In the healthcare sector, blockchain technology will play a role in a wide range of processes, including sharing healthcare data, tracing supply chains, and optimising payment processes. Blockchain will establish a means through which healthcare stakeholders, including patients, physicians, insurance companies, pharmaceutical and device manufacturers, distributors, and government, can interact with each other using a transparent, trusted decentralised ledger.
Listed below are the key blockchain in healthcare use case trends, as identified by GlobalData.
Moving beyond proof-of-concept
The year of the blockchain proof-of-concept was 2016. There were some early stage or small production blockchain deployments in 2017, but nothing at scale. Some early projects will go live in 2019, but larger scale commercial releases of blockchain technology are likely to be delayed until after 2020, given the complexities associated with their adoption, issues of scale, and regulatory hurdles.
Integrating with other IT innovation
IT innovation such as artificial intelligence (AI), hybrid cloud solutions, and blockchain implementations should be considered as supplemental technologies that can speed the adoption of new technologies. The new hybrid cloud-at-customer solutions provide highly scalable public cloud applications and services, while keeping personal healthcare data behind enterprise firewalls to conform to regulatory requirements. The use of AI goes beyond traditional analytics, as it aggregates and then extracts insights by recognising patterns and correlations across large volumes of data that are stored on hybrid clouds and safely organised on blockchain platforms.
Increasing blockchain use cases
Blockchain has broad implications for the healthcare industry. More cases have recently emerged due to the need to simplify and improve security and accuracy for cumbersome, inefficient supply chain processes. Other use cases include streamlining claims adjudication, providing faster medical insurance enrollment, and augmenting B2B activity across the healthcare value chain.
Governments play an essential role in complementing blockchain technology in healthcare, resulting in the expansion of blockchain use cases. For example, Estonia is testing the technology as a way to guarantee its healthcare system data integrity and security. In the US, the FDA is currently cooperating with industry leaders to track and trace pharmaceuticals. Additionally, with support from the FDA, Yale University and Mayo Clinic developed TrialChain, a blockchain-based platform that can be used to validate data integrity in the clinical research space.
Competition and strategic partnerships
Most of blockchain in healthcare use cases involves more than one company. Although companies generally avoid sharing any data with one another, they need to cooperate in order to boost blockchain value creation for all. Blockchain technology creates an open and secured environment for a wide range of healthcare stakeholders. They can use a range of applications from numerous other partners to get the most out of shared healthcare data. The findings they gain from their own data are complemented by additional insights from the combined data pool of all the participants in the blockchain platform.
This is an edited extract from the Blockchain in Healthcare – Thematic Research report produced by GlobalData Thematic Research.