How Blockchain Can Benefit Healthcare?

Healthcare industry gears up for a large-scale blockchain rollout as the exponential growth of blockchain applications present plentiful opportunities for the industry. Experts and industry onlookers consider blockchain as a digital record-keeping system to solve the insufficiency and intrinsic complexities of existing healthcare systems.

Blockchain in healthcare is not completely mature yet nor a panacea which can be instantly applied but it is certainly witnessing advancements which would later encourage transformative change in the field of health IT. A recent IBM survey indicates 16 percent of healthcare entities may be working with blockchain in 2017.

Let’s talk about some use cases demonstrating the potential of blockchain within healthcare.

Clinical Trials:

An area of potential for blockchain is the clinical trials which refer to the precisely designed processes in terms of hypothesis, research protocols and data keeping methods. Blockchain application may also reduce the risk of data fraud by protecting the identity of people involved in trials, reducing misrepresentation of results, managing thousands of micro-processes and documentation involved.

  • Gem is a blockchain application platform for enterprises currently exploring the uses of blockchain technology in clinical trials, pharmaceutical supply chain, genomic data management and universal health identities among others.

  • Stratum is a French startup working on improving the major issues of lack of transparency and trust planning from data falsification in pharmaceutical clinical trials.


Drug Traceability:

Blockchain technologies address two main concerns when it comes to drug traceability: first, it allows the companies to track their products down the supply chain, forming an airtight circuit, inflexible to unauthorized reproduction. Second, it also allows the trustful vision of the history of the product. Thus, the secured traceability of drugs makes it easier for the company to avoid any complications. 

  • Blockpharma, a French startup, is using blockchain technologies to wipe out drug counterfeiting. The use of blockchain improves the drug traceability, allows the participants in the supply chain to interact easily and alerts the labs if fake drugs are detected.

Patient Data Management:

When it comes to patient data management, there are two main issues in the healthcare industry. First, access to each patient’s medical records is required in order to adapt the treatment and provide personalized care. Second, sharing information among the medical community is a major challenge. Blockchain applications can resolve these issues by encouraging data sharing, security, interoperability, secure ancestral analysis of the patients etc.

  • Brontech: The Australian platform Brontech launched Cyph MD, a healthcare platform using blockchain. Cyph MD’s goal is to improve and facilitate data sharing using smart contracts on the blockchain.

  • Guardtime: Guardtime, created a network to be used by patients, providers, private companies or the government to access information in a secure manner.

Administrative and Financial Information:

Blockchain technologies can provide other value-added services like payment optimization, scheduling, document management and insurance claims to improve efficiencies in managing operations at hospitals. This promotes decreased transactional costs and better financial management of the processes.

  • Factom, a blockchain-based platform, aims to educate insurance companies on the benefits of using the blockchain for their record keeping. The goal is to increase efficiency in medical billing processes, while still protecting client confidentiality.

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