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Blockchain in the healthcare industry: a perception

Transparency, immutability, and privacy, Blockchain has all these core competencies in its bucket that are required for a successful business.

Blockchain in the healthcare industry: a perception

Wednesday August 01, 2018,

6 min Read

Calling Blockchain, the buzzword of the year, would not be wrong. The craze and hype of this technology is evident across the world. As per a report by Transparency Market Research, the Blockchain market was valued at 315.9M in 2015. It is predicted to reach $20 billion by the end of 2024, while increase evolving at an annual growth rate of 58.7%. Growing number of organizations and institutions adopting Blockchain is one of the biggest factors that drive the market.


No wonder, hundreds of organizations, enterprises, startups, and ventures experimenting with this technology. Just take the example of ‘Kodak and Long Island Ice Tea’, attempted to leverage on the Blockchain. We don’t know how long the craze for Blockchain will last or which organizations will prove themselves successful and long-lasting. The market landscape may change sooner than our expectations. However, considering the current scenario, today I am going to unveil the benefits of Blockchain in the healthcare sector. But, to understand its impact on the healthcare, let’s have a quick overview of Blockchain.

What Is the Heck Blockchain?

The Blockchain is a distributed and safe technology framework that logs data on connected blocks and saves it on an encrypted digital ledger. The data gets stored in different locations. Hence, if a PC is compromised, the technology offers you to control the access to the digital ledger. Blockchain ensures that the right person will have the right information with no fear of information leakage or hacking. This lead to the question that why is it a win-win for the healthcare industry?

Since the blocks are immutable, you cannot change or delete anything. If you try to do so, it is very easy to catch you. That is crucial in the case of health data. Blockchain can secure clinical trial or health records. If I talk about pharma, then the technology can ensure a secure supply chain by fighting against the problem of counterfeit drugs. Let’s get an idea of how individual organizations and firms can implement Blockchain’s features into beneficial solutions in the healthcare sector.

Safe Supply Chain: Since, all the transactions utilizing Blockchain are stored on a sequential, validated, and unalterable record, it can totally revamp supply chains over the healthcare sphere. One noteworthy potential application—as of now being used in different enterprises, for example, grocery, shipping, and luxury goods—includes medtech organizations tracking device. This can track the entire journey of compounds and raw materials through each step of the supply chain. From the source to organization facilities to the buyers or patients, everything can be tracked easily. The provider can log data onto a Blockchain record via data entry or data transfer from sensors associated with the Internet of Things (IoT). Since data on a Blockchain is both, accessible (to those who have permission) and immutable, its proprietors can distinguish fake materials, environmental breakdowns or malfunctions. Moreover, the technology can make sure that the transactions are tamper-free.

Organizations in healthcare, as well as creating industries are designing such solutions. The MediLedger Project, developed by several companies that incorporates pharma giants Genentech and Pfizer, has effectively guided a program. This program utilizes Blockchain instruments gave by Chronicled, a US-based startup, to track medicines. Modum.io joins sensors and Blockchain to regulate items needing cold-chain handling to enhance pharma supply-chain proficiency. BlockVerify confirms items by following QR codes on packaging on a Blockchain (for pharmaceuticals, valuable stones, luxury items, and electronics).

Making Patients in Charge of Their Data: Blockchain can place patients responsible for their information, and it can allow doctors at various places (that have been conceded authorization) to access that information for better medical interventions and diagnosis. Today it is technologically feasible to record every single medical transaction on a Blockchain. It could enable patients to keep up an entire audit trail of each specialist, medical device, provider, payer, HIE (Health Information Exchange), or any other entity or person having the access of data. Moreover, the technology, with its transparency, will enhance trust amongst patients and different members in the healthcare systems. It likewise evades the potential security and moral situations that may emerge when patients incidentally share, or organizations access, huge data than wanted or expected.

One organization investigating Blockchain's poten­tial with respect to patient data, Google's DeepMind, is working with NHS (National Health Service) to send a private Blockchain. By doing so, it makes strong audit trails that track precisely the end result for individual information. The objective is to empower the NHS—and in the long run- allow patients to track individual information access and use instantly.

MIT Media Lab introduced MedRec, which it depicts as “a novel, decentralized record management system for EMRs that uses blockchain technology to manage authentication, confidentiality, accountability, and data sharing.”

Speeding up R&D: Blockchain can possibly streamline and quicken R&D, boost development, and bring down expenses at pharma and medtech organizations. For instance, it can consequently approve, organize, and keep up steady ad­herence to validate trial rules over R&D sites and ventures. Patients can self-recognize and enlist in clinical preliminaries, and the framework will consequently asses and check their eligibility. Specialists can rapidly accumulate required clinical information in dependably checked ways. This is because the system saves all the information in a constant, accessible infrastructure in which patients allow access to others by sharing open and private keys. Richer data sets will allow more complicated studies and strong outcomes.

Smart Contracts can regulate the data consistently mined from the health records to distinguish new trials or to avoid intricacies.

The majority of this implies speedier, more cost-effective conclusion of trials through proficient patient enrollment, sharing of information over numerous sites, diminished preprocessing of data, and quicker administrative approvals. With better data present in the process, organizations can end trails when achievement seems far-fetched and move resources to higher-potential undertakings.

Pharma organization and academic institutions are discovering approaches to understand this potential. For instance, researchers at MIT are building up the OPAL/Enigma platform, which allows parties to together store and examine the data with privacy.

From Evolution to Revolution

Blockchain technology still needs to cover a long journey. However, with the pace the technology going ahead is indicating the transformation it will bring to the world would be amazing.