Blockchain in healthcare: 
use cases, solutions, & benefits

Blockchain in healthcare: use cases, solutions, & benefits

December 20, 2023

Blockchain prospects in healthcare

patient records were breached in 2021

Protenus Breach Barometer

blockchain in healthcare market CAGR 2022-2028

PRNewswire

blockchain in genomics market CAGR 2021-2028

Verified Market Research

How a blockchain system operates in healthcare

A decentralized distributed system at its core, blockchain can be an effective technology for recording and storing medical records and facilitating various transactions within healthcare organizations. Blockchain consists of linked transaction blocks that form a shared, immutable record ledger. It relies on cryptographic techniques, allowing blockchain network participants to interact (i.e., view, exchange, and store data) securely. With no central authority, records are distributed across all the network participants and undergo verification by the network, enabling trustless collaboration.

Healthcare organizations can use blockchain to verify patients’ identities, medical histories, prescriptions, and genetic data. Blockchain-based medical solutions can grant patients complete ownership of their health records so that they can give or revoke access to their data at any time. Healthcare providers, in turn, can facilitate issuing prescriptions.

Healthcare organizations can also use blockchain in combination with smart contracts to reduce costs and enforce validity of transactions by eliminating intermediaries. A smart contract is a piece of code that is deployed on a blockchain and gets executed automatically when certain conditions are met.

Health organizations direct information to the blockchain

Health organizations provide services to patients

Clinical data is tracked in existing health IT systems

Standard data fields and a patient’s public ID are redirected to the blockchain via APIs

Transactions are completed & uniquely identified

Each transaction is stored on the blockchain, containing the patient’s public (non-identifiable) ID

Smart contract processes incoming transactions

Health organizations & institutions can directly query the blockchain

Health organizations and institutions submit their queries via APIs

Non-identifiable patient information (e.g. age, gender, illness) is viewable

Data can be analyzed to uncover new insights

Patients can share their identity with health organizations

The patient’s private key links their identity to blockchain data

The private key can be shared with new health organizations

With the key organizations can then uncover the patient’s data

Data remains non-identifiable to those without the key

Capabilities of blockchain technology for healthcare

Capabilities of blockchain technology for healthcare

Blockchain enables fail-proof data protection thanks to its decentralized and immutable nature. Patient records, medical device data, clinical trial results, telemedicine appointments, drug research reports, and other sensitive information are encrypted and stored in a way that prevents unauthorized access, modification, or transfer, and allows for immediate detection and aversion of any tampering attempts.

Blockchain facilitates highly reliable identity verification and thus minimizes the risk of fraudulent activities in the healthcare sector by creating a decentralized network for validating patients, payers, healthcare service and insurance providers, and other stakeholders. Each user is assigned a unique digital identifier, stored on the blockchain in a way that prevents forgery and catfishing.

Blockchain technology helps provide a standardized data structure and shared protocols for different healthcare systems to access and manage information. Thus, the interoperable blockchain network improves care coordination, reduces duplication of data and resources, and enables immediate access to vital information from different facilities.

Payment terms and conditions can be pre-programmed with smart contracts that make transactions happen automatically when specific conditions are met. This speeds up bill settlement and reduces transaction costs. Also, due to the unique encryption of every transaction, blockchain technology enhances transparency of the financial operations, and thwarts billing fraud. At the same time, the utilization of some cryptocurrencies helps payers maintain anonymity.

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Applications & benefits of blockchain in healthcare

Drug traceability

Blockchain is a reliable pharmacy automation solution for the drug authenticity problem, as it permits tracing every drug up to its very origins. Blockchain can be used to encapsulate information about the drug at every stage of its lifecycle, down to its production and distribution. Every block within the blockchain containing drug information will have a hash linked to another block, and every block will come with a time stamp that cannot be altered.

Incrementation of transactions in the blockchain will be visible to all authorized parties, with a medicine’s movement from one party to another trackable in real-time. Medicine consumers will also be able to verify the authenticity of purchased products by scanning the QR code and looking up the information about the manufacturer and other relevant supply chain participants. Patients will be confident that they are buying a genuine patented treatment from an accountable manufacturer, which will push counterfeiters off the market.

Benefit
  • Enhanced patient safety
  • Improved health outcomes
  • Increased revenue for licensed manufacturers

Supplier

  1. Certificate of origin
  2. Batch number
  3. Processing data
  4. _______________________
  5. _______________________

Manufacturer

  1. Certificate of origin
  2. Batch number
  3. Processing data
  4. _______________________
  5. _______________________

Wholesaler distributor

  1. Certificate of origin
  2. Batch number
  3. Packet Id
  4. Processing data
  5. Temperature
  6. _______________________

Hospital or pharmacy

  1. Certificate of origin
  2. Batch number
  3. Packet Id
  4. Processing data
  5. Temperature
  6. _______________________

Patient

  1. Certificate of origin
  2. Batch number
  3. Packet Id
  4. Processing data
  5. Temperature
  6. Invoice number
  7. Customer Id
  8. _______________________
Blockchain record Match informations
 Shipment details
 Temperature details
 Pay supplier123412nBlockchain smart contract

Scheme title: Blockchain-based supply chain of pharmaceutical products
Data source: researchgate.net

Success examples

Blockchain is used in a variety of information systems and other healthcare software, proving its immense value to everyone in the healthcare industry.

Itransition delivered a blockchain-based patent platform that enables users to buy, sell, license, and evaluate patents. The solution also provides free patent analytics and engages relevant service providers from around the world. By automating complex monetization processes and promoting IP market transparency, the solution significantly reduces the costs of patent selling, purchasing, and licensing.

Image title: Patient management platform’s home page

Patent management platform

Our services

Our experts provide consulting and development services for healthcare organizations of any size and speciality.

Strategy

Our experts analyze the healthcare sector your organization functions in and your requirements to determine if blockchain technology is the best solution in your case. We then recommend a suitable strategy for blockchain software development, implementation, and sustainable use based on your practice’s specifics.

Audit

We assess the architecture and logic, operation, performance, and resistance to network contingencies of healthcare blockchain. It is a must-have stage before further extension and optimization of the existing blockchain technology, or adoption of a new platform.

Security

We carry out security testing to check how the digital ledger resists potential fraudulent activities. If any security issues are detected, we help healthcare professionals to restore and reinforce their blockchain solution.

Our go-to blockchain platforms for healthcare

We consider your business strategy, workflow specifics, desired blockchain applications, existing infrastructure, and budget before determining which blockchain platform will suit you best and building a custom solution on top of it.

Polygon is a layer 2 scaling solution for Ethereum, making it a good choice for those already familiar with ETH tools. Polygon uses multiple scaling methods to achieve wide throughput, high transaction speed, and relatively low fees. It already has a number of successful cases in the healthcare industry and is expanding further.

Solana is a blockchain with a relatively large user-base, comprehensive documentation, and a wide array of implementation tools. Its high transaction speed and low fees makes it suitable for healthcare companies that want to innovate their processes on a budget.

Arbitrum is also a layer 2 scaling solution for Ethereum like Polygon which boasts even more affordable transaction fees but lower transaction speed. It is relatively simple to implement and is suitable for healthcare organizations that are already familiar with Ethereum, as well as those new to the blockchain technology.

Concerns about blockchain adoption in healthcare

Scalability

The healthcare industry produces terabytes of data each year, and as the number of transactions increases, blockchain networks must scale better.

Developers and innovators are constantly coming up with new and better informational technology solutions to overcome this problem. Discuss the scalability concern with your vendor to make sure they have an upgrade plan for the network your organization is using.

Integration

A majority of legacy healthcare systems are hard to integrate with blockchain technology.

Care providers can rely on third-party integration, data migration services, and software like custom connectors. In some cases, hospitals will have to update existing healthcare systems or switch to entirely different ones to improve interoperability in their healthcare ecosystem.

Data privacy

While transparency is valuable in some cases, patients and providers are worried about data privacy in blockchain networks.

Healthcare organizations and regulators should work together on data governance strategies taking into account the specifics of the healthcare industry’s innovative technologies and existing security and privacy regulations to find an optimal solution.

Viability

Some providers argue that use of blockchain technology is merely a trend and it is not worth the investment.

Like any technology, blockchain is not a universal solution. Therefore, healthcare organizations should only consider investing in blockchain if they have multiple parties initiating transactions that influence shared information. Otherwise, hospitals won’t necessarily need a blockchain solution.
Improve healthcare with blockchain

Improve healthcare with blockchain

Blockchain technology is a perfect solution for many challenges in the healthcare industry. There are already numerous highly promising blockchain healthcare projects that are either in their pilot stages or launched to the market successfully. However, before jumping on board, it is important to note that if you decide to incorporate blockchain into your practice, a part of your existing IT infrastructure and some business processes will have to be modified to work well with blockchain.

Improve healthcare with blockchain

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FAQ

How long does it take to adopt blockchain in healthcare?

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What is the best Blockchain as a Service platform?

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