What are blockchain companies doing for healthcare

Blockchain in the health system: more transparency and more precise research

Whether in the world of cryptocurrencies or in the encryption of online communication - blockchain technology already plays an important role in many areas. One area in which the cryptographic method shows great potential is the healthcare sector. It can create more transparency here and make organization easier. According to a study by Deloitte, blockchain systems can “reduce the restrictions and costs of the participants involved in a data exchange to almost zero”. In medical research, too, the technology can lead to previously impossible innovations.

"Decentralized systems" against complexity

“Health systems are complex: There are numerous actors, different interests, high cost pressure, low transparency and strong regulation. In practice, this often makes it difficult to digitize the processes and thus increase efficiency. Centralized systems are often difficult to implement in such constellations. Decentralized systems such as blockchain could solve the problem, as there is no need to trust a central instance, but you can still work with data, ”explains blockchain expert Martin Breitsprecher. However, according to him, the owners of the data, such as patients, must still be in control of it.

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According to Breitsprecher, a blockchain can have different applications in the healthcare system. Examples are electronic patient files and the verification of the origin or authenticity of pharmaceuticals. The technology could also automate billing processes for medical services or serve to prove vaccination records. According to Breitsprecher, smart contracts should be used so that there is a fixed set of rules for all these processes.

Blockchain helps with machine learning

Research is another area where blockchain is particularly promising, says Sönke Bartling, founder of the Blockchain for Science think tank. “Artificial intelligence is of great importance for innovations in the health system. Machine learning enables algorithms to check and evaluate massive amounts of data. This enables them to make far more accurate diagnoses than humans. However, the AI ​​needs real data sets first, which can be difficult due to privacy regulations. Blockchain offers the possibility of supplying an AI with numbers from practice, but the information remains encrypted, ”says Bartling.

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Both Breitsprecher and Bartling are of the opinion that the use of blockchain in the healthcare system will be significantly stronger in the future. “Using the example of cryptocurrencies, we can see that technology is becoming more and more mainstream. It still takes a high level of competence to use them in medical practice. The hurdle is still high here, but it's getting lower and lower, ”says Bartling. According to Breitsprecher, blockchain technology will soon be used more and more in the private sector, especially in the pharmaceutical industry. In the state health system, on the other hand, it is more difficult to implement such innovations quickly.