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Author Topic: How Can Blockchain Improve Healthcare?  (Read 301 times)
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October 21, 2020, 10:22:20 AM
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 #1

Can blockchain improve the healthcare systems around the world? If you're interested in finding that out, read my new piece on the topic below (and don't forget to share your thoughts). Originally published on stealthex.io


Short Version

As the Covid-19 pandemic is not going away, modern healthcare has been proving again and again its inefficiency and inefficacy, mostly due to countless intermediaries that make it too costly and clumsy. Blockchain can help in such areas as, for example, electronic health records, patient data management, clinical data exchange and interoperability. Most importantly, we are now facing the problem of digital medical passports and immunity certificates. This is a highly controversial topic which can quickly become our new reality, and a painful one at that – right after masks and social distancing


Full Version

People have short memories, which is not a bad thing in itself considering the fact that happiness is good health and a short memory. Today, with the exception of a few historians and half a dozen scientists, no one remembers that in the 14th century the Black Death plague wiped out two-thirds of the Earth’s population within years. So would blockchain be able to stop or at least alleviate the deadliest pandemic ever?

We don’t know that, and we can only pray that we would never have to find out in practice. However, we have a new plague – Covid-19, and who knows what is to crop up next and how much life it is going to waste. So there’s still a need to explore the ways in which blockchain can improve the healthcare system and make our lives better despite those nasty minuscule monsters sticking around us and relentlessly trying to make their way in.

Blockchain and Healthcare

Today’s healthcare environment consists of a few key players such as healthcare providers, pharma manufacturers, and consumers, that is to say, patients, if we can call them players indeed. However, the space is also infested with all kinds of intermediaries collectively known as pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). Apart from these, there are as well retail pharmacies (your nearby drugstore) and drug wholesalers – distributors who purchase large quantities of medications directly from manufacturers or bigger wholesalers and then sell them at a profit to pharmacies or smaller wholesalers.

It seems unlikely that human beings are going to become totally healthy all of a sudden and not susceptible to the whole range of illnesses, disorders and other medical conditions. With that in mind, the healthcare system as a whole is going to stay around in the foreseeable future. Blockchain won’t be able to free us from healthcare providers, drug manufacturers, and, alas, patients either. Fortunately, the benefits of blockchain technologies and smart contracts are still pretty impressive to make it worth the effort of introducing and putting them to work for the common good, healthcare included.

Blockchain could remove a number of middlemen that only add complexity to the system resulting in higher prices of medical care. This mostly refers to pharmacy benefit managers, a thoroughly obscured part of healthcare finance. It is a numerous group of middlemen that in many cases can be safely disposed of through technical innovation. Ironically, in 2017 the largest American PBMs had booked higher profits than the largest pharmaceutical manufacturers, which clearly demonstrates the potential of blockchain in this field of healthcare and the amount of the taxpayer’s money that can be saved here.

By area of application, blockchain can help reduce costs in electronic health records (EHRs) and patient data management, clinical data exchange and interoperability, supply chain management, digital medical passports and immunity certificates (particularly useful in times like these), health plan claims and insurance in general, among many other areas. In the following section we are going to take a closer look at what blockchain already brings to the healthcare table.

So is there anything real yet?

It’s little wonder that in the times of the coronavirus reigning supreme, with faces behind masks, empty streets, parks and stadiums, the idea of improving the healthcare system via blockchain got so wide a traction in today’s world. Below we are going to discuss a couple of projects that are focused on improving access to healthcare and administering it more efficiently for the sake of reducing its costs. As outlined above, there are many fields where there is a job for blockchain, so these are just two examples from a much longer list of new projects currently active or being bootstrapped in this space.

One of these projects is Patientory, with its mission to make healthcare more affordable and accessible to everyone. The project features a mobile app that provides its users with a secure platform to access, manage, and share their health data. At its heart, it is an effort to change how doctors and patients interact by removing unnecessary layers and processes that get in the way of this interaction. Simply put, it strives to empower patients, both existing and potential, to take charge of their health. So how can the Patientory app facilitate this effort by utilizing the blockchain stuff?

In brief, Patientory employs blockchain as a secure means to store and share EHRs between patients and healthcare providers – doctors and hospitals, in the vast majority of cases. The Patientory app allows its users to collect in one place and share when required their complete medical histories aggregated across different providers and medical facilities over time. You can think of it as your digital health passport. To make it a viable business model, Patientory introduced PTOY, a utility token with which users can buy storage on the blockchain network as well as execute smart contracts for payment.

Our next project, Solve.Care, whose star has been rising since 2017, looks for “making healthcare and benefit programs work better for everyone” and “solving complex problems that plague healthcare around the world”. So how is it going to do all that and what leverage can the blockchain tech offer to help accomplish these noble goals? In a nutshell, the project follows a patient-centric approach that tries to bring together the requisite elements of modern healthcare – clinical, administrative, and financial. In practice, that means coordinating the activities of insurance companies and government agencies, healthcare providers and benefit managers, pharmacies and manufacturers.

As you may have already guessed, at Solve.Care blockchain serves as the basis for putting all these diverse pieces together to remove the stumbling blocks in care coordination. This is a daunting task on its own and also the primary reason why healthcare systems around the world are so incredibly complex, ineffective, and, most importantly, failing nowadays. In this vein, blockchain may be exactly what the doctor ordered (pardon the pun) as it is well equipped to tame these goliaths. To get there, Solve.Care developed the SOLVE token, a utility token to power the decentralized Solve.Care platform through which the market participants can coordinate their efforts without friction, hassle, and lots of overhead costs.

And when you think about it, it makes perfect sense. That’s why Solve.Care was awarded the Most Innovative Blockchain Project Award at the Blockchain Life 2019 Forum in Singapore. Now fast forward to 2020 where the contemporary healthcare systems are hopelessly losing their battle against the coronavirus, and you will start to see the real value that the blockchain tech can bring to the industry.

Future Prospects

The Covid-19 pandemic is set to make drastic changes in the healthcare systems around the world. In fact, these changes are already well underway. For example, the proposal to create digital medical passports and immunity certificates is not entirely new, but these days it is no longer a theoretical construct despite being highly controversial.

Quite a few projects are now in the process of designing working prototypes, with some already being tested in practice. The basic idea behind health passports is to produce a verified health status of an individual so that people will be able to access crowded public locations like stadiums and airports. Right, it is not anymore just about wearing masks.

And if this push becomes overwhelming and takes roots, which may well be the case, blockchain is definitely capable of delivering a trustless and secure environment for it. So let’s keep our fingers crossed!

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October 21, 2020, 12:27:09 PM
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I think, via tokenization, we will avoid 3rd parties and save millions of dollars and this is a great bonus, these funds can be used for different projects and even for improving our healthcare systems and higher funding of healthcare services.
In overall, blockchain technologies can make stored information more secure and very hard to modify but at the same time, this can be a problem. For example, people are often misdiagnosed, i.e. someone has bipolar disorder but is misdiagnosed with depression, etc.

But the main problem of our Healthcare is that they don't want to fix the problems and even cause them. Stimulants, antidepressants and anti anxiolytics are given to kids, to my mind that's a catastrophe. Their brain hasn't developed and doctors already mess with their brain chemistry. As a result, someone feels like a zombie, develop depression and other mental problems. I think that's the real problem in our world right now but the most curious thing is that we see advertisements where brands suggest people ask for this or certain medication and in this case, advertisements come from hard drug manufacturers too.

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October 21, 2020, 12:33:49 PM
 #3

Blockchain technology cannot improve healthcare in my opinion.
The Blockchain can be used to store data,but this is not the main problem of the healthcare systems around the world.The pharmaceutical giants and private hospitals,who are profit driven,have to be held responsible for many issues in the healthcare systems.
The US healthcare system is different than the EU healthcare systems,so I'm not familiar with all the Medicaid/health insurance funds in the US.In my country,the main problem is the corruption inside the hospitals and I know that this problem cannot be solved by simply implementing blockchain technology.


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October 21, 2020, 12:50:50 PM
 #4

As for healthcare and covid-19 in particular, I have not the slightest doubt that the use of blockchain-based technologies can qualitatively modernize this system, but in my opinion literally every person in this world can do for their health, including prevention covid-19 much more without resorting to any services of doctors or paid medicine. For several decades, there has been a breathtaking method of breathing (Buteyko breathing method). Practicing this every day - you will do much more for yourself and your health than all doctors in the world. For those who do not know - here is the link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buteyko_method

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konstantin_Buteyko
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October 21, 2020, 01:12:47 PM
 #5

Blockchain technology cannot improve healthcare in my opinion.
The Blockchain can be used to store data,but this is not the main problem of the healthcare systems around the world.The pharmaceutical giants and private hospitals,who are profit driven,have to be held responsible for many issues in the healthcare systems.
The US healthcare system is different than the EU healthcare systems,so I'm not familiar with all the Medicaid/health insurance funds in the US.In my country,the main problem is the corruption inside the hospitals and I know that this problem cannot be solved by simply implementing blockchain technology.
If it is corruption, Blockchain technology could be a help because it allows transparency in every transactions, therefore, it would be easier to tract the flow of transactions making it hard or might be impossible to hide transactions which results to corruption.

I do agee with the things mentioned by OP but the only thing, IMO, blockchain would struggle solving is the initiative of adaptation not only in healthcare systems but also to other sectors of governments. This would seem to be another concern but if the officials or the management itself won't be adapting this technology, the benefits will be useless. Every 'system' has problems not being solved and that is more likely because of the avoidance of "change". The problem will just be unending.

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October 21, 2020, 02:44:17 PM
 #6

The Blockchain can be used to store data,but this is not the main problem of the healthcare systems around the world.The pharmaceutical giants and private hospitals,who are profit driven,have to be held responsible for many issues in the healthcare systems

It is not only about storing data privately and securely

It is rather about the lack of proper coordination between market participants which leads to lots of middlemen that only make the problem worse. Blockchain removes these intermediaries by providing a decentralized and trustless environment that is beneficial to all major participants (other than intermediaries). This is the approach that Solve.Care tries to follow. They seem to be doing it the right way

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October 21, 2020, 07:41:03 PM
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It is rather about the lack of proper coordination between market participants which leads to lots of middlemen that only make the problem worse. Blockchain removes these intermediaries by providing a decentralized and trustless environment that is beneficial to all major participants (other than intermediaries). This is the approach that Solve.Care tries to follow. They seem to be doing it the right way
Blockchain is entirely unnecessary. The vast majority of western countries run a healthcare system which is both better and cheaper than the US precisely because it is not filled with intermediaries, third parties, insurance companies, etc. They all have done this for decades without using blockchain technology. Trying to use blockchain to side-step the intermediaries is a far inferior solution to just removing them altogether. Unfortunately in the US, they have enough money to buy out all our corrupt politicians and the media and use that power to convince people to continue to vote for expensive and substandard medical care.

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October 21, 2020, 08:10:08 PM
 #8

While talking about the blockchain in the healthcare system, you're referring to a private blockchain, right? I hope so because no way someone will accept to see all his medical life in public.

- In my country, we have something similar to the Patientory app and there are 2 problems that the system described in OP could get too::

1) Not every medical specialist is able to get access to the software needed, whatever to read or write. I don't know why exactly, I suppose because in a hospital for example there is a strict protocol from the IT dept. to what you're allowed to install in your OS. The same for the doctor's office, and no idea why.

2) The person concerned is hardly able to modify the information in. If you agree to let your doctor knows you have AIDS, you don't want an ophthalmologist to be aware. It's a random example but I could so many situations like that

Money saved here: I guess zero

- About the token mentioned in OP:

Why should it be the patient who has to pay to buy a token, to compensate for the failures of a state-run system? It should be up to the government to invest in such a structure or create it itself, I don't know.
The patient already pays for his health insurance, pays taxes for the health system and he has to add more because the state does not assume its responsibilities?

A blockchain needs to give an incentive to be worth, actually, a secure database is enough to do the same thing (ie. my country) without a token

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October 22, 2020, 12:10:11 AM
 #9

Ia this really necessary?. That is the big question to be answered like the healthcare system is not like the financial system where you say alot of third-party activities are involved and thus need addressing.

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October 22, 2020, 07:27:12 AM
 #10

Blockchain technology will improve there is no solution growing entrepreneurs demand the need to revolutionize all aspects of their business as time and technology advance when it comes to healthcare, the urge to grow reaches a high level. Quality healthcare services are needed today with the help of latest technology the landscape of the healthcare system is moving towards a more patient-centric approach that focuses on affordable treatment at both times and always taking advantage of healthcare.
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October 22, 2020, 03:02:03 PM
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I see blockchain as an improvement in resource sharing and information sharing between hospitals. Also, this can be a great ledger for their outdated systems which, even in recent times, exist. Heck, there are still a multitude of hospitals out there using Excel for recordkeeping in the era of database and automation! Imagine the advancements of recordkeeping, how much money and time hospital will save when they invest in a one-time upgrade that requires little to no maintenance.. but nah, let them use excel instead.

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stompix
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October 22, 2020, 04:35:14 PM
Merited by suchmoon (4), o_e_l_e_o (2)
 #12

Just how many of those things we've had till now?

Quote
Our next project, Solve.Care, whose star has been rising since 2017, looks for “making healthcare and benefit programs work better for everyone” and “solving complex problems that plague healthcare around the world”.

Seriously, how many medical/health/care/snakeoil tokens have to fail and run with investors money or go "bankrupt" of course not delivering a single thing because there is nothing to be delivered here. And if, it will certainly not be via a token. A blockchain is a database, simple as that, you don't need tokens for a blockchain, you don't need tokens for a distributed decentralized database, and you don't need every moron with 10 cents of coins to have a say on how things in healthcare work.

Blockchain is entirely unnecessary. The vast majority of western countries run a healthcare system which is both better and cheaper than the US precisely because it is not filled with intermediaries, third parties, insurance companies, etc. They all have done this for decades without using blockchain technology. Trying to use blockchain to side-step the intermediaries is a far inferior solution to just removing them altogether.

No, they don't have only a simple blockchain in mind, this whole new mess comes with two tokens, or a coin and a token

Quote
Care.Coin
Intelligent healthcare stable payment currency issued by payers such as insurance companies. It is backed by the financial reserves of the issuer, can
be denominated in any currency, has no fixed supply and is not publicly traded.
SOLVE
Native utility token required to participate in and transact on the platform. SOLVE is an ERC20 token on the Ethereum Network. Token supply is fixed
and the price variable, as determined by market supply and demand

Wow, so this new blockchain revolution that will be the savior of all healthcare on this planet will depend if or if not another crypto kitties app gains some hype.

Why should it be the patient who has to pay to buy a token, to compensate for the failures of a state-run system?
Devs need money too  Grin

I see blockchain as an improvement in resource sharing and information sharing between hospitals. Also, this can be a great ledger for their outdated systems which, even in recent times, exist. Heck, there are still a multitude of hospitals out there using Excel for recordkeeping in the era of database and automation! Imagine the advancements of recordkeeping, how much money and time hospital will save when they invest in a one-time upgrade that requires little to no maintenance.. but nah, let them use excel instead.

And what would be the advantages of a blockchain, in this case, over ... let's say.... Cassandra?

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October 22, 2020, 04:44:05 PM
 #13

It’s out responsibility to improve our healthcare. Our leaders have to sit down and think of ways that they are going to be able to improve. And when I say leaders, I don’t mean these old and retarded men we have as leaders. We need new and young leaders who will be ready to move the world forward, these old men don’t know what they are doing and they don’t even know about the Blockchain that you’re talking about here.

So, that’s why we deserve better leaders that will do the right thing. Although I am not saying that Blockchain will solve our problems, it will only make things easier, other things are the left to us.
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October 22, 2020, 04:51:31 PM
Last edit: October 23, 2020, 09:08:48 AM by deisik
 #14

Just how many of those things we've had till now?

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Our next project, Solve.Care, whose star has been rising since 2017, looks for “making healthcare and benefit programs work better for everyone” and “solving complex problems that plague healthcare around the world”.

Seriously, how many medical/health/care/snakeoil tokens have to fail and run with investors money or go "bankrupt" of course not delivering a single thing because there is nothing to be delivered here. And if, it will certainly not be via a token. A blockchain is a database, simple as that, you don't need tokens for a blockchain, you don't need tokens for a distributed decentralized database, and you don't need every moron with 10 cents of coins to have a say on how things in healthcare work

Solve.Care will probably get a dedicated article (review)

So, for your reading pleasure, I will try to seek out the answers to these and other concerns if it ever comes to that (though I can't promise anything yet). To me, it looks a pretty solid project, and there can be legit reasons behind creation of a token. For example, a token as a health record (effectively, an NFT), i.e. not meant to be a cryptocurrency, sort of

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October 22, 2020, 07:15:47 PM
 #15

heh, the really unusual point of view. I have never thought about it
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October 22, 2020, 07:25:41 PM
 #16

Solve.Care will probably get a dedicated article (review)

It has already got one since half of the article is outright shilling for it with the usual mumbo-jumbo that says a lot and nothing at the same time.

To me, it looks a pretty solid project, and there cab be legit reasons behind creation of a token. For example, a token as a health record (effectively, an NFT), i.e. not meant to be a cryptocurrency, sort of

Well, I must say that you didn't study its structure too close and you declared it somewhat hasty of being solid since their entire project is based exactly on crypto currency and focusing a bit less on the actual health and healthcare issues.

So let me quote again the lightpaper

Quote
Care.Coin - Intelligent healthcare stable payment currency
SOLVE - Native utility token required to participate in and transact on the platform. Token supply is fixed and the price variable

Sorry, but I can't see something such as a token that requires me to download an app and signed smart contrast with god knows what entities as a breakthrough in efficiency. Let's not mention the next part, on ..what was that..diminishing costs?

Quote
SOLVE will be required for Care Administration Network fees, establishing Care.Wallets,
purchasing Care.Cards, emission of Care.Coins, payments using Care.Coins, Care.Marketplace participation, service and integration fees.

So, what can this blockchain do that a distributed database like the one I mentioned before for example can't?
Other than speculation on Bittrex.

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All-Time High   $4.89 -98.0% Jan 10, 2018 (almost 3 years)
I would call this...unhealthy! Grin

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October 22, 2020, 07:27:03 PM
 #17

heh, the really unusual point of view. I have never thought about it

Data storage can be applicable in any aspect and healthcare is one of such. don't get surprised. Hospitals need even patients data to be accessible any time of the day. It is easily accessed through blockchain.
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October 23, 2020, 09:00:21 AM
Last edit: October 23, 2020, 03:35:22 PM by deisik
 #18

...

Okay, I will send the link to your post, and, hopefully, your questions and concerns will be addressed fully

Most important, it will be exceptionally interesting to see if there is some real-life use already. But to repeat, I'm in no way affiliated with this service, so I express entirely my own opinion here. However, even if a given project may be yet another attempt at just riding the speculative frenzy and raking in profits while it is hot and high, the concept itself intuitively feels promising to me, i.e. blockchain as a common ground or foundation for interaction of all market participants (and probably cutting down on their number in the process)

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October 23, 2020, 01:36:15 PM
 #19

I like the statement but the problem is the government mostly the health organization will doubt all of these because we all know that human records are one of the most important details that's why the records are only exclusive only to their company.

The objective is good to save the record through the blockchain but again there are a lot of people already skilled through makes data breaching we prevent that. I will seek more information and question about this statement because this is a good initiative too.

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deisik
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October 23, 2020, 03:14:14 PM
Last edit: October 23, 2020, 06:08:06 PM by deisik
 #20

The objective is good to save the record through the blockchain but again there are a lot of people already skilled through makes data breaching we prevent that. I will seek more information and question about this statement because this is a good initiative too

Data on a blockchain is as secure as the blockchain itself is

In other words, if you don't share your private keys with anyone (read, someone doesn't steal them from you), the possibility of hacking your data is the same as hacking the entire blockchain. Possible as in not completely improbable, but can turn out prohibitively expensive. Moreover, blockchain-based EHRs will allow you to fine-tune the access policies, i.e. who can access what exactly. Put simply, your personal health information remains your private property at all times

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