Blockchain in medicine: how technology can change healthcare sector
According to Silicon Republic, a bank utilizing distributed ledger saves 8-12 billion dollars in total per year. However, the technology can be used not only in the business sector: the blockchain revolution has already reached healthcare. It has numerous opportunities in this sector. Let’s examine the technology potential in medicine based on case studies.
Storage ad processing of patient data
A number of patients in healthcare grows year by year, and medical staff receive more and more data on their health. It becomes increasingly difficult for hospitals to process and store information. Besides, data require careful treatment and confidentiality.
Currently, each hospital stores information in its own system, and theoretically it can be lost because of a glitch. Blockchain will be quite useful in such a case, as data integrity is one of its key features. When information is recorded and encrypted, it is impossible to change or delete it.
Example. Healthchain is a blockchain-based system developed by Vidushi Savant, MD, in the USA in 2017. The system stores patient data; it is also connected to medical treatment providers, pharmaceutical organizations, and insurance companies. Patients can independently provide an access to their own data.
IRYO is a service based on EOS blockchain. It allows patients to store medical record data and control their access. The system has its own cryptocurrency – Iryo. It will be given to users providing their data to research establishments.
CareX is a platform with its own CareX tokens, allowing to store health data. Moreover, it offers consultations by the AI chatbot that can make a provisional diagnosis.
Clinicoin is a project where participants receive tokens for embracing healthy lifestyle. Medical data are stored directly in the system in order to control the results. Besides, it allows suppliers to offer cooperation and researchers to conduct surveys.
Monitoring of supplies
Distributed ledger can be used to track deliveries of pharmaceutical drugs. It is able to store all the data: from data block formation to any figures related to a certain transaction. Consequently, every blockchain user can anytime find an owner of a certain data block. Furthermore, it is an entirely protected method of information exchange.
The platform available to suppliers and control authorities will provide transaction transparency and eliminate fraud in this area.
Example. In 2017, Chronicled Blockchain Lab designed The MediLedger Project, uniting pharmaceutical companies and distributors. The platform will be used by suppliers and inspection bodies.
The MediLedger Project was also designed because the U.S. Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) would become effective in 2023. According to it, pharmaceutical companies will be obliged to open an access to all prescription drugs.
There is still no solution regulating the whole delivery system, from manufacturers to customers. Blockchain is one of the potential options allowing to implement such a system. Chronicled believes that its product will help to solve this issue.
One more area that can benefit from blockchain is doctor's online advice. A platform where doctors can talk to patients online will provide video communications, keep patient’s medical records, store analysis and payment data. Doctors will be able to conduct health inspection as well as prescribe a treatment course and drugs. The advantage is that similar online consultations are not limited to a single city or country.
Example. Symptomatic is blockchain-based project able to store a large number of data. The system allows to create an electronic medical record and receive an online consultation. The project provides total confidentiality and offers users to participate in statistical investigations.
Docademic is a platform specializing in video advice since 2012. All information about patients are in the system and stored using blockchain technology. Like a previous project, the platform offers to take part in statistical investigations and regularly provides epidemiological data. Its medical services can be paid in Docademic’s cryptocurrency.
DocCoin is a Russian project helping users to conclude smart contracts with health specialists worldwide. Medical records are stored on platform’s cloud. The company has its own cryptocurrency called DocCoin allowing to pay for doctor’s services and health insurance.
Blockchain has a huge potential in the healthcare sector. Today, only a small amount of companies is integrating solutions based on this technology, while health facilities are at the stage of its testing. Despite this fact, there are real results. How will blockchain affect medicine in future? Time will tell.