A survey recently conducted by Black Book showed that 90
percent of medical group managers and IT specialists agree that blockchain may
resolve and expedite most concerns of connectivity, privacy and patient record
sharing. Blockchain technology is perhaps the most popular strategy circulating
among health care experts.
Traditionally, due to heavy regulation, health care
industry is not a pioneer of innovation: it is slower than others to adopt new
techniques and technologies (by nature, health is a sensitive topic for
patient, as for governments). Subsequently, a large gap in technical advantages
is starkly visible today. The rise of blockchain technology represents a real
opportunity to embrace innovation, create new models and improve life of
patients. Personal medical records, drug traceability and clinical trials
represent three of its most promising applications.
Systematic exchange of personal medical records in a
secured environment is one of the most promising usage of the blockchain in the
to share and track encrypted personal data through the blockchain would be a
significant progress for medical institutions, patients and third-party
organizations that would benefit from a safe channel for the exchange of case
histories, medical records, prescriptions and inquiries.
context of clinical trials, a distributed ledger could allow individual
patients to store data anonymously. Afterwards this data can be shared
with trial recruiters, who could then reach out to individuals who meet the
eligibility criteria for a given trial. In addition, it could simplify
communication between doctors and patients during the clinical tests.
traceability, blockchain can also be a solution to tackle drugs
falsification. Pharmaceutical organizations can track products down the supply
chain, along airtight distribution networks, impermeable to counterfeit
medicine. Stakeholders – labs especially – can locate drugs and eventually take
action after their distribution (such as product recall for example).
promising technologies could help significantly the industry and improve life
of millions of patients. But many smaller projects attract researchers and
funders and worth to be considered:
Medical big data can be encrypted into blockchain to compute and
analyze patterns and decrease risks of misdiagnosis and treatment errors.
New business models are emerging, based on combination of quantified self
(through connected objects), artificial intelligence and blockchain.
Blockchain can be used
for spread computing power. For instance, at Imperial College
research center Blockchain is used for protein decoding as it requires
much time and energy resources.
Rogers Diffusion of Innovation Bell1
Blockchain technology which
is a distributed ledger can potentially provide a robust framework to solve
these issues and save significant resources. Blockchain will automate the
complex medical claims procedure eliminating the needs of intermediaries, or
duplicated approval process. Automation will also reduce the administration
cost associated with document processing.
Blockchain can surely be a valuable asset in order to bring
the current Medical Industry to the new level of efficiency and effectiveness.
However, this innovation faces multiple
challenges of regulation and state
control, cartelization (Big pharma), financial
and economical complications.