It seems like healthcare, one of the wariest industries when it comes to implementing new technologies, is ripe for a blockchain disruption. There has been an increasing number of companies aiming to bring order to medical records and put them all together on the cloud-data shelf. Fragmented, insecure, and proprietary information is now scattered across multiple facilities and sometimes is not accessible for either doctors, or for patients. Let’s take a closer look at the problem and the cure that blockchain projects prescribe.
There are thousands of different electronic records systems in use today, each with its own language for representing and sharing data, and most of these systems are tied to a certain clinic or hospital. As a result, providers in different networks may not see one another’s prescriptions.
In other words, electronic records systems are messy. Frequently, ERMs store outdated or simply incorrect information. They also appear to have much to learn about security – there were 791 major medical data breaches reported worldwide in the first half of 2017.
A hallmark of blockchain systems is a strong data integrity. The technology involves an innovative way to store and track information using peer-to-peer transactions that cannot be altered without permission. Here’s what it means for ERMs:
– Blockchain can provide easily-accessible and complete medical records for healthcare providers to coordinate better and personalize care;
– It can allow patients to access and control their entire medical history easily;
– It can ensure the security and protect the data from hackers.
Now, let’s see how individual projects and companies turn blockchain’s advantages into beneficial solutions in the healthcare sphere.
The company is building a decentralized, blockchain-based platform to securely store health records and share these digital records with doctors, hospitals, laboratories, pharmacists – if the patient permits these stakeholders. Moreover, Medicalchain also supports telemedicine on its platform: it allows patients to communicate with their doctors via online sessions and share their health information. In the future, the enterprise will let third-party developers build applications within the Medicalchain system, which could mean medication management solutions, apps interacting with wearables or giving dietary advice.
The Moscow-based fintech start-up VR MED is working on a virtual reality headset for mobile treatment and diagnostics of such diseases as glaucoma at early stages. Also, VR Med is the first project from the field of ophthalmology aiming to reconstruct Electronic Health Records (EHRs). Its concept implies that medical records, with the patient’s agreement, will be transferred to decentralized platforms such as Medicalchain, Patientory, Burstiq (these are companies VR Med has partner agreements with). And anonymous information from patient documents will be used for further medical research and scientific discoveries.
The team behind VR Med believes that the implementation of blockchain will help them to keep ophthalmic data registers unified and secure. And, as a result, to take the effectiveness of treatment to the next level.
“The idea is to bring success not only in ophthalmology, but also neurology and rehabilitation, diagnose and treat patients in different clinics, relying on a single information, engage specialist from all over the world and conduct remote consultations” – says Ilya Panenkov, founder and general director of a network of large rehabilitation clinics in Moscow.
There is one more benefit of the technology to mention here. It will make all processes of interactions VR Med with clients, clinics and investors transparent: blockchain services allow tracking any transactions.
Patientory develops a blockchain-based platform for securing health data for patients, providers and medical institutions. Its healthcare app lets users create a patient profile to keep track of their health history. The software provides patients with an easy way of tracking doctor visits, medical bills, personal medical information, insurance, immunizations and pharmacy medications.
The company envisions the patient becoming the “primary intermediary in sending and receiving health information negating the need for frequent updates and troubleshooting of any software.”
In other words, the patient can grant access to his/her data to healthcare institutions is then able to add new records such as ER visits, medical images, and more.
Based in Venice, California – Gem develops blockchain applications for healthcare and supply chain management. The Gem Healthcare Network, developed on the Ethereum blockchain, will add security via permissioned blockchains to let patients control access.
Initially, the company is tackling health claims management in an effort to make the process of verifying health claims and reimbursements more efficient. Gem’s platform, GemOS, will allow patients, providers, and insurers to securely view a patient’s health timeline in real-time, improving speed and transparency throughout the claims process.
The San Francisco-based tech company applies blockchain technology combined with Internet of Things (IoT) systems to supply chains to help improve traceability and accountability. It is crucial in industries such as pharma, precious metals or other high-value commodities.
In case of time- and temperature sensitive healthcare products such as various vaccines, safe and timely delivery is crucial. Blockchain solutions could help speed up logistics, minimize discrepancies, create potential cost savings from streamlined processes, improve product visibility, and add transparency as products travel through the pharma supply chain.
Due to the technology of the blockchain, the creators of medical projects can boldly expand the boundaries of existing services by providing new opportunities for both doctors and patients. Today we are the witnesses of the beginning of a new approach to medical researches, while tomorrow we are already a part of the high-tech medicine.