How Blockchain Improves The Medical Industry

Health is at the heart of any form of success in life and civilization, and blockchain is like an improved circulatory system.

Medicine is a diverse and rapidly advancing field empowering individuals to take their health into their own hands. New medical technologies and applications are accomplishing feats previously never thought possible.

With such rapid advancements, we must take careful considerations in regards to healthcare. Medical history must remain private for the security of the patient in an ever more complex technological environment.

In this fifth installment of the Beyond Bitcoin - Endogenous And Exogenous Assets On The Blockchain series, we cover how blockchain drastically improves the medical industry.

Before reading on, here’s what you may have missed:

Part I: Beyond Bitcoin — Assets Off The Chain (Introduction)

Part II: Blockchain Reduces Risk and Costs in Trading Commodities

Part III: Exogenous Blockchains and Agriculture: Food for Thought

Part IV: Improving Real Estate With Blockchain

Photo by Owen Beard on Unsplash

Drugs must be carefully balanced and accurately tracked to ensure wider society’s safety despite increasing diversity and applications. Genomes and DNA give us access to predictive capabilities, and preventative medicine reveals the essence of what makes up a person’s biology. Therefore, that information must remain private.

The average annual medical expenditures topped $11,000 in 2018 in the United States, highlighting the growing need for innovative solutions. Blockchain is leading the way for many of these nuanced medical industries, helping to bring healthcare firmly into the 21st century.

Tokenizing Medical Records

Patient medical records provide a sense of continuity and ensure a seamless yet accurate user experience for the individual. The current process of transferring medical records from one practice to another is often cumbersome and subject to human error at many points during the transition.

Several companies are utilizing blockchain to address these deficiencies, some of which leverage blockchain and tokenization.

Patientory stores biometric user data on a trustless distributed ledger, allowing users to store their data and interface with it via the Patientory app.

Additionally, Patientory offers tokenization through their $PTOY token. Users can purchase storage space for their medical data on the platform.

Tokenization is also a feature of Medicalchain, a platform offering various healthcare solutions via their blockchain architecture. Medical professionals can use the Medicalchain service to pay patients in Med Tokens for participating in anonymous health studies. The patients can then use said tokens to purchase virtual consultation time with physicians.

More Options Than Tokenization

Coral Health offers a biometric mobile app secured through blockchain, similar to Patientory but without the tokenization model. The encrypted platform allows users to share medical records and chat with industry professionals. Patients can be confident that their information is private and secure with services like these.

Health record interoperability is the primary focus of MedRec. This MIT-backed company supplies healthcare providers with a blockchain architecture for storing and securely sharing real-time patient medical data.

Knowing Your Prescription

Many blockchain companies enable dynamic patient outreach and remote patient support, and healthcare management for healthcare providers:

ScalaMed is an application that interfaces with pharmacies and assists patients with prescription schedules. The app also alerts users about drug-to-drug reactions and potential allergy issues.

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, conscious and real-time healthcare practices are more critical than ever.

Real-time patient monitoring via alerts through the Tamarin platform incentivizes best-practice preventative measures by allowing users to log their symptoms as they develop.

HIPAA compliant, Tamarin seeks to flatten the curve by utilizing the uneditable nature of blockchain technology.

Based in Moscow, RoboMed offers healthcare providers the ability to present patients with a wide variety of healthcare services supported by their platform.

Allowing Data Silos To Talk To Each Other

The medical industry is a myriad of partners and cooperative entities that may not always overlap. Interoperability is a critical component of providing patients with timely medical information and assistance based on their unique needs and modernizing the medical industry.

As a regulated arbiter to a trustless blockchain platform, Akiri focuses on breaking down existing data silos in healthcare for patients, physicians, and providers. Akiri allows all parties to share relevant data in real-time.

Individual ownership of personal healthcare data is paramount, and BurstIQ leverages its proprietary blockchain to ensure communication between relevant parties does not entail unnecessary exposure to potential unrelated middlemen.

One approach to breaking down these existing data silos and advancing interoperability in the healthcare industry is through application programming interfaces (APIs).

While professionals can share medical data on a trustless network like a blockchain, the authenticity of that data is critical. For that reason, Guardtime Health assures accurately transmitted healthcare data for healthcare providers using a blockchain framework.

In addition to correspondence regarding patient records, healthcare contract fulfillment is another significant pain point for the medical industry. According to blockchain-based service Curisium, up to 10% of medical rebates will end up being disputed, leading to erroneously elevated administrative costs.

Curisium contains quantitative analytics to assist medical professionals in optimizing their practice’s performance. Also, they provide financial impact analysis to help keep track of their clients’ administrative expenditures.

ChangeHealthcare offers payers and providers a wide range of services from billing and payment processing to collection. ChangeHealthcare uses AI and machine learning alongside blockchain to power their dynamic service offerings to bring healthcare processes firmly into the 21st century.

Ensuring What You’re Taking Is The Real Thing

Assuring the authenticity of drugs is one of the essential components of healthcare.

Stopping illegal flows of narcotics, coupled with preventative treatment and education, is the most potent preventive force available to medical professionals and law enforcement.

Using their Mediledger network, Chronicled allows product verification to comply with the Drug Supply Chain Verification Act of the United States and verifies products in less than a second.

Chronicled helps address the relatively high churn rate of drug manufacturers as new products consistently come to market.

In Europe, BlockPharma is fulfilling a similar value proposition by offering point-of-origin confirmation at each pharmaceutical supply chain step. BlockPharma uses CrystalChain, a third-party blockchain verification software offering an integrated client restitution interface to confirm drug credibility for France’s clients and practices.

The Genome, Blockchain, And You

Genomic sequencing is one of the most cutting-edge biometric identification tools possible with modern technology. The process isolates core components of what makes an individual biologically unique.

Even identical twins, despite their name, have slight variations between their genomes. The genetic fingerprint offers medical professionals the ability to interpolate information about diseases, allowing for predictive and preventative care.

Given the individual nature of genetic information, people are rightfully wary of sharing the information publicly. That creates a catch-22 for scientists and medical professionals. Advancing the field of genomics is difficult if individuals are unwilling to share their genetic information for studying.

Using a blockchain, EncrypGen encrypts user genome profiles, allowing scientists to compare and experiment with genetic information without having the owner of that info revealed publicly.

EncrypGen uses tokenization to allow users to pay in traditional currencies and cryptocurrencies to receive anonymous genetic data.

Individuals can share their genetic information on Nebula’s blockchain-powered genetic sequencing platform for a similar service. Nebula users receive free DNA testing and learn more about their health in exchange for sharing their data.

Alternatively, users can pay upfront to keep their data anonymous and glean beneficial insights about their propensity to develop diseases and medical issues.

A Bright Future For Blockchain-Powered Medical Services

The future of blockchain in medicine is bright. The CDC has commented on the potent medical applications enabled by emerging technology.

Many providers already exist that allow users to control their data, offering a suite of seamless services. In turn, scientists gain access to more significant bodies of data for research.

The security of pharmaceuticals in the face of increasing data velocity and progress is a critical factor that blockchain succinctly addresses. Third-party providers are beginning to see the lucrative humanitarian opportunities presented by this technology, with companies such as R3 enabling both generalized and proprietary medical blockchain solutions for their clients.

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