For the time being the majority of people may know the blockchain simply as the technology that powers the worlds most controversial currency, Bitcoin, but times are changing due to the influx of blockchain applications across a whole number of industries.
Transmitting real-time patient data via blockchain apps
A recent report from IDC Healthy Insights that was initially reported by Computerworld suggests that by the year 2020, as much as 20 percent of healthcare organizations could be implementing and using blockchain applications to assist in operations management and patient identity.
The belief is that the interoperability of blockchain could eventually replace health information exchanges when it comes to data exchanges, meaning that healthcare providers, insurance payers, pharmacies and other medical personnel could transmit secure, real-time patient data via blockchain applications.
One issue that the implementation of blockchain applications will likely face is a slowing of progress due to security concerns and regulations, meaning that moving beyond pilot projects will prove painstakingly slow in comparison to other industries where blockchain applications could be introduced quicker.
It has been widely acknowledged that blockchain applications and technology won’t do much to change the medical industry or healthcare data radically, but would instead function as a sort of ‘support skeleton’ to assist in the acceleration of clinical data distribution.
Mutaz Shegewi, IDC’s research director for provider IT transformation strategies commented –
“It doesn’t really influence the way data is conveyed or any data rules or anything that would take data to the next level. It’s the latticework or the skeleton for it.”
“Blockchain paves the way for interoperability to happen at some point. It’s better distributed. It’s more decentralized. It’s more permanent, more transparent, more accessible.”
Despite a notable few medical companies using blockchain applications to assist with Electronic Health Record (EHR) data, such as Mayo Clinic and a London-based startup called Medicalchain, the vast majority are proving slow to react.
Mutaz Shegewi continued –
“In terms of blockchain being widely adopted as a core technology in healthcare, that’s going to be a much longer timeline – maybe well beyond five to seven years in terms of being central to clinical workflows.”
John Sculley, chief marketing officer of RxAdvance, a pharmacy benefit management cloud service also commented –
“I think everyone’s enthusiastic about blockchain. Adoption is not a technical issue. It’s getting the foundations in place because this is a highly regulated industry.”
Lover of all things crypto, blockchain and AI, professional tech scribe & part of the editorial team at Crypto Disrupt.