Blockchain and Health
- 1Blockchain and Health
- 2Understanding the Blockchain in Healthcare
- 3How Providers Use Blockchain in Healthcare
- 4Examples of the use of Blockchain in Healthcare
- 5Blockchain in healthcare is the future
The healthcare sector is always looking for new ways to innovate. But innovation doesn’t always come from medical advances. Blockchain technology is regularly touted as revolutionary, as a technology that is going to change the world, and the healthcare sector has taken notice of it.
There are several blockchain-based healthcare initiatives. Most focus on privacy, security, tracking, and access to patient health records. At a time when technology is changing so much, how is blockchain technology being used in healthcare?
Understanding the Blockchain in Healthcare
Despite all that is said about the blockchain that underpins the financial transactions of cryptocurrencies, its ability to create an immutable, decentralized, contiguous and transparent transaction record is the most prominent feature. Blockchain is also the feature of most interest to healthcare technology providers and developers.
The first important point for blockchain healthcare applications is the patient’s healthcare records. Your GP has probably already switched to digital records. What about your dentist, chiropractor, podiatrist, OB / GYN, and all the other medical departments and professionals? In reality, your medical records are spread over many places, and even in the age of digitization, medical departments do not have direct access to data from other institutions. Understandable, as it could present a great risk to that data.
In an interview with Forbes , John Halamka, Chief Information Officer at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Editor-in-Chief of the academic journal Blockchain in Healthcare Today, stated the following: “Just using Blockchain in healthcare because it’s great it doesn’t make sense […] Blockchain is not designed for storing large data sets. Blockchain is not an analytics platform. Blockchain has a very slow transactional performance. However, as a tamper-proof public ledger, blockchain is ideal to use. The chain of blocks is very resistant ”.
How Providers Use Blockchain in Healthcare
There are several main areas in which the blockchain can work perfectly in healthcare.
- Medical records: Each medical record is signed by the healthcare provider and added to the blockchain. The blockchain shows exactly who was the last person to access the data, as well as any changes. Patient health information remains secure, protecting both the patient and healthcare providers.
- Sharing medical data : In addition, blockchain technologies have other advantages, such as the exclusion of third parties from the exchange of medical data. Healthcare providers can use the blockchain to verify data in transition, demonstrate the integrity of clinical research results, for example, without disruption to accommodate paid clinical trials, and enforce data regulations. across the industry.
- Consent to share data : The patient’s preference for sharing data between healthcare providers and third-party entities could be recorded in the blockchain’s patient registry so that data is never misused or misused.
- Drug monitoring : Drug providers register products using a private internal blockchain. Medications are traced from the manufacturer to the patient, verifying and securing the entire chain.
- Insurance : Insurance providers and patients have a series of immutable and therefore reliable contracts regarding the patient’s health before creating new policies. Insurance providers could create smart contracts to ensure patients receive payments.
- Positive health reinforcement : That is, different health care applications and services linked to blockchain technology that provide token incentives to participate in healthy activities, including exercise, diet and fitness regimens, etc.
This is a sample of the potential uses of the blockchain in healthcare. The reality is that as this technology becomes more widely known it will get more in motion, the applications of blockchain technology will continue to expand, but as always there will surely be strong resistance from third party healthcare services, which are already in place. established and profitable, but of course everything is to adapt.
Examples of the use of Blockchain in Healthcare
Although the blockchain in the healthcare industry is young, there are already some notable examples.
- Medicalchain : Medicalchain is a blockchain that enables the transparent exchange of patient records between patients and doctors. The Medicalchain blockchain pilot application started in July 2018. Patients create a wallet to store their medical data and only approved doctors can “read and write” to the patient record. Doctors can also consult online with access to patient records, an advantage over other telemedicine services.
- MyPCR : Enterprise blockchain developer Guardtime, together with Instant Access Medical and Healthcare Gateway, launched MyPCR. MyPCR is a blockchain-based patient record access system currently in use for over 30 million UK NHS patients. The platform allows patients to access their medical records, health care pathways and find support for medication adherence through their smartphone, Guardtime estimates this alone with a savings of at least £ 800 million to the NHS. .
- The MediLedger project : The MediLedger project, led by supply chain consulting group, The LinkLab, and smart supply chain solutions provider, Chronicled, brings block technology to pharmaceutical manufacturers, wholesalers and the chain supply of medicines. The MediLedger project will use blockchain technology to further isolate and remove counterfeit prescription drugs from supply chains. In addition, the MediLedger project can also track “live” substances such as blood or organs for transplantation, etc.
- EncrypGen : The rise of private DNA testing and ancestor tracking websites presides over a 21st century problem: Who keeps DNA data after a patient dies? After all, it is extremely private data. EncrypGen runs the Gene-Chain that allows storage and access to genome data. Individuals grant access, on a case-by-case basis, to scientists, governments, universities, companies, etc. On the other hand, these entities can request specific genomic data and pay individuals using the Gene-Chain platform token, called… DNA.
- Clinicoin : Our latest blockchain app in healthcare offers a different service than the others on the list. Clinicoin rewards its users for participating in healthy activities such as exercising, physical activities, such as walking, nutrition, and more. Almost anything that helps create a healthier environment can receive CLIN tokens. Additionally, healthy users can participate in Clinicoin surveys, specialized assignments, and other research activities to get more tabs.
Humanitarian healthcare also uses the blockchain
The blockchain in healthcare startups is not just innovating in lifelong healthcare facilities. Healthcare blockchain technology is also being deployed in places where keeping proper medical records is extremely difficult, but where having one could be life changing for the inhabitants of those places.
Iyro, a Blockchain healthcare startup, deployed a test electronic medical record for refugees and migrants at a refugee camp in Jordan. Refugees and migrants do not always have access to a computer. But many have smartphones that they can use to monitor their medical history. Iyro plans to extend its “global healthcare” product to migrants and refugees in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Djibouti and elsewhere.
Blockchain in healthcare is the future
The Western country market is proving difficult for blockchain healthcare startups, and for good reason. Today’s healthcare providers benefit from their healthcare facilities and the technologies they enable them to use.
For example, the highly regulated and financially incentivized healthcare system in the US is one of the main targets of the new blockchain-based options, but patients will not see the benefits in the near future. Not until a traditional provider figures out how to maximize the benefits of blockchain technology in healthcare.
It is not just bureaucracy that is holding back this innovation in healthcare. The real incentive to finalize a product just doesn’t exist for some startups.
Gem Health attracted attention with its ideas to bring the limits of healthcare providers, patients and insurers closer together to reduce inefficiencies in patient reimbursements. But Gem Health, with its GemOS platform, found that replacing legacy EMR systems from major vendors (Epic, Cerner, Meditech, Allscripts, etc.) was actually an incredibly difficult task.
Before long, Gem realized that opening healthcare markets, even outside of the US, is an incredibly difficult task. And that’s without trying to implement new technologies at the same time. Furthermore, Gem Health is far from the only example of a chain healthcare startup that tried to make the leap from financial technology, but found healthcare to be too vast an industry to question. even after having received venture capital support.
In short, the Blockchain has a strong future in the health industry, that’s for sure. And we will see it perhaps in a short time and surely for the better.