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In the next five to 10 years, a blockchain ecosystem with healthcare-focused use cases involving health data exchanges, smart assets management, insurance and payment solutions, blockchain platform providers, and consortiums will emerge. On-going digital democratization of care delivery models towards a much-anticipated personalized and outcome-based treatment paradigm will be the major impetus for blockchain adoption. Furthermore, the convergence of blockchain with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, mHealth and Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) provides new opportunities to explore digital health economies. At its core, blockchain would offer the potential of a shared platform that decentralizes healthcare interactions ensuring access control, authenticity, and integrity while presenting the industry with radical possibilities for value-based care and reimbursement models.
“Burgeoning connected health devices and the need to protect against data breaches make blockchain, with its ubiquitous security infrastructure, the obvious foundation for emerging digital health workflows and advanced healthcare interoperability. It creates an additional trust layer through unique distributed network consensus that uses cryptography techniques to minimize cyber threats,” said Transformational Health Industry Analyst Kamaljit Behera. “Blockchain technology may not be the panacea for healthcare industry challenges needs but it holds the potential to save billions of dollars by optimizing current workflows and disintermediating some high-cost gatekeepers.”
Blockchain Technology in Global Healthcare, 2017–2025, new research from Frost & Sullivan’s Advanced Medical Technologies Growth Partnership Service program, examines blockchain potential to resolve concerns around data interoperability, cybersecurity, insurance notarization and medical billing frauds, integrity around clinical trials, and drug supply chain provenance. Along with adoption timelines, the study looks at growth opportunities, implementation challenges, government and commercial initiatives, select collaborations and deals, and companies/consortia to watch.
Key players in the healthcare blockchain market include:
Guardtime: Its proprietary Keyless Signature Infrastructure (KSI) platform ensures 100 percent accuracy in retrieved patient records. They collaborated with the Estonian eHealth Foundation in 2016 to secure the health records of one million Estonian citizens.
PokitDok Inc: Provides a software development platform with a set of application program interface (API) endpoints that facilitate eligibility checks, claims submissions, appointment scheduling, payment optimization, patient identity management, pharmacy benefits, and other business processes. It has collaborated with Intel and other digital health companies.
Gem Health: Its enterprise platform GemOS, and partnerships with healthcare companies like Philips and Capital One, will accelerate blockchain solutions for IoMT and RCM use cases;
Patientory: It has a blockchain-based distributed electronic medical record storage computing software-as-a-service platform and collaborates with Kaiser Permanente (U.S.) to store patient data.
iSolve, LLC: Its blockchain platform, ADLT™, supports life sciences organizations through the drug development lifecycle by creating a smart marketplace for entrepreneurs, tech transfer offices, investors, and service providers to post, track, bid and partner on opportunities.
“The healthcare industry needs to establish blockchain consortia to facilitate partnerships and create standards for future implementation on a large scale across healthcare use cases,” observed Behera. “A blockchain-based system will enable unprecedented collaboration, bolstering innovation in medical research and the execution of larger healthcare concepts such as precision medicine and population health management. In IoMT, it can settle security, privacy and reliability concerns to allow integration of health data from Internet of Medical Things (IoT) or medical devices for remote and autonomous monitoring. In the pharmaceutical industry, the technology can potentially save $200 billion by inhibiting counterfeit and substandard drugs.”
Frost & Sullivan’s extensive research covers the use of blockchain-as-a-service, distributed digital ledgers, peer-to-peer networking, cryptographic securing, decentralized computing, healthcare blockchain prototypes, and blockchain artificial intelligence and augmented/virtual reality systems.
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