The Technology Disrupting the Health Care Industry
Blockchain tech is disrupting multiple industries, and perhaps none more so than health care. Organizations using the technology for storing medical records are experiencing the benefit of complete data security, of course. Another noteworthy advantage is unprecedented data portability.
We’re living in a crypto, bitcoiny, blockchainy world that’s spinning out disruptions faster than McDonald’s serves Big Macs.
They say the first Bitcoin transaction was 10,000 Bitcoins per uno pizza. Now, 6 Bitcoins buys you a sports car. Man, was that a costly pizza back then!
Ever notice those odd, locking vertical boxes in doctor’s offices? Sometimes you’ll see them located behind where the receptionist sits? Or perhaps they’ll be in a room all by themselves.
They’re known as file cabinets, circa 2017, which were once places for storing sensitive and important information, such as our medical records.
Today those cabinets are dinosaurs. They’re rapidly being replaced by a disruptive new way of storing and accessing medical records based on an entirely new platform made possible today by blockchain technology.
When blockchain first started to capture global attention, many predicted it would take the world by storm, disrupting major industries, starting with finance. Since then, we’ve come to realize that the actual implementation has been somewhat slower than initially anticipated.
Some are wondering if there are any fully realized blockchain projects actively in use. There are, in fact, many, and the patterns both agree with and go against the early predictions. Keep in mind, these projects are active and in use, but they are still being added to and improved upon.
The industry in which blockchain has shown greatest promise and progress so far is not finance, but rather, logistics and supply chain. In fact, almost all actively used blockchain-based platforms are in some way connected to the logistics and supply chain industry. According to experts at BlockchainDriven:
- The use case for logistics and supply chain is simple, so it stands to reason it would be built out faster.
- The benefits of blockchain technology for this particular use case are more immediate and apparent.
- Because of the simplicity of the use case, it is easier to measure the results from initial field testing and implementation.
A Summary of Blockchain Progress
Retail/Food Supply: Everyone talks about Walmart and Maersk for good reason. Walmart is using blockchain to track products like poultry back to their roots, from farm to table. That’s reducing loss, food spoilage and disease outbreaks.
Dole, Nestlé, Unilever and Tyson Foods are (separately) regulating food safety with Walmart, Kroger and JD.com using blockchain. All members of the ecosystem can use their blockchain network to trace contaminated foods to their source in a short amount of time to ensure they are quickly removed from store shelves.
Consumers can use a smartphone to scan a code on a package to obtain information at each stage of production, including where and how the chickens were raised and what they were fed, as well as where the meat was processed.
In another example, Provenance uses blockchain technology to create transparency for consumers in Europe in much the same way. So far, they’ve proven tuna fishing sources and sustainability claims, in addition to proving fair wages for coconut farmers.
Shipping: IBM and Maersk are actively field-testing their technology in conjunction with Dutch customs and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, all of whom are tracking containers remotely. The tech’s reliance on cryptographic signatures not only makes it harder for anyone to mislay goods or tamper with labels while cargo is on the move, but also can reduce the time goods spend in transit.
UPS joined the Blockchain in Trucking Alliance (BiTA) to provide increased transparency among all groups involved in the supply chain. Currently, UPS is working with blockchain to improve its customs brokerage business. FedEx also joined BiTA in February 2018, and they have already launched a blockchain-powered program to help solve customer disputes.
Blockchain Curing Ailments in Health Care
One of the biggest involvements of blockchain is in health care, from pharmaceuticals to medical records.
DHL is already working with Accenture to establish a blockchain-based track-and-trace serialization system for pharmaceuticals, offering a better way to cut costs, elevate security and trust, eliminate error-prone data movements and enable real-time supply chain transparency.
One of the leaders in applying blockchain technology to health care is a company whose disruptive health care blockchain is allowing doctors and patients for the first time to access medical records instantly from anywhere in the world. TimiCoin is the first company to use blockchain technology to tokenize health information.
This mobile health record platform also provides complete security of those records, one of the inherent advantages of that ultimate triumphant disrupter, the blockchain.
According to the company’s co-founder and managing director Will Lowe, this new blockchain technology platform is destined to disrupt how health care has been operating for decades.
That’s because the blockchain’s cryptocurrency mobile platform allows patients and medical professionals to exchange data over an ultra-secure network that’s invulnerable to cyberattacks such as ransomware.
Just as everyone needs to connect to a utility company today, believers in the blockchain revolution predict that eventually everyone will need to connect to its health care information exchange ecosystem as the decentralized economy evolves.
So look to blockchain technology to be an emerging solution to securing patient data, while providing unprecedented portability.
We’re fast approaching a time when those who pooh-pooh or eschew technologies based on the blockchain may be creating a new sobriquet for themselves: blockhead.