The Covid-19 crisis has brought to the surface numerous shortcomings that our medical and healthcare industry face today. From poorly managed supply chains to the redundant paperwork requirements, from inefficient electronic health records to counterfeit products; all of these challenges pushed the healthcare industry to work under extremely rigid conditions. There barely remains any parity between manufacturers, suppliers, and consumers, which costs both time and money to the industry.
Had a blockchain system been in place to manage healthcare supply chains and other processes involved in healthcare, we could have dealt with the crisis with much ease. Here’s how.
Potential ways blockchain could help:
Parity between supply and demand
By implementing blockchain across the healthcare supply chain, all parties involved in the manufacturing and supply process can have real-time updates to the exact demand for specific products. Hence, manufacturers can easily ramp up or slow down productions of certain products depending on market demand.
Reducing paperwork and involvement of intermediaries
The sudden lockdown throughout countries all over the globe blocked the medical supply chain and shipments were stuck midway. This was due to the enormous amount of intermediary involvement and paperwork required to process each international cargo.
We can leverage blockchain technology to digitise the supply chain paperwork process and reduce intermediary involvement. This can add trust in the supply chain without much human intervention and shipments can be sent to their destinations without any hurdles. Both loss of time and cost incurred due to shipment delay can thus be dealt with.
Fight counterfeit products
Counterfeit pharmaceutical products are a grave concern in the pharmaceutical industry. They cost the worldwide medical industry approximately $200 billion every year.
By bringing more transparency into the medical supply chain and delivering convenient tracking and tracing processes, blockchain can prevent the inclusion of counterfeit pharmaceutical products in the medical supply chain. It can prove highly effective in a time like this, when we must make sure that the consumers receive the right quality products.
Even if counterfeit products are detected in the supply chain, blockchain’s ability to easily trace a product back to its origin will help identify the ill actors and take necessary actions to negate the inclusion of fake products from similar sources.
Interoperable EHR management
Efficient electronic health record (EHR) management systems in the medical industry are few and far between. Even those that are available do not have a patient’s complete health record.
Blockchain promises an interoperable health record management system that can align the data cluster in the healthcare industry. By creating a single universal identity for every patient, blockchains can record every medical record related to a person in a single place. Use of blockchain for EHR will also deliver unparalleled security to patient’s data.
There’s a lot we could have done better while dealing with the Covid-19 crisis. But due to lack of proper resources combined with our ignorance, we could not attend to the situation in the best possible way. However, we can always learn our lessons. And Covid-19 has taught the importance of a resilient medical supply chain. The implementation of blockchain technology across the healthcare industry can help us achieve such a level of resilience in the coming years. Register at Alacrity Network to develop your supplychain application.