The Global Picture of Future Healthcare: Challenges and Solutions (Covid-19 Case Study)
Numerous technological inventions have surfaced over the past decade but one that has been tagged as revolutionary and disruptive is blockchain technology owing to its capability to transform diverse sectors of the economy including healthcare. The current healthcare infrastructure is bedeviled with a myriad of challenges that became evident during COVID-19 pandemic including data centralization leading to information silos, non-resiliency and huge cost to health institutions and patients alike. Other challenges include system interoperability, rigid and limited payment modules, opaque processes, Cyber-attacks, downtimes, delays, resource allocation, fatigue culminating into human error, financial misappropriations, and fraud, as well as counterfeit drugs, among others. Blockchain, cryptocurrency and distributed storage technology hold much prospects in resolving the challenges associated with the current healthcare system by providing decentralized identification for patients, patient-centric data ownership and control mechanisms, secured global access to Electronic Health Records (EHR) to facilitate data sharing among health facilities, decentralized medical research data repository to foster knowledge sharing among healthcare professionals, efficient and flexible payment modalities, automated processes using smart contracts, as well as robust, transparent, immutable and auditable chain of events potentially averting fraud and counterfeiting among others. During covid 19 pandemic, some countries have utilized the predictive power of ITC (big data) to keep the global spread of the pandemic in check. This is just one of many examples of how technology can be wielded under the banner of e-Health to help care and save millions of people around the world. Besides some socio-economic changes are also required for the implementation of new technology and its smooth processing.