BLOCKCHAIN FOR HEALTHCARE
The Healthcare industry consists of public and private sector organizations, hospitals and physicians, governmental regulatory bodies, companies, non-governmental organizations, insurance providers and healthcare information and management professionals. Overall, healthcare industry guides and tracks patients over time through a comprehensive array of health and medical services. This is where ‘Blockchain’ can add value, by bringing all these several different identities on one platform which is decentralized, trustable and transparent at the same time.
Top healthcare companies have already started implementing Blockchain technology internally. As in future it will prove to be indispensable in building a global precision-medicine ecosystem that optimally connects patients, hospitals , researchers, insurers and clinical laboratories to one another. Blockchain will improve data security, data sharing, interoperability, patient engagement, big data analytics, health information exchange, fighting counterfeit drugs, R&D processes, AI-based diagnostics and fostering vertical business models. Compared to the financial markets.
Beside that ‘Blockchain’ brings to table ‘Data Security’ There is a significant security risk associated with centralized ownership of medical records and data of patient, The consequences of even a single cyber attack penetrating a network can be devastating, resulting in enormous losses.
Last year when health insurance giant Anthem, (the second largest health insurer in America) announced a massive breach that compromised the data of 78.8 million people. The attackers gained unauthorized access to Anthem’s IT system and obtained personal information of patients.
According to the 2016 Ponemon Cost of Data Breach Study by IMB, about $7 million is the average total cost of a data breach. In one costly example, the Children’s Medical Center of Dallas after multiple HIPAA breaches was fined early this year a civil money penalty of $3.2 million.
Use Case 1
Interoperability & Data Sharing
The rise of the precision medicine era made it clear that R&D is all about interconnectivity and sharing informations. data sharing also ensure that precision medicine is brought to patients faster, cheaper, and with significantly less severe adverse effects, leveraging information from the interaction between labs, biobanks, business management, CROs, investigators, patients and a variety of other stakeholders. Sharing private genomic, metabolic and other health data is instrumental in enabling the next wave of scientific and medical advancements.This sharing economy ultimately translates to better drugs and overall well- being for patients around the globe.
However, current healthcare systems are not good at interconnectivity and interoperability. Even a simple process such as transferring patient data from one institution to another is complicated and expensive, and standards are so loosely defined that they wind up becoming interoperability barriers instead of enablers.
blockchain technology can improve data security and transparency for internal and external business units and collaborators, with fine-grained verification and authorization of participants. Improved interconnectivity goes well beyond the R&D process and includes manufacturing, distribution, and retail areas. Blockchain technology will change how pharmaceutical companies manage and record data providing security and transparency across all stakeholders.
Use Case 2
Pharmaceutical Supply Chain
The Pharmaceutical Supply Chain is defined as the management of product supply from raw material sourcing to active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) manufacturing through formulation, packaging, and distribution to the patient. Traceability throughout this process, especially on an international level, is challenging.
Under the present systems, drug shipments can pass through many hands, involving a lot of paperwork that can be tampered with. Utilizing distributed ledgers can improve revenue sharing, solve patent issues, traces transfer of assets, and enables proof of work/service.
In particular, if participants in the blockchain could chart the pharmaceutical supply chain from a batch number and factory of origin all the way to distributor, sale and storage and adherence, they could identify issues much more granularly. If regulators or payers identify a hotspot of patients having some sort of problem taking a drug, they can easily trace the problem back to the batch or improve the way patients stick with their regimens.
Use Case 3
Medicine And Drug Traceability
One of the most serious problems in pharmacology is drug counterfeit. According to the Health Research Funding Organization (HRFO), approximately 10%-30% of drugs in developing countries are fake. US businesses lose up to $200 billion annually because of drug counterfeiting
Trustworthy healthcare blockchain companies have to register their products in the private system to ensure authenticity and the high quality of their medicines. Private blockchains are moderated by central entities, and the fact that a specific producer or distributor has access to the so-called drug blockchain is proof of drug authenticity. This is where blockchain transparency comes in useful.
Once a drug is produced and moves from the manufacturer to retailer, the operational data is recorded on the blockchain. It makes it extremely easy to verify the whole path of the drug, and determine all chain links at any time and that allows manufacturers, distributors and dispensers to provide tracing information in shared ledger with automatic verification of important informations.
Use Case 4
During clinical trials, researchers obtain and record a great deal of information concerning statistics, test results, quality reports, etc. Each scientist is responsible for specific research, making it difficult to control everyone. Those data can then be easily modified or hidden in order to change the whole outcome of the research performed.
This technology allows users to prove the authenticity of any document registered in the system. It provides proof-of-existence by adding data in the form of the transaction and validating the information by all system nodes. As mentioned above, blockchain records immutable data. This characteristic will allow for the storage of results from clinical trials in a secure way, making it impossible to modify data.
Use Case 5
Patient Data Management
The Blockchain creates a hash for each Patient Health Information (PHI) block, together with a patient ID. Using an API, covered entities can receive the necessary information without revealing a patient’s identity. In the same way, a patient can decide whom to provide with access and whether this access will be either full or partial. Furthermore, a patient can set specific third parties that would have to give their permission for sharing the PHI, if the patient is not sure in what he or she is doing.
Use Case 6
Reimbursement & Insurance Clearance
Payers, patients and healthcare providers could use and exchange data more easily to verify insurance coverage. By creating trusted relationships between all participants and by storing transactions and contracts on a shared ledger, blockchains would allow a consistent, automatic contract execution environment. This could sharply reduce the level – and cost – of administration.
Use Case 7
Medical Devices & IOT
The relationship between people and machines will change radically over the next years, in large part because of the adoption of small medical devices and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. So far most, mobility approaches do not provide a solution that simultaneously fulfills security needs while enabling mobile access without causing privacy and usability
concerns with their end users. Blockchain could support IoT applications by facilitating transaction processing and coordination among interacting devices and downstream analytical processes. For example, blockchain can make it easier to synthesize data from IoT devices for chronic disease management, remote monitoring, or patient-provider communication, enabling fee-for-value systems that will play an important role in managing health and enabling affordable health care.
Using blockchain-supported wearables would be particularly useful to health care providers, who can assign risk scores to patients based on particular disease phenotypes or a combination of conditions, which in turn helps to deliver the most precise, timely, and cost-efficient combination of care services. However, improper health information exchange of biomedical data can put sensitive personal health information at risk. To protect the integrity and quality of a network of interconnected medical devices or wearables, all components will participate in the blockchain. In addition, for interconnected IoT devices to work on a massive scale, a next generation of IoT architecture is needed which will be decentralized and self- managed, with minimum human intervention. Medical devices will have the real-time health information of people and the relevant context to make accurate decisions by talking and collaborating with each other.