What is block chain?

Blockchain technology stems from the belief that validity and honesty are key. So why has Blockchain technology gotten so popular?

In an age where information has power, we must be able to validate what is true and what is not. More importantly we must be able to hold each other accountable. Blockchain solves theses problems by creating a digital ecosystem, which self audits every transaction that occurs. Each of those transactions are referred to as a “block”. The ecosystem offers two important features:

  • Security: You cannot alter the information in a blockchain unless you are able to solve complex cryptographic math. The cryptographic math is near impossible to hack, because it requires the hacker to be able to overpower and hack 51% of the computer nodes that are running the ledger at the same time. All this must be done for the hacker to be able to reverse the cryptographic math. In reality this would require inconceivable amounts of computer power and capital.
  • Transparency: Think of blockchain technology as a spreadsheet, where anyone with internet access can view it. They can view every transaction that occurs, but cannot alter it. This is essentially what blockchain technology is. This makes blockchain decentralized because there is no middle man that keeps records; rather the records are kept by the internet.

 

BlockChain is more than just Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrency has become a buzzword that everyone is throwing around. They think they understand what it is, but in reality they have not taken the time to do the research.

The biggest misconception I see today is that blockchain is only good for Cryptocurrency, which is just blatantly untrue. Blockchain extends to healthcare, supply chain management, real estate, government, car industries, and much more! Blockchain can make any institution or industry that requires some type of record keeping more efficient, transparent, and secure.

For example Dubai plans on becoming the first blockchain powered government by 2020. According to Forbes

“According to Smart Dubai, which is conducting government and private organization workshops to identify services that can be best enhanced by blockchain adoption, the strategy could save 25.1 million man hours, or $1.5 billion in savings per year for the emirate. Much of this enhanced productivity will stem from moving to paperless government.”

It is quite evident that every industry/institution that requires honesty, security, and accountability will adopt the blockchain system. It is only logical to move forward in this way because in an age where cost and efficiency are goliaths it only makes sense!

Blockchain + Dentistry

Now that we understand what blockchain is, we can ask the question of how does this apply to dentistry?

Blockchain can create a decentralized system, which can track patient details, treatment history, and payments made for all clinics. Gone are the days of filing an application for each clinic you visit.  This also makes it easier for patients to track their records, and will save clinics a lot of money. According to the Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare

“While dental providers continue to file more insurance claims electronically and submit claims electronically, adoption of electronic clinical processes by dental providers remains low, even though eliminating costly manual transactions represents huge potential cost savings. For example, the cost to submit manual claims is $6.63 x 6,200 (6,200 is based on an average of claims submitted for a single provider), which equals $41,106 per year”

The dental industry will be saving money on “man power” and costs of having physical records. They will also legally reap the benefits of blockchain being unalterable, which means that no false claims could be made. The legality aspect of the practice is very crucial! An NCBI research study by Dr.Charangowda makes that evident when he claims

“A thorough knowledge of dental records is essential for the practicing dentist, as it not only has a forensic application, but also a legal implication with respect to insurance and consumerism.”

Either way you look at it blockchain is able to offer some value to the dental industry. I think Ian Khan of TEDX sums it up best when he says

As revolutionary as it sounds, Blockchain truly is a mechanism to bring everyone to the highest degree of accountability. No more missed transactions, human or machine errors, or even an exchange that was not done with the consent of the parties involved.”

 

Do you believe that blockchain will be able to change how dentists and clinics operate?