May 22, 2019

How Blockchain Is Being Used To Tackle Healthcare Issues

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Blockchain has been the most talked about technology innovation in the contemporary world. In fact, it’s hard to talk about the innovations without the mention of Blockchain. Thanks to the rise of cryptocurrencies last year, retailers, organizations and even governments have started researching the technology to see if it has something to offer.

With the increasing interests in the technology, there has been a significant increase in the number of startups and entrepreneurs showcasing their Blockchain tools in various sectors. Young companies are now looking to ways which the distributed ledger technology can solve issues in consumer health, research, health data transfer and in solving other health care challenges.

What Is Blockchain?

To better understand how the technology would solve these issues, it’s better we understand how the technology works in the first place.

Broadly speaking, it’s a peer to peer series of interconnected blocks of data which are interlinked and check each other from time to time for errors. What sets apart Blockchain from its competitors is its transparent nature and the fact that any changes are not only timestamped but done so with the appropriate cryptographic key. This makes any unauthorized alterations detectable and overwritten by the chain.

The idea behind the technology is to distance itself from any form of central database. Such immutability makes Blockchain also known as a distributed ledger. Besides its use in the exchange of coins, its structure proves to be of benefit for certain areas in the healthcare industry.

According to Mike Jacobs, an engineer with Optum Health and the company’s spokesman ‘Blockchain has proved to be very useful in the sharing of information and in the automation of processes. It has been useful particularly where the costs of these processes are high and where there is inconsistent data that needs to be reconciled.

Jacobs also gave an example where Blockchain has proved to be essential in the healthcare field. Speaking to MobiHealthNews, he gave the example of a provider submitting a claim to a payer. The payer has information that needs to be compared against the said claim. In the end, there are a lot or reconciliation that need to be done between the two.

More Blockchain Uses In The Ecosystem

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But the processing approach is not Blockchain’s only application in the healthcare field. There are pilots that have been announced such as fraud prevention, clinical trial management, revenue recycle and supply chain monitoring among others.

The recent interest in Blockchain solutions to the current healthcare issues also means people are cashing in on the cryptocurrency concept. Sweatcoin has been a viable option as well as Hayver and Sobercoin which have similar models.

Digital coins, besides being used to promote healthy behaviors, are serving as compensation for health data exchanges. Nebula Genomics for example, in addition to paying users to sell their data, uses the technology to store and protect testing results. Data is encrypted with multiple keys given to different parties with permission from consumers.

More Startups Using Blockchain

But not all are consumer-focused. A healthcare API startup the PokitDok is already working on a transaction network for cases like identity verification, smart contracts, automatic adjudication and more.

With more blockchain startups exploring possible healthcare fields, there is no sign of slowing down.

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