In the past, we have written about Blockchain and the way that it is impacting the world.
Blockchain is mostly associated with change and disruptions as industries need to relook at their business and distribution models to come to terms with the changes that this technology is introducing.
Today we will be focusing on two things. Firstly, how Blockchain is impacting the medical industry; and secondly, we will focus on who really benefits from blockchain.
Strap yourselves in.
Like almost any other sector, the healthcare industry has attracted the attention and interest of Blockchain-based product developers in a significant and commendable way.
Over the last couple of years, Blockchain products aiming at leveraging the healthcare sector have mushroomed from various parts of the globe, with some making a powerful impact and growing speedily.
These achievements underline the potential and promise that development of blockchain products will improve the sector.
What challenges are these products responding to? Who are the players/developers on the bandwagon? Let us delve into this subject and answer these questions at length.
Let’s highlight some emerging startups:
Developed by graduates from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MedRec is meant to address one of the industry’s major headaches; Electronic Health Records(EHR).
MedRec has given special attention to the patients’ ability to access and even update their own health record across various providers.
The reward? Medical researchers will be able to mine MedRec and rewarded through gaining access to filtered, census-level data of medical records.
Block Chain Health
The San Francisco based software company formulates Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant Blockchain-based solutions for organizations.
The company is focused on creating products ensuring that data is shareable amongst users such as researchers and policymakers and information safety is highly guaranteed through a tamperproof chain of information storage.
From their base in Atlanta, Patientory is exploring the potential of efficiently sharing Electronic Medical Records.
Platform users can access the Patientory platform using the digital currency PTOY. The project’s whitepaper outlines the patient as the key intermediary in sending and receiving health-information, where frequent updates and software troubleshooting are eliminated thus enhancing efficiency.
Guardtime originates from Estonia, one of the nations whose government has objectively embraced blockchain products.
In partnership with e-Health, a government initiative, Guardtime provides blockchain-based security to over one million patients. Estonians already have electronic identification credentials linked to other data including health records.
The addition of a blockchain protocol reinforces the health data.
What challenges are these products responding to?
EHR / EMR: From the onset, medical records have received significant focus amongst most of the products being developed. Enhanced data sharing among various practitioners and shareholders such as insurance companies is one important element that products aim to leverage.
Payments: Products are also looking at how best payments for healthcare services can be done with much ease through digital currency and cryptocurrency.
Drug System: Pharmaceutical research, as well as drug-issuing in healthcare facilities, has also attracted Blockchain developers and there is positive progress to this end.
Research: Access to data for research needs is seemingly getting easier as industry players find ways of sharing data through blockchain products
It is only getting better
These products highlighted are just a tip of the iceberg. Several more are in various stages of development and the industry is poised for rapid growth as time goes.
Governments, developers and other players in the industry will, however, need to put in place policy and frameworks that guide these developments especially in ensuring the safety of sensitive data.
Nonetheless, Blockchain will be instrumental in providing solutions to major healthcare processes such as data collection, storage and sharing.
So, who really benefits from Blockchain? According to a Forbes article, quite a few industries will (eventually) see significant benefits.
According to the article, despite growing global hype, systematic inequalities remain across the Blockchain landscape. As the underlying technology matures, some of these inequalities will be addressed and eventually overcome, while other inequalities are a product of market forces and are deeper and more complex.
The article adds that these inequalities require unprecedented solutions. Although Blockchain undoubtedly offers a dramatic and provocative future, businesses and technology stakeholders alike must understand the risks they might encounter and what a successful pivot could require.
The investment angle
The article points out that from an investment perspective, the most exciting aspect of the ongoing Blockchain revolution is undoubtedly the initial coin offering (ICO), which has captured the attention of alternative investors and technologist across the globe.
The article adds that even though this new capital raising mechanism has yet to be fully defined by government regulators, increased capital continues to flow into new projects. In a seemingly clear rebuke to the modern venture capital based funding model, new companies are motivated to raise greater capital sums without exchanging any formal ownership or obligation to coin or token investors. Likewise, coin or token investors are attracted to the opportunity to invest in blockchain ventures sooner than previously available without having to prove that they are accredited. ICOs enjoy global market access to investors, enabling them to raise unprecedented amounts of capital — in some cases raising several hundred million dollars in hours or days.
The article adds that this unregulated market has demonstrated it has the potential to harm investors whose participation has resulted in proprietors of ICOs with vast capital and no obligation.
Some ventures have dissolved before any product delivery with no fiduciary duty to investors to continue on. While ICOs provide a unique way of raising needed capital, market participants and regulators alike have called for intelligent and tempered regulation.
The article adds that this inequality clearly privileges proprietors of ICOs over their investors. Ventures that voluntarily abide by the rails of securities issues established by their governments, produce a valid business plan and whitepaper and raise a targeted offer in line with their capital requirements will empower their beneficiaries greatly and reduce this inequality.
As with most aspects of technology, there will always be winners and losers; but the winners will always come out on top. In the future, Blockchain may affect your business. are you ready for its impact?