From improved security to fighting counterfeit drugs: Blockchain startups are changing the healthcare industry
The health industry’s potential for Blockchain has been outlined numerous times, and new startups continue to emerge in 2018. On Monday, April 9 it was announced that a German consulting firm developed a Blockchain-based solution for the management of sensitive medical data, while a week prior to that an important industry player in the US stepped up with a foray into Blockchain as well.
What exactly can Blockchain startups bring to the table? Well, a lot: improved security, effective distribution of information among involved parties, anonymized data pools for research companies and new ways to fight counterfeit drugs.
Dealing with fragmentation
Healthcare is an industry where patients’ information could be processed by numerous institutions – for example, private or public hospitals and clinics, general practitioners and analysis labs. Therefore, the ultimate goal is to provide both easy and safe access to that information.
In 2016, John Halamka, chief information officer at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston collaborated with a group of scientists at MIT to come up with a Blockchain-based project for convenient storage of patients’ information. The project was named MedRec.
MedRec is based on Ethereum’s smart contracts and links healthcare providers together, allowing them to share their data. Only the patients can cryptographically sign smart contracts on the Blockchain, ensuring that they’re in control of where their medical history goes.
“Our system gives patients a comprehensive, immutable log and easy access to their medical information across providers and treatment sites,” states the project’s white paper.
Therefore MedRec grants the healthcare provider access to patient’s data, but only when the Blockchain is instructed to give it. Further, it executes the patient’s instructions, sending information to a pharmacy or a specialist for referral, only with the patient’s consent.
In a similar fashion, the London-based Medicalchain startup implements Blockchain to improve health record storage. Different institutions such as doctors, hospitals, laboratories, research and health insurers