In today’s post, we turn to healthcare, that some have named the ultimate use case of Blockchain-based systems. We approach the subject in light of the coronavirus outbreak that has left in evidence the need for blockchain in healthcare.
As countries struggle with what the World Health Organization calls a global pandemic, blockchain technology is emerging as the solution that underpins a range of benefits to help individuals, institutions and businesses around the world cope with the spread of the virus.
The implementation of an interoperable blockchain solution can significantly improve day-to-day management, as well as the handling of crisis situations, such as the one we are experiencing now.
Technology companies and industry startups have recognized this and have begun to build a series of solutions based on blockchain technology with the aim of tracking drug supply chains, managing medical data, advising citizens and identifying symptoms of infection.
And as you can see below, with good reason. The number of projects that have benefited from the use of blockchain is on our side when we say that, in a few years, it will extend way beyond traditional applications.
The Chinese government has tapped into all the potential measures to support businesses struggling to survive the effects of the outbreak. And blockchain technology is showing its potential in streamlining many processes in healthcare and beyond. In what follows, we will go over a few use cases of blockchain in healthcare for insurance claims, supply chain management, data access, and identity management.
Blockchain for health insurance claims
On the health care front, the online mutual aid platform, Xiang Hu Bao, added the coronavirus to its list of critical conditions that can be paid for. It is a blockchain-based collective claim sharing platform that has enabled companies to reduce paperwork and the need to go to clinics to receive and deliver documentation.
The platform’s website, which has 104 million users, claims to have processed more than 25,000 claims. The fact that the platform can process transactions without human intervention helps mitigate the risks of infection from direct contact.
Blockchain for tracking donations and medical materials supply chain
Even before COVID-19 was considered a pandemic, the Chinese company Hyperchain built a transparent donation platform to raise funds to fight the outbreak.
It was an appropriate way to counteract the series of scandals over the handling of public donations and the distribution of aid that had damaged people’s trust in some state-supported charities. Some hospitals blamed the Chinese Red Cross for poor distribution of masks and other donated materials, which left frontline medical personnel without resources to protect themselves.
The new Shanzong donation tracking platform allows donors to see where funds are most urgently needed and to track their donations at every stage. At the end of the process, it provides them with verification that the hospitals have received their money as medical supplies.
Continuing on the subject of supplies, the shortage of face masks has been one of the biggest challenges for China so far. The numbers speak for themselves, the daily production of masks in China is around 15.2 million units, with an estimated demand of between 50 and 60 million. It is this gap between supply and demand that has led to a sharp increase in counterfeit production.
To grab the bull by the horns and make the supply of medical supplies more transparent, Alipay, together with the Zhejiang Provincial Health Commission and the Department of Economics and Information Technology, has launched a blockchain-based platform that allows users to track demand and supply chains for medical supplies. This includes the registration and tracking of epidemic prevention materials such as masks, gloves and other protective equipment.
Blockchain for monitoring the data related to the outbreak
Acoer, a developer of blockchain-based applications, has created a tool called Hashlog. It is a data visualization engine that makes it possible to understand and follow easily the spread of the virus, as well as its trends over time, from a large set of public data, including that of the World Health Organization.
Hashlog includes the total number of cases worldwide, mortality and recovery rates from infections, cases filtered by country, as well as trends on Google by interest and region for the coronavirus. Blockchain technology ensures that all this shared information cannot be manipulated or modified. The objective of the engine is that data collection is automated and that the tool provides researchers and scientists with dynamic dashboards to support their work.
Blockchain for identity management
Blockchain is a good way of keeping important medical data safe and secure. It has been up until now the most popular use for blockchain in healthcare so far. Having medical records on blockchain also reduces costly mistakes and makes accessing logs easier and quick since the basic authentication and authorization operations execute in 2-3 seconds.
Perspectives of future growth
The only limitation that blockchain will have as a key tool to exercise greater control over the health crisis is the lack of experts and specialists in the field. The blockchain talent market has been characterized by a gap between demand and supply since we can speak of such. In fact, it is believed that Blockchain will make a quantum leap in implementation after the epidemic.
For years, Zigurat Global Institute of Technology has believed in the benefits of blockchain and has been trying to confront the lack of new professional profiles that are highly specialized in this technology.
Robin Weninger, professor at Zigurat’s Global Master’s in Blockchain Technologies says that when we need to act quickly, under great pressure, and with a lot of uncertainty, access to reliable data can be a key factor in the outcome. According to him, “blockchain technology can provide a solid basis for increasing data reliability through transparency and reducing the risk of data errors from minute number one.
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