We know that blockchain is being actively implemented in different spheres of our lives starting from finances and finishing by transportation. Theoretically, any company can benefit from blockchain technology, but how exactly? Today we will find out which advantages of cryptocurrency & blockchain are reaped by healthcare companies and observe a few successful use cases.
How Blockchain Can Help Healthcare?
Blockchain in healthcare can completely change the system. This can help the healthcare industry overcome the difficulties it is facing. For example, it can help improve universal access, integrity, security, traceability, and interoperability. Blockchain medical applications are the key to improving the current state of healthcare.
Thanks to the blockchain, several healthcare systems can integrate and exchange data with each other thanks to the distributed structure that it can offer. So, which problems can blockchain address? Let’s list them below.
One of the biggest benefits of using the blockchain is the interoperability that it can offer. The current HIS uses various types of protocols and standards to provide access to data in hospitals. The blockchain can solve all compatibility issues as it acts as a decentralized database. Access to data is possible thanks to the API with an emphasis on a standard data format. The blockchain can also seamlessly unite current platforms and protocols that are used for access and storage of data.
Blockchain technology in healthcare also solves many of integrity challenges faced by the modern healthcare industry. The blockchain in healthcare today is well aware of how data is transferred between systems. With blockchain, data integrity can be maintained at all levels continuously. It also allows you to delete multiple instances of obsolete patient data.
In addition, after data loading to the blockchain, attackers cannot modify it, so the integrity is preserved. Only patients can change information when working with a doctor.
The modern healthcare industry is suffering from data leaks that cost companies millions of dollars. Data fraud and theft are becoming a serious problem and must be dealt with appropriately. The blockchain uses data encryption and private keys, and only the recipient can decrypt the contents using his own key.
Cost of care is also an integral issue of existing health systems. The current system requires maintenance for various operations and needs a dedicated team to ensure that all functions work appropriately and stay synchronized. The blockchain is devoid of this problem, as it functions as a distributed decentralized network.
Data is distributed over the network, which means there is no single point of failure. If a node fails, data can be obtained from other nodes, since the network has several copies of the data. Each node has its own copy of the database. The backup mechanism is amazing: it will help hospitals cope with emergencies much better. Another advantage of having a backup copy on each node means that when storing or receiving information, transaction costs are reduced.
Blockchain provides universal access to all its users. It does not depend on any central authority, which makes universal access impossible. Authorized persons can easily access data at any time, and the entire process can be automated with the help of various mechanisms similar to smart contracts. In short, blockchain is promising for medicine, and should also be encouraged in the work environment.
Blockchain in Healthcare: Use Cases
Let’s observe a few successful cases when blockchain and healthcare combined together help to achieve a lot of ground-breaking results.
Healthchain is a blockchain-based storage system for personal medical records. It was created in 2017 by Vidushi Savant, a doctor of medicine from Stanford University Medical Center in California. The interface for the patient conveniently reflects all current information on his health and all medical recommendations. The platform is also accessed by healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies and research organizations. Presented in the form of graphs, information about the health of patients, to which they themselves can open access and get money from interested parties, will help specialists improve treatment methods, attract customers, increase profits, and avoid costs while reducing administrative expenses.
2. Vitana App
LumenLab, a Singapore-based division of Metlife, a large insurance company, has launched the Insurechain pilot blockchain platform to automate insurance claims. The Vitana application powered by the Insurechain blockchain platform is designed to provide financial protection for pregnant women at risk for gestational diabetes.
To take advantage of the offer, patients need to go to the clinic that participates in the program and install the application on the phone. Using the application, the patient applies for an insurance policy. If the user is diagnosed with diabetes, an automatic insurance payment of $500 will be made. In the event of some complications, the amount of insurance payments can reach $ 2,000.
Thanks to the blockchain technology underlying the application, the insurance policy takes only a few minutes to be applied, and insurance payments occur automatically without the participation of patients.
Vitana was created thanks to the active participation of large corporations, such as SwissRe, Cognizant and Vault Dragon. They helped LumenLab with the design, development, and implementation of the project.
The application runs in Beta version and is available to patients in the App Store.
The platform is being developed for storing and controlling patients’ electronic medical records based on the EOS blockchain. Like many projects in this area, it provides safe storage of health data under the complete control of the patient himself. He can use the data in any preferable way, for example, transfer it to clinics and researchers. The platform operates its own cryptocurrency IRYO. The crypto is paid to the patients who have provided their electronic data for work to various research groups. Iryo also supports the creation of open-source cross-platform medical applications in the healthcare system. Developers plan to use the EOS blockchain.
Clinicoin is a platform that will reward participants for their healthy lifestyle. Information and personal medical data will be stored in the system, which will allow it to better track the results and develop individual plans. Participants will receive tokens for performing “healthy” actions. Health software and application developers can connect to the Clinicoin platform and earn CLIN tokens when clients use their applications. For healthcare providers and researchers, this is a chance to enlarge their client base and collect useful data for research while offering tokens for information to users.
FarmaTrust is developing a fast, scalable and secure blockchain solution that automates all stages of pharmaceutical product tracking in the supply chain.
The Zoi blockchain system created by the company helps minimize the costs and resources needed to fully monitor drugs. The platform integrates with existing corporate software solutions and helps reduce the likelihood of destabilization of existing business processes, for example, due to disruption or delay in the supply of goods
The solution is built on the Ethereum public blockchain. The company also successfully launched PoC on the private versions of Ethereum: Tomochain and Quorum. The platform uses a decentralized registry to store data on tracking the origin of medicines, smart contracts to automate the delivery of legal products, and artificial intelligence to predict drug needs.
6. Open Longevity
This is a startup from Russia, which is at the stage of ICO. It involves the development of a diagnostic panel for aging, that is, software that will allow you to accumulate and analyze data on health status, age-related changes in the body and based on them to create effective methods for the treatment of aging. Blockchain will become the standard for the transfer and storage of biomedical data. The creators of the project plan to use it in order to ensure the transparency of actions of all participants, the convenience of monitoring information and access to it by researchers. The following functions are provided for users:
- loading of personal data (test results) on the basis of which a self-learning neural network will suggest recommendations on lifestyle and nutrition;
- access to a database of doctors and scientific analysts with whom you can consult;
- the opportunity to participate in research;
- purchase of medical services, drugs, gadgets for tokens.
The project creates its own YEAR tokens that will serve as the means of payment inside the platform (they can also be mined). Tokens are also the currency of the Fund which will sponsor research under the project.
BurstIQ is a system for processing, storing and transmitting patient medical data created in the USA. By and large, this is a trading platform focused on the convenient exchange of information about your health with specialists, research centers and pharmaceutical companies. The creators of the project call their concept HealthWallet. In the wallet, the user will have access to all data related to his health:
- test results,
- genetic or molecular diagnostics,
- information from a personal fitness device,
- nutrition information.
The BurstIQ platform can be used to obtain information about your disease, transfer data to research projects, clinical trials, consultations with specialists to draw up an individual training plan, diet, etc.
In 2016, BurstIQ collected 25 billion data points. The main advantage of the platform is that it can work with a large array of data, which will solve the big data problem in the future. According to estimates for 2013 (from white paper BurstIQ), the healthcare industry accounted for approximately 153 exabytes of data, and this number is expected to increase to 2,314 exabytes by 2020.
Future of Crypto and Blockchain in Healthcare
The above-mentioned projects are the first step towards integrating blockchain into medicine. Healthcare offers a huge field for the implementation of new ideas.
However, existing projects are mostly prototypes under development. Most of these prototypes are at the alpha/beta testing stage, which makes it impossible to estimate their current value and perceptiveness. Luckily, many projects are open source and available to new users: all of us can test or develop them and contribute to the global healthcare system.
Of course, when it comes to introducing new technology, economic feasibility plays a key role. But in medical blockchain startups, everyone wins – not only patients but also clinics and insurance companies.