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Strengthening public health surveillance through blockchain technology

1 Department of Community Medicine, Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences, Dehradun, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, School of Public Health, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India
3 Department of Health Promotion and Community Health Sciences, School of Public Health, Texas A & M University, Texas, USA

Blockchain technology is a decentralized system of recording data and performing transactions which is increasingly being used across many industries, including healthcare. It has several unique features like the validation of transaction processes, prevention of systems failure from any single point of transaction, and approval of data sharing with optimal security, to name a few. At the hospital level, blockchain technologies are used in the electronic medical records systems, insurance claims, billing management, and so on. Moreover, this technology is helpful to manage logistic and human resources to achieve the quality of care in learning health systems. In many countries, blockchain is being used to promote patient-centered care by sharing patient data for remote monitoring and management. Furthermore, blockchain technology has the potential to strengthen disease surveillance systems in cases of disease outbreaks resulting in local and global health emergencies. In such conditions, blockchain can be used to identify health security concerns, analyze preventive measures, and facilitate decision-making processes to act rapidly and effectively. Despite its limitations, research, and practice based on blockchain technology have shown promises to strengthen health systems around the world with a potential to reduce the global burden of diseases, mortality, morbidity, and economic costs.
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