Blockchain technology disrupted the act of transactions at an unprecedented scale. Its versatile applications, removal of intermediaries, and democratic nature made it a game-changer for many industries. Also known as the decentralized ledger system, blockchain technology was invented in 2008 when people used it as a ledger for bitcoin transactions under a pseudonym.
Satoshi Nakamoto was the pseudonym they chose, and in their white paper, they described the technology as “a purely peer to peer version of electronic cash.” Over the years, blockchain technology has been that and more. It has evolved into a revolutionary tool for all kinds of transactions, contracts, and records. This technology is poised to change the future of healthcare.
Why blockchain matters in healthcare?
Blockchain technology is a database of interconnected blocks of information that operates in a tamper-proof, decentralized, and transparent form. In 2014, blockchain technology became separate from blockchain currency, and its potential for use for other institutional applications became evident.
Today, it is being used in many fields, including financial services, smart contracts, cryptocurrencies, supply chain, healthcare, energy trading, domain names, anti-counterfeiting, and art.
In healthcare, blockchain technology is being used for an increasing number of applications. These include managing patient medical records, managing drugs, medicines supply chain, data management, patient motivation, management of insurance claims, and health research. This article presents the best healthcare companies applying blockchain technology in creative and distinct ways to change the healthcare landscape for good.
Substandard and fake products are one of the challenges confronting the health sector globally. Substandard and fake drugs affect every region of the world but are more predominant in low and middle-income countries. The use of substandard and fake drugs contributes to drug-resistant infections, and antimicrobial resistance, ultimately causing over 800,000 deaths annually.
Blockpharma is addressing the global challenge of substandard and fake medicines using blockchain technology. Owned by CrystalChain, a biotech company headquartered in France, Blockpharma has developed an application that allows buyers to track the authenticity of a drug at the point of purchase using blockchain technology. They have designed an app that tracks drugs throughout the supply chain, from manufacturing to the final user.
Dental disease has a high global burden, and dental care comes at a very high cost to individuals. Dental care constitutes a significant part of out-of-pocket expenditure in high-income countries, and many people in low and middle-income countries cannot afford it. To tackle this challenge, Dentacoin was created. Dentacoin is a blockchain-based cryptocurrency that connects patients and dentists.
It also promotes the patients’ long-term oral health instead of short-term care that requires frequent subsequent visits. It is a subscription-based platform that connects patients to dentists and pays the dentists for treating the patients. It also rewards the patient by giving them incentives in the form of ‘Dental coins’ to take care of their teeth and eat healthily. It also promotes patients’ oral health in the long run through its oral health apps and games.
As the global life expectancy continues to improve, the elderly population will continue to increase. Along with this increase, there will be a rise in the number of people taking several medications for various chronic conditions. In that case, the risk of drug-to-drug interactions is also bound to increase, and that is where BlockPill steps in.
BlockPill aims to eliminate this challenge by providing a solution that ensures safer prescriptions and facilitates communication between different patient management team members. This will reduce the incidence of unwanted drug interactions and allow the modification of medication with ease.
The conclusion of the human genome project ushered in a new era in human genetics. Since then, there has been accelerated interest in studying human DNA and genetics to find lasting solutions to genetic diseases. Encrypgen is using Blockchain to take this even further. Encrypgen is democratizing the availability of DNA for scientific research.
They are doing this in a way that allows the owners of the DNA to profit from the use of their DNA for research, especially research that can lead to the discovery of treatments for genetic diseases.
Encrypgen pays the providers of DNA (which could be anyone) for their contributions, de-identifies these DNA samples (removing all identifying information), and stores them in a private Blockchain network (to ensure their security). Researchers can purchase these samples from the company and use them for their studies.
All transactions are carried out using ‘DNA coins’. This process is expected to enhance DNA research and reward the donors of the DNA samples too.
The increase in AI-powered medical devices that accompanied the internet-of-things revolution led to the fragmentation of medical records. Electronic medical records were no longer the sole preserve of healthcare providers. Software companies, smart devices, and cell phones became custodians of significant amounts of patients’ health data too.
Pokitdok uses blockchain technology to aggregate these data for patients who subscribe to their services through its Dokchain service. The company also secures these data ensuring double verification for anyone to access any patient’s data.
This data can be made available to healthcare providers, insurance companies, or any third-party companies the owners allow.
Clinicoin is a blockchain-based wellness and fitness community. It seeks its subscribers’ health and connects them to providers while rewarding them for participating in healthy activities. Clinicoin promotes the prevention of diseases by encouraging participation in physical activities and mindfulness exercises.
This participation is rewarded by tokens offered to users when healthy activities are logged on the Clinicoin app and verified via third-party tracking applications connected to the company’s app. It also provides an opportunity to reward developers whose health tracking applications are connected to its app.
The data gathered can be easily collected by healthcare providers or researchers. Users can also be encouraged to meet health or research goals by offering them tokens.
Fragmentation of electronic medical records poses a huge patient management challenge. Patients often have to transfer their records personally from provider to provider and encounter difficulties doing so. IRYO network overcomes this challenge by using blockchain technology to store up and connect patients’ Electronic Health Records through a centralized system instead of having them in fragments.
Afterward, patients can choose who (providers, researchers, or other third-party agents) can access their records, granting them partially or full access. Patients are also rewarded in the process as these providers have to pay them ‘IRYO tokens’. Patients can also use these tokens to pay for the services that the providers have rendered.
Healthcare is expensive everywhere. And especially expensive in America compared to other high-income countries, one of the reasons for this is the high costs of health administration. For instance, research shows that an average of $2,497 per person was expended in administrative costs in the USA in 2017, while an average of $551 per person was expended in Canada in the same year. Solve.Care aims to solve this problem using blockchain technology to drive down administrative costs in healthcare.
It uses multiple tools including ‘Care.Coins’, ‘Care.Protocol’, ‘Care.Cards’, ‘Care.Wallet’, ‘Care.Community’ and ‘Care.Marketplace’ to achieve its purposes. Although Solve.Care was developed for the American healthcare system.
It is also useful for other countries health systems. ‘Care.Coins’ can handle complex healthcare payments, simplifying them and eliminating the need for complex third-party transactions.
Despite its rather simplified process, ‘Care. Coins’ ensure payments are accurate and timely. ‘Care.Protocol’ synchronizes all other Solve.Care platforms: wallet, card, and coins to ensure their smooth integration. ‘Care.Cards’ are used to make payment into the ‘Care.Wallet’. They also ensure smooth integration of different cards from other wallets to ensure its versatility.
Doc.ai is a tech company at the nexus of Artificial Intelligence, blockchain technology, and medical software. This company uses machine intelligence to centralize medical services. Their clients can log in to the company’s platform and voluntarily share their medical and genomic data with scientists.
Scientists can then use this data for predictive modeling and other types of research. The company has partnered with other companies to use artificial intelligence to predict the incidence of allergic reactions. Doc.ai uses blockchain encryption to guarantee medical data safety and security.
Medical data is being generated, shared, stored, and used at a rate previously believed to be impossible. With this explosion of medical data creation, concerns about medical records’ safety and security have emerged. BURSTIQ addresses these concerns by using blockchain technology to safely and securely manage patients’ data.
One of its essential functions is the ability to detect drug abuse early. This is useful for detecting, monitoring, and preventing opioid abuse and the abuse of other prescription drugs. BURSTIQ is a key player in the Big Data and Cybersecurity arena and a company to watch for future innovation.
To wrap up
These are just some of the best companies doing great things with blockchain technology in the healthcare industry. New companies are springing up to modify the present uses of Blockchain solutions in healthcare or invent new offerings altogether. Some of the challenges these companies will face are common to all digital technologies: lack of access, lacking supporting infrastructure, societal inequities, and governmental bottlenecks.
But as we look to the future, we are confident that the same brilliant brains and collaborations that brought the world blockchain technology will find a way to make the technology available to all.
After all, who wouldn’t want to live in a world where health records are secure, available at the point of use, and used for life-saving research? These companies lead the way, but all humanity would benefit from more blockchain applications in healthcare.