Blockchain Technology As A Potential Tool For Monitoring Medications

Blockchain In Healthcare

You may not be familiar with blockchain. This tech was initially used to store and share information intended to be used with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Though it may be a new experience to you, blockchain could be a tool for revolutionizing the FDA and the medical sector. It proves to be the recent milestone in the advancement of medicine, security, and technology.

In the medical world, new information about patients’ medical history or pharmaceutical shipments is stored as images or excel spreadsheet. The blockchain network is designed to allow the update of the stored data with new information. Besides, the data can be transferred severally across a system of computers. The sharing of the stored data across the network depicts the “chain” pattern of this technique.

Blockchain technology isn’t centralized since the stored information is constantly shared and updated to contain recent information. The absence of a stored record is beneficial as it prevents data theft. This feature of the blockchain network makes it a potential tool for sharing patients’ medical data among health providers. It will also be helpful in emergency cases if the patient will not be able to provide a medical history.

The blockchain network will give fast access to information about the health of patients. It will also be useful if a patient consults a new physician. The recent health provider can find information about the previous treatments received by the patient on the blockchain. However, the electronic medical record system used in hospitals may not be compatible with this new technique.

Following the recent implementation of the blockchain in the medical record system, the FDA has a better use for the technique. The Food and Drug Administration is set to use the blockchain tracking system to monitor medications. The agency, FDA, is requesting the help of vendors to ensure that the tracking system is effective. By monitoring the location of medications including drugs such as opioids, the agency has more chance of controlling addictive substances.

The FDA intends to tag packages containing medications before they are distributed. This procedure will help to detect their locations while on transit and their final destinations. It would also help to monitor the distribution of addictive substances. The tracking system will also aid security agents who check such drugs while on transit. Besides, a digital “paper trail” attached to the shipments of controlled substances can help to track any missing packages.

The misuse of medications can lead to serious complications. Even the use of opioid drugs such as oxycodone may lead to death. With the blockchain tracking system, the FDA intends to heighten its war against the misuse of drugs and save lives.

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However, this tracking system is experiencing a setback. The volume of data affects the network. More computing power is required to operate the network effectively as the stored data increases. However, the agency is still optimistic about this innovation. With the help of experienced programmers, this challenge will become history. The blockchain is here to transform the medical world. More innovation may still evolve from this technology.

What do you think? Will blockchain technology reinvent how tracking medications occur in the healthcare sector? Share your opinion on the comment section.

Max writes about blockchain projects and regulation with a special focus on United States and China. He joined Smarterum after years of writing for various media outlets.


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