Blockchain in Healthcare: Use Cases
Healthcare is a huge market worldwide. Alone in the USA, total health care expenditures were estimated to be approximately $3.55 trillion in 2017, and are predicted to reach more than $5.5 trillion in 2025. However, this important sphere of our life is considered extremely inefficient. The Institute of Medicine estimates that between 20–30 percent of total health care spending is either wasteful or a consequence of poor outcomes.
The main source of these excessive costs are high administrative fees, overpriced medical tests, useless treatments, medical fraud and missed prevention opportunities. According to some estimations, around $875 Billion are spent on duplicating services due to poor communications between doctors and hospitals. More than $500 Billion are allocated for administration of healthcare; substantial budgets are needed to provide protection of health data. Let alone Billing and Insurance Related costs are projected to reach $315 billion dollars by 2018.
How Blockchain Technology Can Help?
It seems that this is the case when blockchain technology can be appropriately applied to drastically improve the situation. Being immutable, trustless, decentralized and distributed blockchain technology provides wide opportunities to combat fraud, cut operational costs, optimize processes, eliminate duplication of work and improve transparency in the health care industry.
“Blockchain technology may not be the panacea for healthcare industry challenges, but it holds the potential to save billions of dollars by optimizing current workflows and disintermediating some high cost gatekeepers” stated in Frost&Sullivan research Blockchain Technology in Global Healthcare, 2017–2025.
The main sectors where blockchain technology have a great potential for improving healthcare industry are:
- Clinical Health Data Exchange and Interoperability
- Claims Adjudication and Billing Management
- Drug Supply Chain Integrity and Provenance
- Pharma Clinical Trials and Population Health Research
- Cyber Security and Healthcare IoT
Those splendid opportunities have already attracted attention of pharmaceutical and medical companies. According to Deloitte, the healthcare industry is planning the most aggressive deployments of blockchain, with 35 percent of health and life sciences planning to deploy by 2018. Deloitte found that 28 percent of respondents across all industries said they’d already invested $5 million or more, while 10 percent have invested $10 million or more in blockchain.
Currently several dozens of startups aimed to introduce blockchain into healthcare industry are trying to raise funds via ICO. We have studied more than 30 such ICO projects and want to focus attention on the most interesting of them that are scheduled for the first quarter of the 2018 year.
Farmatrust — Saving Lives Using Blockchain and AI
FarmaTrust is developing a platform based on blockchain technology to improve drug supply chain integrity. It is mainly focused on eliminating of counterfeit drugs proliferation and increasing efficiency in the pharmaceutical industry. The platform offers possibility to track pharmaceuticals through a supply chain that links digital systems to pharmaceuticals moving in the physical world. With a unique ID combined to a digital supply chain the FarmaTrust solution based on blockchain aims to eliminate proliferation of counterfeit drugs.
The platform will create a network of pharmaceutical brands, contract manufacturers and suppliers, logistics and shipping companies, wholesalers and distributors as well as pharmacies and hospitals. This network will then become a trusted system to ensure that medicines and related products are indeed the genuine product.
The platform is based on blockchain and aims to:
- Provide pharmaceuticals companies, their packagers, distributors, pharmacies and regulators the visibility needed to make critical decisions that can greatly reduce supply chain costs;
- Identify gaps across varying compliance regimes, recoup costs lost through counterfeits;
- Protect consumers and brand through reduction of fake pharmaceuticals that _nd their way into the supply chain.
Moreover, the FarmaTrust solution shall in time develop Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities that will be utilized by its customers. AI can analyze data to search for increasing efficiencies. The team also plans to develop various additional modules that can be used for automatic unsupervised machine learning techniques and will be designed to learn patterns over time.
What it really important that FarmaTrust claims to have working prototype and understanding how to to work with regulators, the pharmaceutical industry and NGOs to ensure that their product will be widely adopted.
Medicalchain — Building the Future of Healthcare
Medicalchain is a decentralized platform that apply blockchain technology to solve the problem of health data exchange. It aims to create platform where different healthcare agents such as doctors, hospitals, laboratories, pharmacists and insurers to request permission to access and interact with medical records. Each interaction is auditable, transparent, and secure, and will be recorded as a transaction on distributed ledger. The project will guarantee privacy issues as it is built on the permission based Hyperledger Fabric architecture providing for varying access levels. Therefore, patients will be able to control who can view their records, how much they see and for what length of time.
Specifically, Medicalchain envisages the implementation of a blockchain healthcare record as an overarching access control manager of electronic health records (EHR), providing the following advantages:
• Data can only be accessed by the patient’s private key, even if the database is hacked, the data will be unreadable.
• A patient will have full control over accessing their healthcare data. The patient will control who sees their data and what they see.
• Instantaneous transfer of medical data. Every member in the distributed network of the health care blockchain would have the same data of the patient’s record.
Healthureum — Your Data. Your Doctor. Your Way.
Healthureum develops solution for blockchain and smart contract technology integration in healthcare’s critical services in order to provide for standardization and scalability, while tackling the inflated costs, limited access to adequate services and misusage of patient data. The platform will operate on the Ethereum blockchain using an ERC20 standard to deploy smart contracts for health-related services.
The platform focuses on five core areas: Data Systemization, Doctor Consultation and Referral, Medical Infrastructure, Research Programs, Philanthropic Activities.
Solutions by Healthureum
- Transparency in data, processes, billing and claims.
- Consolidation of patient data with easy access.
- Global access to expertise.
- Secured data, certified consultants, quick and safe payment system.
- Trusted ecosystem which promotes patient data integrity and accountability.
Synthium Health — Transforming Healthcare Supply Chain
Synthium Health provides a unique networking marketplace that brings together healthcare providers and suppliers for simplified, efficient and cost-effective exchanges that build businesses. Using advanced technologies and the best practices, Synthium Health’s automated platform creates efficiencies and maximizes revenues, all the way through the supply chain process. It empowers suppliers to extend their reach, sell faster, cut down on operational costs and deliver consistent buyer experiences across all touchpoints. Synthium Health also plans to collaborate with leading logistics partners to further serve the industry.
Major solutions provided by Synthium Health include:
· Private block chains and inter-enterprise networks for improved security and visibility
· Integration with multiple business partners such as hospital systems, 3PL, supplier systems and more — Manufacturers can “Go direct” and reduce operational costs
· “Just-in-time” delivery of products by integrating with hospital information systems
· Digital commerce for automating the processes of orders, inventory management, billing and settlements for the provider institutions
· Reporting and Analysis tool to help suppliers gain a better understanding of strategies that work and those that don’t to make better and informed decisions
· Ability of manufacturers to interact with customers for feedback and ratings to fuel product innovation/improvements·
Solve.Care — Decentralizing Administration of Healthcare
Solve.Care is going to build a decentralized and distributed platform for administration of healthcare and benefits programs. The platform will address the core need of coordinating all parties and communicating all relevant events and circumstances by using a decentralized approach that delivers all relevant information and conditions to the right party exactly when needed. Solve.Care platform will be able to perform the tasks of current processing and management systems at 3% of total spend through the use of Care Administration Networks thus reducing processing and management of systems and the potential to reduce overall spend.
CEO of the Solve.Care explains: “The platform replaces duplicative systems and automates complex processes to reduce billions of dollars in annual costs. It represents an innovative new approach to fight fraud, waste and abuse and brings transparency and accountability to healthcare administration.”
The wave of new ICO projects introducing blockchain into Healthcare industry is to come in year 2018. However, there are reasonable doubts that Initial coin (token) offering is the best way to raise fund for such sort of projects. For instance, Hearthy project that was aimed at creating a decentralized, open and sustainable ecosystem to improve health care access to everyone announced that ICO is indefinitely delayed. The main reasons articulated by the project’s team were crypto crash /market correction possibility, high marketing budget for launching ICO and uncertainly in ICO regulations. The team of another project MedCredits (designed as a decentralized telemedicine platform that connects patients and doctors around the world) seems to have problems with launching their ICO. Let alone speaking of several projects that have announces their ICO but still looks like a draft projects.
This article was inspired by the series of translation and localization projects completed by the team of ICO-Translate.com for startups that were raising fund via ICO in Q4, 2017. The original article is published in our blog.