Blockchain was a technology that was primarily used in cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin to store and share data. Although It is a relatively new innovation, the Food and Drug Administration as well as the medical sector, is hoping to harness its potential. And now, it has turned out to be one of the latest advancement in technology, security, as well as medicine.
With a decentralized storage system, the blockchain constantly shares and updates information to ensure they contain the most recent information. The network’s design allows the transfer of data across the system of computers that creates a chain. This makes the system invulnerable to data theft, which is a feature that can be very valuable to the medical field.
Information on pharmaceutical shipments and the medical history of patients are usually stored in the form of spreadsheets or images. Without the presence of a stored record, information is secured. This, in turn, can help health providers to share medical information among each other.
By implementing blockchain to the medical record system, it will allow for quick access to medical histories especially in case of emergencies where the patient can’t provide it themselves. Patients can easily share their information while consulting with a new health provider. Their physician can access the information about previous treatments and other records through the blockchain.
The FDA has also found a better use of blockchain technology as a tracking system for monitoring medications. They have hopes to improve the tracing of medications to monitor the distribution of addictive substances such as opioids. The agency plans to do this by tagging packages of medications before releasing them for distribution.
This way, they have the means to record the exact location of the packages from transit to their destinations. The information collected will be helpful in tracing lost or missing packages. Security agents can also use the system to check or validate shipments of drugs during its shipment.
The misuse of opioids like oxycodone is rampant and the consequences of such abuse can result in serious medical complications or death. The blockchain is a potential tool for the FDA to ramp up their efforts against the misuse and abuse of drugs or medications, and ultimately save more lives.
As of now, the tracking system still has a long way to go before it is fully operational. Their system is not yet ready or capable of handling the volume of data that the agency requires. They are, however, remaining confident that they can develop more innovation from this technology in the future.