U.S. Health Care Companies Begin Exploring Blockchain Technologies
The goal is a health care system where patients have accurate and updated records that are secure against tampering or snooping
The sprawling U.S. health care industry has trouble managing patient information: Every doctor, medical office, hospital, pharmacy, therapist and insurance company needs different pieces of data to properly care for patients. These records are scattered all over on each business’s computers—and some no doubt in filing cabinets too. They’re not all kept up to date with current information, as a person’s prescriptions change or new X-rays are taken, and they’re not easily shared from one provider to another
For instance, in Boston alone, medical offices use more than two dozen different systems for keeping electronic health records. None of them can directly communicate with any of the others, and all of them present opportunities for hackers to steal, delete or modify records either individually or en masse. In an emergency, doctors may not be able to get crucial medical information because it’s stored somewhere else. That can result in direct harm to patients.
A SECURE SYSTEM TO STORE PRIVATE INFORMATION
linical trials, too, may benefit from blockchain. Today, patchy data and inefficient communication among all players involved in clinical trials pose serious problems. The drug discovery and development processes could see similar benefits.
Pharmaceutical companies currently monitor drug shipments and delivery through an inefficient web of scattered databases. In 2017, Pfizer and other drugmakers announced their support for MediLedger, seeking to transfer those tasks to a blockchain—which Walmart is already doing to track its food shipments.