer in right place at the right time
– For Product movement Tracking- Blockchain-based provenance tracking has been already a proven track record in effectively mapping and tracking supplies around the world and also provides the much-needed transparency in the supply chain.

While in theory, it looks really easy one has to remember that it’s the right implementation that is crucial especially at the speed at which this crisis is growing. Sooner or later blockchain will make its way in the mainstream pharma and healthcare industry, but if it can make a difference during this time of uncertainty and crisis, blockchain technology will soon find the much-needed recognition it deserves as a solution provider.

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