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article imageBlockchain technology set to transform healthcare

By Tim Sandle     Sep 29, 2017 in Health
Several startup companies are finding new and important ways to bring blockchain technology to healthcare. The cryptographically-secured, distributed ledgers can be used for everything from supply chains to medical records.
According to new analysis from CB Insights, several startups are pioneering blockchain technology into the health and pharmaceuticals market. The types of applications stretch from medical record interoperability; data security; patient or supplier reimbursement; and pharmaceutical supply chain management.
Big players are also working on blockchain technologies for healthcare. For instance, IBM Watson has entered into an agreement with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to see whether blockchain technologies can better secure share patient data. This will start with oncology data in the form of electronic medical records, clinical trials, genomic data, and health data from mobile devices, wearables and the Internet of Things.
Transparency in healthcare
In terms of startups, the CB Insights report details five companies that have secured significant investment in order to develop healthcare related blockchains. The first is PokitDok, which is developing a secure network for all sources of patient data. This will include pharmacies and data collected wirelessly from medical devices.
An ambulance travelling through a London street.
An ambulance travelling through a London street.
Partnering with Intel, PokitDok are calling their solution Dokchain. The primary aim is to provide an identity management system to validate that each party involved in the transaction is who they say they are, whether patient or health provider. A second area is with transparency. This would mean when a medic writes prescription, this would become logged on the chain with the pricing clearly stated for the patient. The electronic capture of the prescription also assists with inventory and order management of medical supplies and drugs.
Portable patient records
The second startup is Patientory, which aims to add portability to patient data. This means a patient's health record becomes electronic and it can be moved across health institutions. Blockchain technology allows for new records, be they visits of images, to be added. All of the data is then visible to the patient and to any other institution granted access.
Medical claims process
Third comes Gem, which develops blockchain applications for healthcare and supply chain management. The focus here is on the medical claims process, making the technology viable for countries with privatized healthcare. The company's GemOS platform allows patients, providers, and insurers to view a patient’s health timeline in real-time in a secure manner.
Digital patient records
Fourth is Guardtime, which has a major contract with the Estonian e-Health Authority to secure over 1 million patient records. This is in order to integrate health data with the health cards that citizens carry and also to add stronger data integrity and security to the health records process.
Tracking organ donations
Fifth, and finally, is Chronicled, which has produced a platform to allow for the tracking of a range of products including pharmaceuticals, blood, and human organs. These products are critical to human health and they often have a tight time expiry and they need to be kept at low temperatures (cold chain management). This makes safely tracking each step something of great importance.
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