Blockchain Applications in the Health Sector
Other than being the technology on which cryptocurrencies run on, the blockchain technology as we are discovering is promising to disrupt different industries. This is because the distributed ledger technology makes it possible to store data in a decentralized and immutable manner. One industry that is set to benefit from the nascent technology is the healthcare sector.
The blockchain promises to offer some advantages in the industry including; creating transparency, reducing cost, streaming operational processes and eliminating third-party intermediaries.
According to a report from BIS Research, the technology will save the industry approximately $100 billion per annum by 2025 in IT costs, data breach cost, personnel cost, and support function costs.
The research also shows that blockchain in the healthcare sector will surpass $5.6 billion by 2025 and the pharmaceutical sector stands to be the greatest beneficiary as $200 billion is lost annually through counterfeit drugs.
The technology will allow the whole supply chain to be visible by tracking drugs to the point of origin.
Already the technology is experiencing some success and below we are going to look at five real-world blockchain applications that are happening in the health sector.
1. Robomed Network
This platform is decentralized and its designed to offer the most effective medical care. What makes the project unique is that it connects patients with healthcare service providers on a smart contract platform.
It uses a value criterion that allows patients to pay for results rather than processes which is a breakthrough concept in the healthcare market.
The platform was first launched in Dubai and Russia in 2017 and boasts over 30,500 services, 9,000 patients and almost $2 million worth of services.
As the healthcare market continues to evolve with more focus on value-based care (where patients pay for results instead of paying for the number of procedures), solution providers like Robomed Network who bridge the gap between patients and providers will start to gain popularity.
This tech company is based in San Francisco and it is utilizing the distributed ledger technology together with IoT systems to help improve accountability and traceability in supply chains. This is why it’s so vital in industries that handle high-value commodities like pharmaceuticals and precious metals.
Utilizing the blockchain to streamline processes, Chronicled can speed up logistics, create cost savings, and reduce discrepancies along the supply chain. This is vital, especially for time and temperature sensitive products.
It also helps improve transparency and product visibility along the supply chain.
The project has partnered with a number of companies including Pfizer, Genentech, and Abbvie to prevent counterfeit medical products from entering the supply chain.
In order to demonstrate that it’s compliant with the Drug Supply Chain Security Act, the platform partnered MediLedger Project back in September of 2017.
This Atlanta based blockchain platform secures health records for patients, health care providers, and medical institutions. It has an advanced healthcare app that allows users to create a profile and keep track of their health history.
Using the software, patients can track their medical bills, doctor visits, insurance, pharmacy medications, immunizations and other personal medical information.
The app helps patients, doctors and healthcare organizations to gain access to medical data, store it, and transfer the information safely. This helps improve care coordination and also ensures data security.
Chrissa McFarlane, the CEO of the Patientory is a staunch supporter of blockchain adoption in the healthcare sector. This was evident when the NHS of the UK experienced a ransomware attack in May of 2017.
She urged the UK government to embrace a national IT healthcare system which was based on the blockchain if they wanted to avoid losing valuable data through such attacks. She also asked the government to remove any legal obstacles that stand between moving data among health providers.
She expressed the belief that if the government was really serious about implementing a blockchain solution on a complex healthcare system like that of UK, then it wouldn’t take them more than two years to accomplish it.
This platform is based in London and its sole aim is to solve the problem of storing healthcare records. It leverages the power of the blockchain to securely store this data. The records can then be shared with pharmacists, doctors, laboratories, and hospitals as long as the patient authorizes so.
Medicalchain also supports telemedicine where patients get to communicate with their doctors through online sessions to share their health information.
Earlier this year, in March, the platform announced that it was partnering with the Groves Medical Group to exploit blockchain solutions together.
The Groves is set to be the first medical group in the UK to accept crypto payments for health services. There are also future plans to allow third-party developers to build apps on the platform. This will expand the range of solutions offered by the platform.
5. Nebula Genomics
It’s a blockchain platform that aims to decentralize genome sequencing. This will see the process cost less than $100. This will be a major improvement given that the first human genome was sequenced at the cost of $3 billion back in 2001.
The project is led by genetics guru George Church of Harvard University who is one of the leading scientists on the CRISPR genetic engineering revolution.
The platform will leverage the power of the blockchain technology to cut off middlemen. This will allow people to not only share their personal genome data for research but also to retain ownership where they can monetize this DNA.
Through the shared genomic data, researchers will be able to identify the causes of many diseases and in the process, they can develop cures.
They believe personal genome sequencing will gain mass adoption since it will help support disease prevention, better diagnosis, and personalized therapies.
So, whether it’s offering value to clients, safely storing medical records or improving accountability and traceability in supply chains, the blockchain is promising to change the health sector for the better. As we gain a better understanding of the tech — expect more exciting projects to come up.