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Blockchain technology
in Healthcare and Life sciences

Blockchain is coming to healthcare… It has formed the basis of many modern developments in the field of healthcare and offers new approaches to data storage and management models. Mikhail Danilchik, CTO and technical lead of Websoft, explains how the blockchain works in the world of medicine, where it specifically applied and what are its prospects.
What is blockchain actually good for?

Blockchain technology appeared in 2008 and immediately opened up new prospects for data exchange. Blockchain is a so-called distributed database that consists of separate blocks in the form of a continuous chain. It stores all the transactions that have ever occurred and the information about all the wallets.

Blockchain solves the problem of trust in a complex environment. In most traditional payment systems, transactions depend not only on the two parties involved, but also on an intermediary: such as a bank, credit card company or payment provider. When using blockchain, the need for them disappears, because the distributed network verifies transactions using mining. In the blockchain system, there is no risk associated with the reliability of a certain organization, and total costs and fees are reduced due to the exclusion of intermediaries and third parties.

The other thing that blockchain is good for is the ability to automate processes using smart contacts. All created documents are encrypted and kept in a single system. This method excludes the loss of papers or violation of their credibility. As well as changing the public address of the smart contract. Every participant of the transaction can verify compliance with the conditions and audit all previous transactions until the creation of the first block of the blockchain. In this case, the possibility of "selling" assets is excluded if the seller doesn’t have it or he took possession of it illegally.

Blockchain in healthcare: opportunities and challenges

Blockchain in medicine is literally a "lifesaver" because in the field of data processing the medical industry has long been cracking at the seams. Blockchain provides personal ownership of medical data, storage and immutability of patient information, data confidentiality, authenticity and transparency in pharmaceutical supplies, infrastructure for telemedicine and opportunities to purchase gadgets, services and medicines for tokens.

So let’s look in which specific scenarios it is advisable to use the main benefits of blockchain technology.

  • Supply chains and counterfeiting
According to research, counterfeit medicines cause about 800.000 deaths per year worldwide and losses worth about $200 billion only in the United States. In addition, they also pose a threat to the reputation of pharmaceutical companies, forcing drug manufacturers and distributors to invest in countermeasures. Blockchain is able to solve these problems by guaranteeing transparency at all stages of production, supply and sale of medicines. It provides low-cost quality control and counterfeit tracking at all stages of the supply chain

  • Transplantation
For effective organ transplantation, it is necessary to have an approval of the donor and the compliance of organs with regulatory requirements. Given that blockchain is protected from outside intrusion, today it is the most reliable way to store confidential information.

  • Clinical and biomedical research
Blockchain technology can speed up research, open access to data, and strengthen control over the results. Blockchain is able to eliminate data falsification and exclude leaks of clinical research results.

  • Health insurance
Insurance claims processing may become a promising area of blockchain application in healthcare. All sides of this process can benefit from transparency, decentralization and immutability of data stored on the blockchain. Insurers will reduce costs while policyholders will be able to receive compensation faster when insured events occur.

The immutability of the data will simplify the audit and improve the detection of fraud attempts. All involved parties will be able to access information from several different sources at once.

  • Telemedicine and remote patient monitoring
Blockchain can also be used for remote monitoring of the condition of patients outside the hospital. For example, using ioMT devices - sensors, wearables and mobile apps.

The technology, in this case, will allow you to keep the collected data completely safe, and doctors, clinics, laboratories and insurance companies will have access to a single up-to-date version of the medical card, excluding the possibility of data loss or intentional modification.

Challenges and limitations of blockchain implementation

Blockchain is a young technology. As in other industries, blockchain in healthcare is at an initial stage of implementation. The best practices are not formed and the cost of solutions is often unclear for customers.

Among the real restrictions there are the issues of scalability and the interaction between different systems. But the main difficulty, in my opinion, is industry conservatism and patient’s reluctance to embrace new technologies.

For medical institutions, regulatory matters, protection of personal data, compatibility with other software and equipment are more acute than for government agencies and businesses.

Prospects of blockchain in medicine in 2023

In healthcare, new products are introduced much more cautiously and slowly than, for examle, in financial or entertainment industry.

Some of our "healthcare" clients noted that blockchain just needs to “mature” and become something more familiar and widespread, so they will stop being afraid of it. But given how fast new successful blockchain projects are emerging in the IT space, it's not long to wait for this “familiarity”.

As digital projects in medicine prove their usefulness, new solutions will appear and contribute to the adaptation of technology.

How can the Web3soft team be useful?

Web3soft company is a recognised expert in the field of blockchain development, and also has an extensive experience in implementing projects in the field of medicine.

We are ready to advise you on all issues of interest and develop a project to implement various blockchain scenarios.