Smart Contracts For Onsurance Settlements
Companies such as Chronicled and Curium offer blockchain-based systems. Through these systems, different healthcare players, such as pharmaceutical companies, OEMs, wholesalers, insurers, and healthcare providers, can authenticate their identity as an organization, log contract details, and track transactions.
Goods and services and billing details for payments for those goods and services. This type of environment goes beyond supply chain management, allowing healthcare trading partners and insurance providers to operate on the basis of fully digital and, in some cases, automated contract terms.
Blockchain’s Role For Medical History Sharing
This process is an absolute mess. Firstly, medical history data is often stored in many different silos and patients need to physically carry their information when doctors refer patients to other physicians.
The blockchain can prevent these issues.
A study by Li, P., Nelson, S., Malin, B. and Chen, Y. DMMS: A Decentralized Blockchain Ledger for the Management of Medication Histories, Blockchain in Healthcare Today, 20. doi: 10.30953/bhty.v2.38 introduced a decentralized medication management system to leverage the blockchain to manage medication histories.
These were the results:
We developed a proof of concept to showcase DMMS. In this system, a prescriber prescribes medications for a patient and then encrypts the prescriptions via the patients public keys. Patients can query their own prescriptions from different histories across healthcare institutions and then decrypt the prescriptions via their private keys. At the same time, a prescriber can query a patients prescription records across healthcare institutions after approval from the patient. Analytic results show that DMMS can improve security, trustworthiness, and privacy in medication history sharing and exchanging across healthcare institutions. In addition, we discuss the potential for DMMS in e-prescribing markets.
The blockchain solution is in action.
Blockchain In Healthcare: The Clinical Trials Scenario
One of the blockchains best features is that by recording every change across the entire peer-to-peer network, every transaction is validated. Since clinical trials require a fast and transparent way to locate patient data, blockchain could be the long-term solution.
The best clinical practices are the most transparent. This includes who enters the information and the location of entry. The current way to view this data is through audit trails but blockchain can improve these processes with better security and improved privacy.
However, as is often the case in the healthcare industry, there are a few regulatory questions that crop up.
Clinical trial data must be secure due to its highly sensitive nature. Whether its proprietary information on a medical products safety and efficacy, or personally-identifiable information belonging to clinical trial patients, regulators must be sure that the blockchain is as safe and accessible to the people that need it as it claims.
Lawmakers would be pleased to know that blockchain has the flexibility to make data completely visible or completely password protected, depending on the users or firms preferences. It can be programmed to give certain individuals access while blocking others at the same time.
Uli Brödl, VP of medical and regulatory affairs for Boehringers Canadian division said they want to understand the value proposition of blockchain technology, and how that value would generally be applicable to many disease areas.
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What Is Blockchain Technology In Healthcare And How Does It Work
Blockchains most revolutionary offering, presented with a carefully balanced combination of highly advanced cryptography and built-in incentives, is that it eliminates the need for a central control authority and instead divides power among all actors in the blockchain ecosystem. So, in theory, this could eliminate the need for a third party to manage transactions.
The transactions between two entities that do not know or trust each other digitally, securely, and impartially. It works quite well in healthcare, but it has been proven in more traditional business environments. Here is how Blockchain healthcare technology works in the healthcare sector.
Making Electronic Health Records More Accessible With Blockchain
Entities involved: MTBCMTBC press release
Electronic health records can be hard to manage. One healthcare providers EHR for a patient may differ from the same patients other provider. MTBC intends to change that by using Application Program Interfaces and blockchain. The idea is to put the control in the patients hands. A patient will have the ability to allow the transfer of records from one doctor to another. The blockchain API runs on the Hyperledger platform and is currently available.
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Facilitating The Work Of Coordinated Care Teams
In a similar vein, providers will be able to benefit from a trusted, unified view of an individual shared across the care team. As value-based reimbursements continue to prioritize cooperative, long-term management of patients across multiple care settings, providers are in dire need of data management tools that can help rather than hinder the care coordination process.
There has been a lot of health and wellness related data that has been collected by care providers and individuals, but it has not been converted in consumable formats that enable a comprehensive individualized care plan that contributes to effective long term patient wellness, wrote Ramkrishna Prakash, CEO of TrustedCare, Inc., in a paper submitted in response to the Office of the National Coordinators call for insight into blockchain in healthcare.
This stems from the key issue that most of these data are in individual silos of a given care provider and is not readily accessible by their network partners engaged in the care of their patient.
Blockchain could be their answer. If an individuals records were centralized within a blockchain-based care management platform, both patients and providers could work together to harmonize the efforts of a care team with members operating at multiple facilities.
Research Open Science And Misinformation
The application of blockchain technology extends to academia. Typically, research registries are housed at central institutions, which act as the authority in coordinating data collection, transfer and analysis. These may be hampered by distrust, inefficiency, intentional manipulation or attacks of data. Utilising distributed ledger technology, data are stored and processed on the premise of digital trust, whereby the network can automatically validate and store the data, whereas immutability and transparency are ensured. Moreover, encryption and hashing of data help ensure anonymity, circumventing privacy concerns surrounding patient health information of rare diseases or rare cases, which would otherwise be easily identified. Such infrastructure can be expanded to the existing large-scale databases, such as those maintained for quality improvement metrics and research purposes, and even connected with electronic health records. Similar advantages have been reported with the conduct and analysis of clinical trials, as well as omics big data. Furthermore, blockchain promotes the automation of consent-giving and may give rise to prosent, or the blockchain-enabled ability of all stakeholders in the research process to pseudonymously and proactively consent to data release or exchange under specific conditions, such as trial completion.
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Learn About All The Different Companies And Uses For Blockchain Technology In The Healthcare Industry
You might immediately think of cryptocurrencies when the topic of blockchains comes up. But blockchains aren’t limited to only supporting digital currencies. They’re now being used in multiple sectors, including healthcare.
Here’s what you need to know about the use of blockchain technology in healthcare and some of the companies that are leading the way.
Transactions Blocks And Chains
Transactions in this context are:
- A record, for example of an event
- Verified and secured cryptographically
- Ordered chronologically
- Bundled to form a block
A block is a set of transactions that are bundled together and then appended to a chain of other blocks. Hence, the name blockchain. When the blocks are chained together, each new block contains a reference to a unique identifier from the previous block called a hash code or a cryptographic hash. Blocks can include one or more transactions. In other words, it is possible to batch transactions into blocks, and this is often done to improve the transaction throughput rate for a blockchain platform with a given block throughput rate.
The block contains the following information:
- Previous Cryptographic Hash: Unique identifier, called a hash, referenced from the previous block
- Timestamp: Timestamp of each block added to the chain
- Merkle Root Hash: Merkle tree root hash for all of the transactions included in the block
- Nonce: Stands for number only used once. The nonce is the cryptographic challenge number that nodes are solving for in order to propose a new block. It is a number added to a hashed block, and, when rehashed, meets the difficulty level restrictions. This number is related to consensus algorithms.
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Can Blockchain Improve Patient
Entities involved:MedicalChainProject status: MedicalChain is currently offering MedTokens on various exchanges to fund development. They also announced a partnership with the Groves Medical Group, with whom they will conduct their first pilot project.MedicalChain partnership press release
With MedicalChain, you have full access and control over your own personal health data. Users are able to grant doctors immediate access to their health record via their mobile devices while data is kept secure on the blockchain. Patients can also wear wristbands, which medical professionals can scan to access a persons medical history if they are unconscious. It also offers telemedicine communication enabling online video consultations with doctors.
Products: Online multiplayer video games
Minsk office size: 3,000 employees
Key fact: Opened a new headquarters in Minsk in 2014, and started a mobile game development division in 2017
Blockchain Solutions Already In Play
Several companies have already made use of blockchain in an effort to enhance health care. None of these operations has taken off on a national scale as of yet, but they signal interest within the industry, as well as a theoretical openness to new technology.
Hashed Health is one such company. Utilizing blockchain, Hashed Health generates a free and open community for health care professionals to discuss and partner in an effort to explore blockchain’s uses in the industry. The company also provides an advisory branch to help health care organizations understand how blockchain can be integrated into existing systems. Finally, the company has a lab that aims to develop new blockchain tech solutions to problems that have plagued the health care industry.
MedRec is another blockchain-focused company in the health care space. MedRec operates a transparent peer-to-peer ledger that allows providers to track files and information seamlessly. The service allows for easier direct communication with patients, too. Clinicians, facilities and large-scale systems are connected on a single platform, allowing for the most efficient transmission of information possible.
DYNOSTICS is a third such company. Catering toward individual users, DYNOSTICS helps individuals to determine their current state of fitness, providing instantaneous feedback and a single location for all data. Like both of the other companies above, DYNOSTICS is focused on data security and privacy.
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Scaling Blockchain For Healthcare
The healthcare industry is on the verge of disruption in its digital infrastructure. The current system does not fully support the security or interoperability that is inherently necessary. To utilize collected medical data to its maximum potential, data portability and interoperability of records between systems is a must.
With the advent of wearables and numerous new IoT devices that are interconnected with their data flows harnessed, better security is needed and readily accessible to healthcare professionals. All these challenges could be minimized with the help of blockchain technology and its interoperability, integrity and security, and portable user-owned data.
Blockchain For Healthcare: Smart Contracts
There are a lot of contracts in the healthcare industry between patients and hospitals, healthcare providers, organizations and vendors, the list goes on.
Now, with smart contracts being developed, the blockchain stands to upend the entire industry, with cutting costs being an added benefit.
For reference, a smart contract is a computer protocol intended to digitally facilitate, verify, or enforce the negotiation or performance of a contract, without the need for third-parties. They can be used to secure data transfers, retrievals and analyses.
Smart contracts will allow hospitals and other practices to store patient records in a digital ledger. Patients will have the freedom to change hospitals without the need to fill in numerous forms as their new physicians can view all their information on the blockchain network.
This data also needs to be made secure. Since smart contracts are built on blockchain technology, the data can be aggregated, shared and stored in a transparent manner.
Finally, blockchain for healthcare significantly reduces the inefficiency and waste in the current healthcare landscape. Health payers end up paying claims, and then retrospectively work on identifying inaccurate payments and reconciling over and underpayments.
Where blockchain can help is that its shared ledger capabilities provide complete transparency to all parties, allowing payers and providers to negotiate claims tied to the value of care.
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Electronic Medical Data Access And Permission Management
Before, the secure storage of medical records was still about the secure, digital storage and processing as well as the distribution of mostly incoherent patient data , it is now more about the storage, processing and, in particular, accessibility of temporal and patient-specific related data in the form of an electronic medical record.
The use of medical patient files for various purposes always requires the consent of the patients, who currently grant or refuse these mostly in paper form and then no longer have any control or overview over their files . Tith et al. have developed a system with which patients can flexibly manage their consents and health organizations can also efficiently obtain and manage these consents for various purposes. The electronic system uses a dedicated access control based on a permissioned blockchain with Hyperledger implementation. In this study, all metadata of patient records, consents and data access are immutably stored in the blockchain and shared by the participating parties. In addition, a program code based on smart contracts or rather chaincode was created, which according to Tith et al. automates the business logic for managing patient consent.
Cybersecurity And Heathcare Iot
Healthcare is also a target for cybercriminals, especially when they can lock up the whole database in exchange for money. Data theft is also a severe issue where cybercriminals steal the data and sell it in the market. However, one such startup, Patientory, is on their way to build a blockchain powered health information exchange that is HIPPA-compliant. This means that it will be used enhanced cybersecurity protocols and EMR interoperability to secure the important data.
Image Credits: Patientory
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How Blockchain Works In Healthcare
Blockchain applications in healthcare won’t need to work any differently than blockchains in any other arena. A blockchain is a shared record of transactions that are stored in a digital ledger. These transactions are immutable, which means that they can’t be changed or altered in any way.
Importantly, there’s no need for a central authority. No participant in the blockchain necessarily has to have a preexisting relationship with another. For example, an insurer could gain access to a patient’s medical records stored in a hospital’s EMR system even if the insurer had never interacted with the hospital in the past. The primary prerequisite is that the insurer and hospital must be verified by the blockchain network first.
The Key Benefits Of Blockchain Technology
Before we begin, it never hurts to refresh the basics. We always want to emphasize that blockchain is not crpytocurrencies. The latter is built on the former. In terms of the blockchain ledger itself, there are many immediate benefits:
- It’s tamper-proof, as the peer-based network ensures any altered copy is checked against the wider network. The built-in immutable audit trail makes it a key choice when security is a priority.
- It’s centralized without being controlled by one person. All required parties can add to a blockchain, and everyone involved can view it, but nobody owns exclusive editing access. In fact, thanks to the checksums and verification process, that’s impossible. This makes it ideal for situations where there isn’t a central authority that can be trusted.
- New transactions are automatically verified by other nodes on the network. As such, it’s highly secure. This is because all inputs are checked across the network at the moment they attempt to be entered into the ledger.
- It’s a backend based technology. We can build solutions where any application or connected device can receive and send information, but the blockchain ledger is nonetheless operating behind the scenes.
- This also means it works well with existing systems and solutions, too!
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How To Use Blockchain Technology In Healthcare
Blockchain is a revolutionary technology that has become incredibly popular these days. Blockchain is also known as public ledger technology. It is the technology that keeps the flow of data secured in a distributed and decentralized environment. Initially, this technology was used in digital currencies like Bitcoin, but later it has found its usage in other industries like healthcare, insurance, banking, and others. In the healthcare industry, blockchain technology has been widely adopted for the free flow of information from one place to another. The blockchain-powered system unlocks the barriers of healthcare data sharing and provides data security.
Adding Or Updating Data
Adding or updating data requires consensus of the network making it nearly immutable. This means that once a block is written to the chain, it cannot be altered or deleted. Transaction records are immutable, because each block of data is linked to the previous block by including the previous blocks unique hash, which is mathematically derived from the blocks content.
If a bad actor were to change the content of a block, the blocks hash would change, which would then break its connection to the subsequent block. This would require the bad actor to then re-hash the next block, and all subsequent blocks in order to cover their tracks. However, since there are multiple copies of the ledger, the bad actor would have to simultaneously change every version of the ledger at each location, which is practically impossible especially as networks grow large and risk of collusion becomes negligible.
To correct or remove data from the chain, one may append a new record with corrected data that supersedes the original, or one may append a record that marks a previous record as deleted. However, the original records added earlier remain as is. This is an intentional characteristic that enables verification by all parties in the consortium and helps to build trust.
As this technology is not a panacea for data quality and accuracy, we recommend reviewing data storage considerations for an overview of what to store on-chain.
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