Blockchain in medicine around the corner, says International Journal of Health Geographics

July 11, 2018

Researchers analyzed the large number of blockchain-related medicine and healthcare studies that were published last month and concluded that blockchain could soon reshape the worldwide sector.

The paper, written by researchers associated with universities in Scotland, the U.K., and the U.S., looked at the many studies relating to medicine that were published in June 2018 and found 40 new reports that included the keyword “blockchain.” It shows “a reflection of the growing interest in blockchain among the medical and healthcare research and practice communities,” said the report.

“Blockchain’s foundations of decentralization, cryptographic security, and immutability make it a strong contender in reshaping the healthcare landscape worldwide.”

The team found that blockchain solutions are being explored for an abundance of use cases in medicine and healthcare, including patient data management, research and data monetization, fraud detection, public health surveillance, the enablement of “truly public and open geo-tagged data,” and facilitation of Internet of Things (IoT) autonomous devices.

Last on the list of given use cases outlined in the report was blockchain-enabled augmented reality in crisis mapping and recovery scenarios. Blockchain implementation in this area would provide “mechanisms for validating, crediting, and rewarding crowdsourced geo-tagged data.” The paper introduces geospatially-enabled blockchain solutions that use a crypto-spatial coordinate system.

Such a system would make geospatial data—that is, data attributed to a certain location—immutable. In crisis mapping and recovery scenarios, this would help to record and validate the data needed to manage an incident, and blockchain technology could provide decentralized mapping provision that is outside of one entity’s control, such as with Google Maps.

The paper gives a detailed background to blockchain technology as well as an overview of “state-of-the-art blockchain uses in healthcare.” One example given is that of supply chain management in healthcare. The global market for fake, substandard, counterfeit, and grey market medicines was valued at around $200 billion per year in 2016.

ETHNews has the full story

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