Healthcare can be a complex and convoluted industry. The systems put in place for our health are outdated in terms of security, efficiency, and cost.
Blockchain healthcare use cases are being discovered by the day, and with them the entire healthcare system can be completely overhauled. Many healthcare and blockchain companies are currently working on or have already released blockchain-based systems to improve healthcare for both professionals and patients. By decentralizing patient health history, tracking pharmaceuticals, and improving payment options, blockchain is becoming a valuable tool for healthcare, revolutionizing the industry worldwide.
1. MedRec Improving Medical Record Access
Entities involved: MIT Media Lab, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Project status: MedRec 2.0 is currently being tested on databases. Its code is open-source and currently hosted at the Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Its developers are currently hoping to further build the program and then deploy it on a network.
Sources: MedRec site
One of the most popular healthcare use cases for blockchain is patient data management. Medical records tend to be separated by health agencies, making it impossible to determine a patient’s medical history without consulting their previous care provider. This process can take a significant amount of time, and may often result in mistakes due to human error.
Developed on the Ethereum blockchain, MedRec is a “system that prioritizes patient agency, giving a transparent and accessible view of medical history.” MedRec is intended to store all of a patient’s information in one place, making it simpler for patients and doctors to view. In its current design, providers maintain the blockchain through the Proof of Authority (PoA) mechanism.
2. SimplyVital Health Cutting Costs by ConnectingCare
Entities involved: SimplyVital Health
Project status: ConnectingCare is currently available for use through the SimplyVital Health website. SimplyVital Health has launched an ICO as the first of its four road map phases till Health Nexus’ eventual release, which is expected in 2019.
Sources: SimplyVital Health site
SimplyVital Health has two projects running on the blockchain technology. ConnectingCare, according to CTO of SimplyVital Health Lucas Hendren, “uses care coordination and financial forecasting to help providers in bundled payments get insight into what happens to patients when they leave the hospital.” It is currently on the market, helping healthcare providers determine how much a patient’s care will cost them when bundled with multiple organizations.
Upon the release of ConnectingCare, SimplyVital Health was able to collect data on the blockchain and determine what was needed for their next project, Health Nexus. Health Nexus stores a patient’s information on a blockchain for all the parties to view. It also will possibly allow patients to sell their data to researchers for profit.
3. Taipei Medical University Improving Medical Record Keeping
The Taipei Medical University Hospital and Digital Treasury Corporation (DTCO) have recently released phrOS. It aims to increase transparency between medical institutions by putting all of a patient’s medical information on a blockchain.
It includes images, as well as various information concerning a patient’s condition. The information can be accessed by doctors and the patients themselves through a mobile app. It also increases the security of medical information through the Decentralized Ledger Technology (DLT).
4. U.S. Department of Defense Believing in Blockchain for Relief Efforts
Using Hurricane Maria relief efforts as a point of reference, the Department of Defense (DD) in conjunction with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) analyzed the potential of blockchain for future relief efforts. Currently, the DLA tracks logistics through centrally managed systems, which are split between multiple agencies. This makes it difficult for relief services to collaborate efficiently.
A blockchain-based system would allow for data to be added and tracked through a ledger, thereby providing a live feed of multiple agencies’ relief efforts. It can have the potential to save lives and money.
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5. FarmaTrust for Stopping Counterfeit Drugs
It is estimated that tens of thousands of people die each year due to counterfeit drugs. FarmaTrust intends to end that with their blockchain.
FarmaTrust’s blockchain will be broken down into four different sections. Regulatory Compliance aids pharmaceutical companies by ensuring they are working within guidelines established by the government. Track and Trace uses the blockchain to manage inventory wherever it goes. Supply Chain Visibility tracks when a medicine has been changed or altered in any way. And finally, Consumer Confidence App allows customers to see the lifecycle of their medication.
6. Medical Billing Company MTBC Making Electronic Health Records More Accessible
Electronic health records (EHR) can be hard to manage. One healthcare provider’s EHR for a patient may differ from the same patient’s other provider. MTBC intends to change that by using Application Program Interfaces (API) and blockchain. The idea is to put the control in the patient’s hands. A patient will have the ability to allow the transfer of records from one doctor to another. The blockchain API runs on the Hyperledger platform and is currently available.
7. Ambrosus Following the Trail of Clinical Trials and Pharmaceuticals
Multinational Internet of Things supply chain manufacturer Ambrosus currently offers a variety of blockchain platforms on their website. However, the company is very eager to expand their uses for the pharmaceutical industry. The company is currently in talks with large pharmaceutical suppliers in relation to launching a pilot program utilizing their current products.
8. Hashed Health’s Enabling Tracking of Professional Credentials
Hashed Health, a health-focused blockchain development company, intends to make credentials in the health sector more transparent and easily accessible. With Professional Credentials Exchange, members of the chain can verify the credentials and track records of various health professionals. This streamlines the hiring process, as well as provides an unalterable history of a professional’s healthcare career history.
9. Change Healthcare Bringing Enhanced Security and Control to its Healthcare Transactions
Change Healthcare develops a wide variety of products focused on payments and data management in the healthcare sector. According to their website, 92% of top U.S. health plans use their services.
One of their most recent developments simplifies claims management and revenue cycle management. It helps hospitals and health systems manage claims and remittances, improve collection of patient payments, minimize denials and underpayments, as well as manage daily revenue cycles and business operations more effectively.
10. MedicalChain Improving Patient-Doctor Interactions
Entities involved: MedicalChain
Project status: MedicalChain is currently offering MedTokens on various exchanges to fund development. They also announced a partnership with the Groves Medical Group, with whom they will conduct their first pilot project.
Sources: MedicalChain partnership press release
With MedicalChain, you have full access and control over your own personal health data. Users are able to grant doctors immediate access to their health record via their mobile devices while data is kept secure on the blockchain. Patients can also wear wristbands, which medical professionals can scan to access a person’s medical history if they are unconscious. It also offers telemedicine communication enabling online video consultations with doctors.
Blockchain in Healthcare: Much More to Come
As shown above, blockchain use cases in healthcare are plentiful and have the ability to transform the entire sector. The only issue now is getting healthcare providers to adopt the blockchain systems on a wider scale. Once mass adoption occurs, it will foster the improvement of the entire healthcare system.