Blockchain: Making a Difference in the Healthcare Landscape

Blockchain is considered a top 5 strategic priority by 40% of the healthcare executives, Deloitte’s survey shows. 

The now headliner blockchain technology is gaining momentum as a transformative technology with the potential to redefine a wide variety of industries. Originally from cryptocurrency and cybersecurity, blockchain is making its way as a trusted strategy for managing big data in the broad healthcare ecosystem. 

An increasing number of healthtech and pharmatech companies are moving from exploring the technology to implementing it with clear outcomes in mind: from health data management and consent management, to pharma supply chain, clinical trials and claims management. 

→ Explore more DLTs – how to choose the right blockchain for your business

 

Health Data Management and Interoperability across Clinical Vertical 

Healthcare blockchain can potentially save the industry up to $100 billion per year by 2025 in expenses related to health data breaches, IT and operations and support functions, counterfeit and insurance frauds, as reported by BIS Research.

Medical records’ interoperability is the cornerstone of every healthcare system. The idea behind the application of blockchain technology, for health data exchange, is keeping the integrity of huge volumes of medical records, with a single-stop access for providers and patients, with highest data security.  This gives patients full authority over their personal medical history.

→ Read more Essentially, Data is good. It’s the use cases that can be problematic

For example, due to blockchain capabilities, a patient is the only decision-maker on whether to anonymously share their personal medical records with a researcher to be used in research, which could possibly make medical breakthroughs faster than they are now.

 

Consent Management across Engagement Vertical 

According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), about 10% of the monitored clinical trials are affected by consent-related issues, like lack of or invalid written informed consent, unapproved forms or missing revised re-consent forms, etc.

In a digital world, consent is how you exercise your rights and the healthcare environment is no different. Blockchain has the capability to decentralize the network and put an individual’s complete health records, along with the documented patient’s consent, on a ledger thus preventing pharma from monopolizing the data sharing process and it also precludes fraud.  Anyone interested in medical data about a patient will have to verify permissions in the blockchain. This issue is getting particularly hot with the development of the genomic market. 

The global genomics market size is expected to reach $27.6 billion by 2025, according to a report by Grand View Research, Inc.

Genomic studies help researchers understand the diseases’ mechanisms which empower evidence-based medical decisions and improve personalized treatment. Now that genetic code is revolutionizing targeted therapies, take for example non-Hodgkin lymphoma and some retinal disorders that are about to be cured with the help of human DNA, blockchain might securely and flexibly manage the data circulation needed to enhance research, while simultaneously allowing users to remain in control of their data and to decide exactly who it gets shared with and for what purposes.

→ Read our article on Pharma Manufacturing – Improving the risk-reward calculus for clinical trials:  How natural language processing and machine learning can boost success in drug development by Michael DePalma and Igor Kryglyak

 

Supply Chain Management, Clinical Trials and Drug Development across Pharma Vertical

Prescription drug sales globally are forecasted to hit $1.2 trillion by 2024, but there is still a huge feedback deficiency between pharmaceuticals and the consumers.

With the exponential growth of drug distribution chains, and the pressing issue of counterfeit medicines, global pharma companies and distributors are paying particular attention to supply chain security and traceability, with the help of blockchain. The real-time records securely stored in blockchain enable tracing barcode-tagged drugs by the authorized parties and eliminating economic loss alongside safety, labor, and logistics preservations.

→ Explore Pharma & Life Sciences Expertise by Avenga

 

Clinical Trials and Drug Development

Forbes states that, according to studies, about 50% of clinical trials go unreported, which potentially creates safety and information issues for both patients and healthcare professionals. 

Blockchain is becoming a viable tool for automatic controlled aggregation  and distribution of clinical data among researchers and care providers, consequently speeding up clinical trials and ultimately lowering drug development costs. When combined with the exhaustive EDC and other systems, blockchain technology addresses significant hurdles within clinical trials management such as processing huge volumes of data extracted from the research studies, meeting regulatory requirements, and above all – managing patients’ privacy issues, thus driving better patient engagement in research initiatives, and promoting precision-based medicine and better population health management. For example, blockchain can empower clinical trials by providing the researchers with real-time patient data in a completely secure way with application of “smart contracts”.

 

Payments and Claims Adjudication 

The market growth rate of blockchain in health insurance is expected to reach 70.2%.

Blockchain-based healthcare claims management solutions have proven beneficial since both payers and providers want to be assured of a secured financial network and that it operates within a personalized value-based care ecosystem. With the help of blockchain systems, claim adjudication, automated payment processing, credentials management, and regulations conformance will have reduced administrative costs and operational time for providers and payers, with very high security and full transparency at their very backbone.

 

Blockchain for Trusted Exchange of Information

To understand blockchain in healthcare, it is important to see its practical applications. A powerful technology, it is no more a manifested innovation but rather an instrument for placing the patient at the center, supporting healthcare data ecosystem, an option for addressing secure information exchange, to enable the economies to move forward. 

There are not many blockchain applications in the healthcare environment yet which would actually find their way into everyday practical life of the individuals. 

→ Explore how blockchain-secured solution works 

The global turmoil triggered by COVID-19 has highlighted critical gaps and weaknesses in global economies. We, at Avenga, see the challenging situation as an opportunity to move forward by means of technology. 

We designed and built a blockchain-secured Lab Test Result System that can assist organizations and people in general to get on with their daily lives with peace of mind, but at the same time ensure the privacy of all involved.

The system allows for the verified medical status of a person to be quickly delivered from the lab to an app on people’s smartphones and presented to relevant parties in the form of a QR code. Being anchored in a blockchain, it is protected against alteration while ensuring confidentiality and data privacy. 

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