There's no doubt Blockchain is a hot topic at the moment. It seems to be disrupting every industry and health is no different. According to a new market intelligence report by BIS Research, blockchain in healthcare is estimated to be $176.8 million in 2018, and is expected to grow over $5.61 billion by the end of 2025. But how exactly is Blockchain useful to health organisations like the NHS? According to techUK blockchain will impact a number of different areas within health including compliance with healthcare regulations, enabling better tracking of medical test results and allowing patients to upload their personal health data from wearable devices. It could also dramatically impact prescription services by making it easier to verify details, reduce fraud, reduce data transfer errors and improve patient safety and experience. This is all due to blockchain's ability to securely keep track of transactions taking place on a decentralised network.
We're already seeing the practical application of blockchain in the UK healthcare industry. A story in The Daily Telegraph discussed how Medicalchain is teaming up with the Groves Medical Group in the UK to pilot a blockchain platform for patients to help them take full control of their healthcare records, provide access to flexible telemedicine services and even allow them to pay in cryptocurrency.
I'm sure we'll be seeing more stories like this in 2018.
Growing demands on the NHS come from a myriad of sources: Europe currently is undergoing a demographic shift towards fewer babies being born and we also have a greater proportion of elderly people with more complex health needs; advances in healthcare also mean we expect access to the latest (often very expensive) medicines and treatments and yet, at the same time, public budgets in Europe are being squeezed by austerity measures. Meanwhile, medical professionals are dissatisfied with their working conditions, patients feel powerless to get their needs met and unable to effect change and the overall effect is a lot of suffering – despite the very best intentions of our free-at-the-point of entry system. So what can technologies like blockchain do to help?