Implementation of Blockchain Technology in Healthcare in 2023
Blockchain in the healthcare sector is used for clinical data exchange, billing, medicine supply chain management, as well as medicine development, and clinical research. Blockchain technologies have the potential to completely transform the way clinical information is received, stored, and shared between partners, payers, and patients. In addition, the use of blockchain ensures the security and safety of data, which is of great importance for protecting privacy.
Need for Blockchain Technology in Healthcare
Nowadays the need for quality health facilities is provided by innovative technologies. Blockchain plays a crucial role in transforming healthcare. The health system is moving towards a patient-oriented approach and focuses on 2 main goals: accessible services and appropriate resources anytime. Blockchain for healthcare helps organizations provide proper patient care and quality health facilities. Health Information Exchange is one of the time-consuming and repetitive processes that lead to high costs but are sorted out fast using this technology. With the help of blockchain technology, citizens can take part in health study programs. Furthermore, research and sharing data on public well-being will help treatment for various communities.
Until now, the most crucial problems were data protection, sharing, and interactions in health management. This specific problem is resolved by blockchain. The technology ensures security, data exchange, interactions, integrity, and instant updating and access. There are also concerns about data protection, especially in personalized medicine. Patients and med personnel need secure means of recording, and consulting data without safety concerns, Blockchain technology is used to resolve these problems.
Existing Challenges In The Healthcare System
Healthcare is an intricate sector. It is directly interacting with us on all levels - physical, mental, and financial.
So, the impact of innovative technologies needs attention and investigation.
Despite the enthusiasm, the health sector has delayed in means of adopting and using blockchain technology. But, deploying this technology will be crucial in optimizing different processes and overcoming challenges.
1. Lack Of Fast Interoperability
Some of the problems that the healthcare industry is the disconnected and scattered patient data across departments, stakeholders, and systems. Medical data sharing is the base of a propriety healthcare system. But still, systems require patients to share medical records via paper or electronic disk copies.
This is ineffective because:
- Records have to be delivered and take by patients within 30 days - so the process slow.
- Records may be stolen or lost during transportation by patients - it’s not secure.
- Patient history may be incomplete if data in separate systems
- The healthcare sector is provider-centric instead of patient-centric, so the patients can't take control of their records.
- Lack of architecture prevents important data from being accessible - it affects the accuracy of the treatment.
Efficient data sharing helps diagnostic accuracy by involving all recommendations or confirmations from another medical expert.
2. Inefficient & Complex EHR Data Storing
Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems are an effective method to share records among hospitals and various healthcare institutions. But this process is far from flawless, as it is hard to access siloed data through many EHRs.
EHRs are often a cause of physicians’ burnout. Physicians who spend 6 hours weekly after hours in EHR work are 3 times more likely to report burnout.
Physicians who spend more time updating systems manually are more likely to misdiagnose. 40% of healthcare data records are filled with misleading information or errors. Healthcare centers provide complex, data-intensive, manual processes, more than other industries.
3. Limited Access To Population Health Data
Healthcare practitioners and researchers struggle with fragmented data. Due to responsibility and financial consequences associated with data providers feel unwilling to share patient data, even if it is anonymized.
Locally, medical data is for monitoring population health and interventions. Nationally, it’s for resourcing allocation and planning. At a global level, population data is for estimating global burdens of diseases, measuring development in health, and containing emerging health threats.
Data is of great importance for secondary use that involves academic research and technology developments.
4. Data Privacy & Data Security
There is a need for sharing, and issues over information security and privacy are of high priority. Many healthcare institutions still depend on outdated systems when storing patient records.
Data security breaches show the system’s inadequacy in sharing confidential information securely. Healthcare systems nowadays are not unified. They use many EHRs that can be exploited so the industry is vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
According to I.B.M.’s 2021 Cost of a Data Breach report healthcare has had the highest cost of a breach, with an average of $9.23 million. According to another report, 83% of medical imaging devices run on unsupported operating systems, with the risk of cyberattacks.
An interface change on the system requires other parties in the network to change as well. These problems show the need for a secure medical infrastructure.
5. Interoperability Concerns
Today, medical data contains large volumes of data from different sources. That can be cancer patients, chronic conditions patients, or others.
Records of patients may include medical images, physician reports, lab reports, and wearables. These scale datasets are challenging to share via the internet, in rural areas with limited bandwidth or firewall settings.
Various Capabilities of Blockchain Technology to Support the Healthcare Culture Globally
Blockchain has a wide range of functions in healthcare. The technology helps researchers uncover genetic codes by providing the secure transfer of medical records, managing the medicine supply chain, and simplifying the safe transfer of medical records. Blockchain protects healthcare data, different genomics management, electronic data management, interoperability, medical records, digitalized tracking and problems outbreak, etc. The complete digitalized feature of Blockchain technology and its use in healthcare applications are the crucial reasons for its adoption.
The Blockchain makes the prescription process transparent, from manufacturing to pharmacy stores. Congestion, direction, and speed can all be tracked utilizing IoT and Blockchain. The deployment of digital frameworks on Blockchain would help the logistics data to avoid uncontrolled adjustments. It prevents the illicit handling of records, medication, and payments.
Blockchain can improve the condition of patients and at a competitive cost retaining the funds. With multi-level authentication it eliminates barriers. Blockchain can preserve an incorruptible, decentralized, and transparent log of patient data. Blockchain is visible, but it is also private, securing any person's identity behind complicated algorithms. Thanks to the decentralized structure, doctors, patients, and healthcare providers can share the same information fast and safely.
Blockchain technology simplifies the transition to interoperability led by patients because it allows patients to make their medical data accessible. This gives patients power over personal information and improves privacy. Blockchain applications throughout the industry could solve quality management and enforcement. Blockchain assists regulatory authorities in tracing legal medicine against falsified ones. All parties can share digital transactions that contain the patient's details.
7 Blockchain Cases in Healthcare
With a clear idea of the need for blockchain in healthcare, let's look at the main use cases for this technology in healthcare.
1. Fake medicine
Problem. It has been estimated that 1M people die each year due to fake medicine. According to WHO, about 10% of all medicine in the world is counterfeited, and in developing countries - more than 30%. In most cases, the problem is due to the lack of tools, practices, and habits to verify the authenticity of medicines, both on the part of patients and the part of government agencies.
It is also important to note that the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates that pharmaceutical companies around the world incur losses of up to $200 billion annually related to counterfeit medicines. Compare that figure to the $250 billion illegal drug trade and you'll see just how big the problem is.
What Blockchain can do? This technology can reduce the risks associated with counterfeit medicines and therefore save many lives, as well as save the global economy billions of dollars. The thing is that Blockchain involves recording all operations in the registry using a mechanism that cuts off all attempts to add data from unauthorized sources and protects this data from deletion and modification. There are already several successful solutions on the market that have confirmed this concept in practice. Here are the most striking cases.
- iSolve provides transparency and security at all levels of medicine development and supply, allowing companies to better understand stocks, medicine demand, and patient needs. The company recently introduced a blockchain-based solution called ADLTTM that should help improve medication compliance.
- TraceRX is a blockchain-based pharmaceutical supply chain solution for International Aid. LeewayHertz Technologies has developed this distributed ledger platform to track the distribution of free medicine and detect missing medications.
- Walmart, IBM, Merck, and KPMG have jointly developed a blockchain solution to help track pharmaceuticals throughout the supply chain. This project is aimed at ensuring that only real medicines that meet all quality standards get into clinics and pharmacies.
2. Data storage and security
Problem. Data security is a major concern in the healthcare industry. So, only in the period from July 2021 to June 2022, almost 700 large leaks of medical data were registered. Criminals steal credit card and banking information, as well as health records, genomic test results, and other medical data.
What Blockchain can do? The technology is decentralized and can keep a transparent log of all data which makes it widely adopted for security, including in the healthcare sector. All transactions between participants are visible, but it is also confidential - network participants are anonymous. These features make blockchain a perfect solution for storing and sharing medical data.
Here are some examples:
- MediBloc has developed a patient-centric health data ecosystem that protects individuals' privacy and increases the reliability of health data. Their blockchain platform is called Panacea.
- The Akiri platform ensures that medical data remains secure and is only available to those parties who have the authority to use it.
- This platform helps healthcare companies securely and securely manage vast amounts of patient data. Their technology allows data to be stored, sold, licensed, and exchanged in strict compliance with HIPAA and other regulations.
3. Data management and segmentation
Problem. Health information management is another area where the performance of the health sector remains weak. The problem here is that critical patient information is usually segmented and scattered across multiple systems, making it difficult for medical staff to work, especially in critical situations where seconds decide whether a person lives or dies.
What Blockchain can do? Blockchain in healthcare systems is expected to completely change the way patients store and share electronic medical records. This technology will link all patient data in one safe and secure medical platform.
4. Clinical medical trials
Problem. There are also many challenges in the medical clinical trials segment. The most notable are the privacy of personal data, the strength of authentication, and the security of data sharing. Other challenges of clinical trials include:
Nearly 50% of clinical trials are simply not registered, with researchers often not sharing results. This is expected to create knowledge gaps for health policymakers and investors, as well as several vital patient safety concerns.
Clinical trial sponsors spend almost 25% of their total budget on baseline data verification (SDV) to ensure the origin and integrity of the collected information by all regulatory requirements. At the same time, the growth of preference for eSource data is expected to increase the complexity of all processes and costs associated with the ethical management and collection of data, as well as their reproducibility.
What Blockchain can do? Blockchain in clinical trials will create new patient engagement initiatives and improve patient control over their medical data. Blockchain will also enable the creation of a decentralized marketplace for data providers (including patients and test subjects) that will allow data sources to control the availability of information related to their health reliably and securely. In addition to this, such a marketplace will also create a system for managing patient consent to share their personal health-related information and managing pharmaceutical clinical trials.
Here are a couple of the most successful ones:
- Focuses on using decentralized clinical trials to effectively treat patients. In March 2018, Medable announced the launch of the INSIGHT network, which is a blockchain-based platform. It combines incentives for biopharmaceutical companies, medical researchers, and patients to self-exchange real-world evidence (RWE) information and ensures transparent and verifiable health information sharing.
- This is a virtual research and regulatory intelligence platform designed to accelerate medicine development. The platform has tools for obtaining digital consent, collecting medical data, and storing it on the Embleema blockchain.
- Boehringer Ingelheim. This company has teamed up with IBM to test whether blockchain technology can provide data integrity, provenance, and transparency in clinical trials.
5. Supply chain management
Problem. What do we know about medicines? Can we be sure it's not fake? Were the rules for the storage of medicines observed during their transportation? These questions are the main challenges of healthcare supply chains and are almost impossible to answer with a traditional supply chain management approach – it is complex and expensive.
What Blockchain can do? Blockchain has already proven to be effective in supply chain management and traceability in retail, mining, automotive, and shipping. And there is no doubt that the blockchain can optimize the supply chain of medical products.
- MediLedger is a leading example of a blockchain protocol that allows companies throughout the prescription medicine supply chain to verify their authenticity, as well as expiration dates and other critical information.
- FarmaTrust is engaged in the innovation and digitalization of healthcare and pharmaceutical enterprises. The company pays special attention to ensuring end-to-end visibility and transparency of supply chain processes in pharmaceutical segments through various AI and blockchain-based solutions. Key business segments offered by the company include pharmaceutical tracking and data, cell and gene therapy, medical device services, and vaccination solutions.
- The company offers a blockchain solution for medication tracking and anti-counterfeiting. By scanning the supply chain and checking all shipping points, the company's app lets patients know if they are taking genuine or counterfeit medicines. The company guarantees that all medications tracked in its system are 100% genuine.
- This company launched Mediledger, an accounting system dedicated to the security, privacy, and efficiency of healthcare supply chains. Mediledger helps pharmaceutical companies ensure that their medical products are delivered by all drug storage laws and regulations. The network also helps law enforcement check any suspicious activity.
6. Checking the certificate of employees
Problem. According to Statista, there are over 1M licensed doctors in the US. With such a large number of medical professionals, it can be difficult to verify the credentials of everyone, and a person without the appropriate knowledge and skills may be admitted to treat a patient.
What Blockchain can do? Similar to tracking the origin of medical supplies, blockchain technology can be used to verify the qualifications of medical professionals. To do this, you need to create a blockchain platform in which trusted universities and medical institutions will enter data on graduates and employees, which will simplify the recruitment process for healthcare organizations.
Problem. Genomics is a branch of biology that studies the structure, function, evolution, mapping, and editing of genomes. And while the potential for this area of medicine is almost limitless, it has a strong deterrent - many patients simply do not want to share their genomic data. This greatly complicates the development of genomics, since it is based on the analysis of huge datasets about genomes and genes and their impact on living organisms.
Blockchain solution. Blockchain technology can become the foundation for the development of decentralized platforms for the secure storage and exchange of genomic data. It can also create a marketplace where people can sell their genetic information, giving scientists access to valuable data faster than ever before.
Here are examples of such projects:
- EncryptGen Gene-Chain. Blockchain platform for finding, sharing, storing, buying, and selling genetic information.
- Nebula Genomics. Uses blockchain technology to eliminate unnecessary costs and intermediaries in the genetic research process. The platform helps users monetize their genetic data by creating the widest possible database of people's genes.
- Doc.ai. Uses blockchain technology and artificial intelligence for the decentralized storage and exchange of medical data. On Doc.ai. users can share their medical and genomic data with the scientific community while maintaining their privacy.
How Stfalcon Can Help You to Implement Blockchain Technology
In Stfalcon, we develop IT solutions for automation in the medical field. Technologies enhance medical treatment and patient care and facilitate personnel workflow. We can develop advanced and reliable software, web services, and mobile applications for practice management, medical analysis, and electronic health records. And, of course, can help you to implement Blockchain Technology into your project to shape the market. So, contact us, and let’s do this.
Blockchain in 2023 is at the center of many healthcare developments. This technology provides innovative ways for data storage and management models. This is due to the ability of the blockchain to segment and secure information, as well as share medical data and services in an unprecedented way.
Blockchain in healthcare, medicine, and pharmaceuticals can be used to manage electronic health records, and medicine supply chains, fight counterfeiting, control the distribution of donor organs, conduct clinical and biomedical research, remote patient monitoring, improve insurance and billing procedures, and analyze medical data.