Blockchain Healthcare Technology for Digital Health

Blockchain Healthcare Technology for Digital Health

The News: Blockchain is a powerful technology for enabling secure data sharing and access between multiple parties, which provides potential opportunities and benefits in digital health where privacy and security of medical data is paramount. In 2017, 83% of healthcare executives that were polled by the Pistoia Alliance reported that they expected the broad adoption of blockchain in the life sciences and pharmaceutical industries within the next 5 years. The global blockchain healthcare technology market is growing at a rapid pace each year, which is not surprising as blockchain holds the potential to improve digital health by making it easier to share data securely, with patient consent, across very fragmented healthcare systems. Read more on Health IT Analytics.

Blockchain Healthcare Technology for Digital Health

Analyst Take: Although the hype around blockchain has diminished, blockchain is a powerful technology for enabling secure data sharing and access between multiple parties. In 2008, blockchain was introduced as the technology underlying Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, but it offers more to various industries where secure and transparent data sharing has become critical. For digital health where privacy and security of medical data is critical, blockchain healthcare technology can provide many benefits. According to a 2017 poll by Pistoia Alliance, 83% of healthcare executives reported that they expected the broad adoption of blockchain in the life sciences and pharmaceutical industries within the next 5 years.

IBM defines blockchain as “a shared, immutable ledger that facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking assets in a business network.” Blockchain allows users to record, track, share, and synchronize assets and transactions without the need for a centralized entity to do so. This decentralization helps ensure that exchanges made on the blockchain are permanent, transparent, and immutable. Deloitte suggests that blockchain presents significant opportunities to improve health information exchange (HIE) and interoperability. In addition, the technology might also facilitate the transition from institution-driven interoperability to patient-centered interoperability, allowing patients to assign access rules for their medical data, according to a 2019 Healthcare Informatics Research study.

Blockchain Healthcare Technology Use Cases

Supply Chain Transparency: A blockchain-based healthcare system can be used to track items from the manufacturing point and at each stage through the supply chain enabling customers to have full visibility and transparency of the goods they are buying. MediLedger is a leading example of a blockchain healthcare technology protocol that enables companies across the prescription drug supply chain to verify the authenticity of medicines, as well as expiry dates and other important information.

Electronic Health Records: According to Johns Hopkins University published research in 2016, the third leading cause of death in the US was medical errors resulting from poorly coordinated care. One potential solution is creating a blockchain-based system for medical records that can be linked into existing electronic medical record (EMR) software and act as a single view of a patient’s record. Every time there is a change to a patient record, and every time the patient consents to share part of their medical record, it is logged on the blockchain as a transaction. Medicalchain is a leading example of a company working with healthcare providers to implement blockchain-enabled EMRs.

Medical Staff Credential Verification: Blockchain healthcare technology can be used to track the experience of medical professionals, where trusted medical institutions and healthcare organizations are able to log the credentials of their staff, which streamlines the hiring process for healthcare organizations. US-based ProCredEx has developed such a medical credential verification system using the R3 Corda blockchain protocol.

Blockchain healthcare technology offers solutions to issues such as transparency, data protection, and efficiency. Healthcare stakeholders can leverage blockchain’s full potential to develop a patient-centered healthcare system that is both secure and efficient. These are just a few areas where blockchain technology can and should be leveraged.

Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.

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Author Information

Clint Wheelock

Clint brings over 20 years of market research and consulting experience, focused on emerging technology markets. He was co-founder and CEO of Dash Network, an integrated research and digital media firm focused on the CX market, which was acquired by The Futurum Group in 2022. He previously founded Tractica with a focus on human interaction with technology, including coverage of AI, user interface technologies, advanced computing, and other emerging sectors. Acquired by Informa Group, Clint served as Chief Research Officer for Informa’s research division, Omdia, with management and content strategy responsibility, formed by the combination of Tractica, Ovum, IHS Markit Technology, and Heavy Reading.
Clint was previously the founder and President of Pike Research, a leading market intelligence firm focused on the global clean technology industry, which was acquired by Navigant Consulting where he was Managing Director of the Navigant Research business.

Prior to Pike Research, Clint was Chief Research Officer at ABI Research, a New York-based industry analyst firm concentrating on the impact of emerging technologies on global consumer and business markets.

Clint holds a Master of Business Administration in Telecommunications Management from the University of Dallas and a Bachelor of Arts in History from Washington & Lee University.


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