Blockchain and Healthcare


The state of blockchain today is similar to the state of blockchain in most every industry. That is, most see it as a revolutionary form of technology which will move from the speed of sound to the speed of light.

However, there are many that see it is a fad that will someday pass. And as the CXO suite has seen very few real use cases the speed of adoption has been stymied especially in the US. I also believe that the technology itself may suffer from reputation risks while many find it hard to separate the blockchain technology itself from the alt currency market typified by Bitcoin.

I believe we are at nexus where the wheat is pulled from the shaft and we on the verge of seeing real sustainable business use in the areas of payments both enterprise and micro, cross platform data access and use and finally rapid diagnosing resulting from AI within blockchains.

There is a lot of discussion around the availability of healthcare records to be placed on the blockchain for patient-centric use as well as use in population health management. Therefore, these records have been hard-siloed off in institutional and/or business structures that did not
speak to one another. This interoperability has existed in the industry since the advent of the Commodore computer.

This is no longer a technology issue but rather a business and regulatory issue. A permissible blockchain driven by the patient may be the answer to getting to the trends shaping the discussion of population health management, dynamic diagnosing as well as fraud and abuse.

Although there are zealots out there that are diligently preaching the benefits of blockchain improve the adoption rate in healthcare, often these same advocates are a detriment to its acceptance.

The benefits

Blockchain today is not ready for prime time in many areas such as security, speed and cost of gas to run such networks are true obstacles to adoption. A more prudent, pragmatic approach is to build hybrid architectures that use legacy database structures with introduction of distributed ledge technologies where it can be tested and trusted.

1.The fundamental nature of blockchain is that it’s a verifiable ledger that provides a historical record that can’t be changed or interfered. The use case for patient medical records in such areas as diagnosing, clinical trials and to set disease management protocols are apparent.

2. Additionally in areas of provider credentialing, which is error prone and fraught with overbearing redundancy could be streamlined for all participants. Smart contracts could be created around the encounter payment transaction which would collapse the costs relating to financial transaction and take out the ambiguity and inefficiency that exists today.

3. The future of blockchain is bright, not necessarily in its current state but rather as the technology evolves to its potential. This will be accomplished as real business use cases that have proven ROI’s are deployed. Just to use blockchain for blockchain sake or because it chic is not a winning propositions.

4. Take for instance how a patient may benefit by having access to all of their data that is today in centralized databases and have that available to them on a secured blockchain not only for the betterment of their own health and for the community. A community of pooled datasets could emerge that has value to Big Data buyers and when monetized could flow back to patient’s that granted access to their de-identified data.

5. Blockchain application can allow Healthcare firms to provide real time tracking of hospital inventory and unique way of communicating with the patient and their smart phones . –Mark Politi

6. Blockchain has been a critical component in the proliferation of cryptocurrency, serving as a basis for Bitcoin, Ether, and similar
digital bearer assets (i.e., electronic money). However, as a decentralized digital ledger, blockchain’s uses are not limited to currency applications or the world of finance.

7. As noted by a Deloitte report 2,healthcare privacy, security, and interoperability (key concerns of HIPAA and HITECH [3]) would all be bolstered by the technology. Similarly, a 2017 MIT Media Lab white paper 4 demonstrated how valuable blockchain could become to healthcare.

8. The potential of blockchain within healthcare is evident in MedRec [5], a prototype solution developed by MIT and built on the Ethereum blockchain platform. This system enables the monitoring of user privileges related to access and manipulation of patient records (i.e., who has the authority to view and update them).

The researchers designed the solution with both patients and doctors in mind so that they could each easily access a complete, incorruptible log of their data and give access to information from all of a patient’s providers.
Adnan Raja

9. Any industry that has a redundant and costly process in place can be disrupted by Blockchain. Blockchain presents a distributed ledger system which could help streamline the process by simplifying the transfer of and access to information between parties – patient and healthcare providers which currently is not only costly but also very time-consuming.

10. Blockchain is a trustless, transparent, immutable system that could help cut the costs as well as time usually spent on these processes.

11. Since the healthcare industry requires utmost confidentiality and cybersecurity, Blockchain presents the ability to establish a common database of health information that both medical professionals and healthcare providers could access regardless of the electronic medical system employed which means updating the information between parties will not be redundant and lesser time spent on administrative tasks for doctors.-Natalie-

12. Blockchain will be able to add a layer of trust, storage, and payments to healthcare, making a lot of today’s current infrastructure obsolete. Specifically, people will be able to call up their health records on
demand, removing the need to contact doctors to release patient records.

13. Further, this data sharing will be automated and predictive, meaning the healthcare provider will receive your information before or as you are getting sick, not after.

Finally, as a payments layer, we’ll be able to implement highly-optimized health insurance solutions at incredibly reduced prices–maybe 90% cheaper than what people are paying today. People will get a lot healthier and live a lot longer because of the efficiencies blockchain and ML can bring to health data.
James Song

Therefore, from managing various patient data to tracking drugs through the supply chain, Blockchain could help solve some of the healthcare industry’s biggest problems.


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Credits: Wikipedia


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