How Blockchain Can Transform US Healthcare – BlockMedx – Medium

How Blockchain Can Transform US Healthcare

Healthcare is big business. During 2017, total US health care expenditure was estimated to be approximately $3.55 trillion and this is only going to rise over the next few decades. Costs therefore have to be looked at and it is no surprise that studies have found that many sections of the health care landscape are inefficient and that spending is wasteful due to high administration fees, overpriced medical tests, fraud, unnecessary treatments and poor communication.

Blockchain technology provides opportunities to cut these unnecessary costs by combating fraud, cutting administration costs, improving efficiency and transparency in the health care sector and optimising processes.

What exactly is blockchain?

Think of blockchain as a living list of digital records that are linked in a secure system with no governing central authority. Information can be added and distributed, but the pre-existing information cannot be copied or deleted.

The concept of blockchain was adopted primarily by the digital currency world, yet other industries are now investing heavily in it.

At present, there is interest for blockchain use in the health care sector due to its potential impact on hospitals and health systems in the future.

How could blockchain help?

Currently there are numerous issues with the landscape of the health care system that could be eased or resolved with the use of blockchain.

One of the biggest challenges that the country faces is the lack of control over prescriptions which can cause patients to fall into substance abuse.

Other issues include logistics issues, the security of information, the safety and improved quality of care issues and the the current marketplace which includes pricing.

Are any solutions being provided?

Currently there are a number of companies who are researching these areas of blockchain technology and what benefits it can bring to the sector.

BlockMedx has a specific interest in using blockchain to benefit the health care sector and be the first company to bring blockchain technology to the prescription drug industry, which is currently experiencing a prescription fraud issue. Extensive research in this area has been undertaken and the company now has a functioning prototype which is due to be released imminently. Blockchain is used to build a better network to monitor and improve the security, safety and health outcomes of all patients. This application would aim to provide secure transmission of prescriptions along with a complete patient history to reduce over prescribing and prescription fraud. The use of blockchain offers an opportunity to solve these issues in an innovative way and provide transparent, secure and personal health care.

Farmatrust is in the process of developing a platform based on blockchain technology to improve drug supply chain integrity and eventually eliminate drug fraud. Their application offers the ability to track pharmaceuticals through a supply chain that links digital systems to tangible systems in the physical world. Blockchain would also provide visibility needed to make critical decisions that could reduce the supply chain costs.

Medicalchain is a decentralised platform focusing on the problem of health data exchange. It aims to create a platform where all interactions are transparent, secure and recorded on a distributed ledger. Privacy is guaranteed because of the specific platform it is built on. This platform put the patient at the heart of the matter, giving them control over who can view their medical records, how much content they have access too and for what length of time.

Healthureum is using blockchain and smart contract technology integration in the health care sector’s critical services. Their aim is to provide standardisation at the same time as tackling costs, limited access to services and the misuse of patient data.

Synthium Health is another company carrying out research in this arena. They are providing a unique networking marketplace that aims to bring together health care providers and suppliers in order to have simplified, efficient and cost effective exchanges. Their application empowers suppliers to sell faster and cut down on operational costs.

Solve.Care wishes to build a decentralised and distributed platform for the administration of health care and benefits programmes. The company states that their platform will be able to perform the tasks of processing and management systems at 3% of current total spend through the use of care administration networks, thus replacing duplicate systems and reducing annual costs.

All the above sounds exciting but there are delays to blockchain being accepted and integrated in healthcare similar to the resistance early fintech blockchain technology faced a few years ago. The good news is that the technology is here to stay and many of the companies above are creating the path for more research and investment into the space.

For more information on each company, see their associated linked site.

Hayden P.

A blockchain and cryptocurrency enthusiast

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