Disruptive Cryptography Smart Contracts with Healthcare Blockchain: Introducing Healthureum

Nishant Tyagi
Jan 25, 2018 · 7 min read

Indeed, Blockchain technology is truly disruptive and a revolutionary new way of performing certain tasks digitally. It has gained popularity within a short span of time and is finding ready applications in many diversified industries around the world. From finance to matters of jurisprudential evidence and also for cryptographically securing information of a global consequence; The use cases for blockchain as translated for the healthcare industry imply a much more reliable ecosystem that is devoid of any malpractices, apart from being highly patient oriented. Healthureum is a technological organization determined for incorporating blockchain technology in the way mainstream medical healthcare is administered. The power of smart contracts, possible due to the blockchain, has the potential to solve old healthcare riddles. However, the journey would be less like a magic bullet that would resolve the emerging business issues instantly. On the contrary, it would be an evolutionary excursion involving cryptography token currency and based on the Ethereum blockchain healthcare system mounted on a highly interconnected digital network. Having been thoroughly acquainted with the difficulties of sustaining such an ecosystem for long duree, Healthureum, is concentrating on building trust and governance within the blockchain network (consortium) as the critical factors for its successful realization.

The blockchain platform from Healthureum has the capability to significantly cut costs healthcare for the end consumer. At a glance, patient identifier use of the blockchain can help improve the following business issues and malpractices -

● The need for multiple parties to be able to view and edit the same data.

● All parties conducting the transactions need to be aware of the interdependencies of those transactions.

● Financial gains to be made in the ecosystem with reduced transaction times.

● A prevalent lack of trust between parties conducting the transactions.

● The need for middlemen in an ecosystem, existing primarily out of the lack of trust amongst the parties.

Moving on, the advantageous feature of blockchain having a wide-ranging impact on the healthcare industry is digital contracting. Smart contracts (between providers and payers, and the drug manufacturers and regulators) on the virtue of being extremely reliable and tamper-proof nature, can transform today’s healthcare ecosystem. Now let’s backtrack a little and explore concepts such as Smart Contracts with a simplistic understanding:

● A pre-written computer code, comprising of complex “if-then-else” statements.

● These are deployed and replicated and later executed over a distributed blockchain network of computers.

● Programmed with the ability to execute updates to the shared ledger, and can also be authorized for making payments (HHEM token cryptocurrency).

In order to fully comprehend the prospective business advantages from Smart Contracts, consider the following scenarios:

● Drug manufacturers and health payers mutually decide amicable prices for the prescription drugs as well as a list of preferred drugs for the formulary. The pricing and other details once fixed are contracted as they’re entered into the blockchain. Once such contracts are encrypted, the blockchain platform ensures that only authenticated and authorized users can access and or modify the entries.

● The drug manufacturer is reimbursed by the health payer whenever a patient orders a prescription drug from the health plan’s formulary. Smart contracts on Healthureum platform would trigger such payments via digital currency, ensuring first that the prerequisite conditions have been met with. Further, the existence of contracts between the drug manufacturer and consumer ensures a transfer of co-payment from the consumer to the drug manufacturer.

● The healthcare service providers have established contracts with health payers that necessitate entries into the blockchain upon every instance of a patient receiving medical care. The smart contract via ethereum blockchain auto approves and executes the claim reimbursements from the payer to the provider, apart from ensuring a certain amount of copayment is transferred to the provider from the patient’s end.

Contemporary shortcomings from miscommunication and a lack of trust amongst all stakeholders have of late broadened the spectrum of hurdles in the way of transitioning towards value-based care. A healthcare blockchain has the potential to significantly reduce inefficiency, waste within the functional healthcare ecosystem and the shared ledger capability can provide complete transparency to all involved parties. Often health payers after reimbursing medical claims retrospectively work on identifying inaccurate payments and reconciling with the over- and underpayments. Smart contracts within Healthureum platform facilitate the negotiation of complex bundle claims between payers and providers tied to the value and helps with making the transition from the fee-for-service model. Healthuruem cryptocurrency smart contracts would also make the claims adjudication process seamless experience.

The possibilities of applying blockchain technology are endless. However, analyzing the realistic benefits and we have five blockchain-based healthcare use cases mentioned below. These merely demonstrate the advantages to be gained from such a technological ecosystem albeit at varying degrees through countries and health systems.

Clinical Health Data Exchange and Interoperability: Any exchange concerning blockchain technology and healthcare definitely features the mechanics of data exchange as the paramount concern. Blockchain-enabled IT systems can provide technological solutions such as ensuring interoperability, security and maintaining the integrity of health data. On a fundamental level, blockchain permits the creation of exchange systems that are cryptographically secured and irrevocable. This allows for a seamless access to historic and real-time patient data, whilst at the same time eliminating the costs of data reconciliation. To illustrate a real-world example, the recent collaboration between Guardtime Security (Data-centric company) and the Estonian eHealth Foundation for safeguarding the health records of one million Estonian citizens through the use of high-tech proprietary Keyless Signature Infrastructure (KSI) serves as a classic example of blockchain technology. However, replicating the Estonian health record model on a global scale isn’t going to be easy. Fraught with difficulties considering the complexities around data ownership and governance structure for exchanges/transactions between private and public entities.

Claims Adjudication and Billing Management: Industry estimates peg the value of fraudulent activities within healthcare to be around 5–10% of all costs, and arising out of excessive billing or the invoicing of non-performed services. Statistics for the United States alone put Medicare fraud to the tune of $30 million in losses in 2016. Healthcare systems such as the Healthureum blockchain platform can help minimize the risks from such billing-related frauds, by inducing an automation of the majority of claim adjudication and payment processing activities. Experts also point to the significant ramifications this can have for a reliability-centered maintenance (RCM) function. Lastly, such systems could eliminate the need for intermediaries from the supply chain and also bring down the administrative costs as well as the time is taken by providers-payers during healthcare activities.

Drug Supply Chain Integrity and Provenance: Global financial losses incurred by pharmaceutical companies due to counterfeit drugs are estimated to be around $200 billion annually. A staggering two out of five drugs sold in developing countries is considered to be counterfeit. The reliable system of blockchain could ensure a thorough log of the chain-of-custody, capable of tracking the individual drug or product at every step of the supply chain. Furthermore, functionalities from private keys and smart contracts help attest to proof of ownership at any point in the supply chain, thus efficiently managing the contracts between different stakeholders.

Pharma Clinical Trials and Population Health Research: Another populist reform measure arising out of blockchain implementation is ensuring the ‘proof of existence’ and ensuring complete anonymity of patient identity. Industry estimates reveal that close to half of all clinical trials go unreported, placing investigators and researchers with limited sample space resulting in dubious study results. Blockchains can address some of the most essential of safety issues concerning patient’s data, as well as adequately bridge the existing knowledge gaps between healthcare stakeholders and policymakers. Time-stamped immutable records from clinical trials, protocols and study results are prevented from any fraudulent activities such as data snooping, switching or selective reporting via this new healthureum cryptocurrency. Lastly, blockchain-based systems could help drive innovative collaborations between participants and researchers, focussing on medical intensive research and population health management.

Cyber Security and Healthcare IoT: The report from Protenus Breach Barometer estimated close to 600 instances of health data breaches in 2017, that affected close 27 million patients. A mind-boggling ratio of about half of these being a result of internal breaches and one in four due to hacking and ransomware paints a very dismal picture for near future. Considering the current growth figures of interconnected health devices, sustaining an IoMT (Internet of Medical Things) ecosystem will be very difficult for the existing Health IT architecture and infrastructure. Around 20–30 billion Internet of Things healthcare devices is estimated to be connected by 2020 on a global scale. The all new and disruptive blockchain based healthcare platform facilitates device interoperability while ensuring maximum levels of security, privacy and reliability around IoMT use cases. Apart from Healthureum cryptography digital tokens, many other companies such as IBM (cognitive Internet of Things), Telstra ( biometrics and smart homes), and Tierion (industrial preventive maintenance) are actively pursuing blockchain enabled ventures.

The healthcare industry stands to benefit immensely from embracing an emerging technology that’s pitted to revolutionize the entire administrative and functional ecosystem, critical to the welfare of humans everywhere.

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