Health

UK Techies Look to Revolutionise Healthcare Using Blockchain Technology

British Start-Ups are Using Blockchain Tech to Let Patients Take Control of Their Healthcare

14.05.2018 | by Kezia Parkins
Photo by ... on devteam.space
Photo by ... on devteam.space

Blockchain technology rose to prominence and gained traction for operating on a decentralised platform that enabled a free and fair exchange of information. It has now found a niche in healthcare — and much of the credit goes to these two UK businesses.

Medicalchain, a blockchain platform that enables the transparent exchange of medical records by patients and doctors, has partnered with the London-based Groves Medical Group to pilot a blockchain programme in its four medical centres.

The platform allows the two companies to share their resources and expertise. Medicalchain, set up by Dr. Abdullah Albeyatti, uses the open source blockchain technology created by Hyperledger.

With the Groves Medical Group contributing their patient data and medical feedback reports, the platform enjoys a one-of-a-kind partnership in the industry for the time being.

“This is a unique opportunity to work with the leaders in blockchain for healthcare and offer our patients cutting-edge technology.”
– Dr Vince Grippaudo, Senior Partner at Groves Medical Group

The pilot program will allow Medicalchain to gather feedback from doctors and patients to refine, update and continue development ahead of its global launch. Registered patients in the platform will be able to create a free wallet to manage and maintain access to their health records.

Video consultations with general practitioners will also be available to patients. The medical group supports 30,000 registered patients and 1,000 private patient families.

The platform will then give patients the option to pay for services using cryptocurrency, with users being incentivised to pay for telemedicine services with Medicalchain’s MedTokens.

Some experts argue that the use of blockchain may be able to pull the National Health Service out of its current crisis. The NHS is understaffed and underfunded, and the data management system is somewhat chaotic.

The use of blockchain in healthcare would mean sharing test results and the patient’s medical history to the concerned doctors in real-time, thereby reducing the time to process the information whilst speeding up the treatment process.

As the use of wearable devices increases, the Internet of Things (IoT) has a bigger role to play in the future. Helen Disney, the co-founder and CEO of the Ready for Winter campaign, predicts that IoT might be able to predict and avert a health problem even before it occurs.

“Other blockchain-based services may help keep patients out of hospital in the first place by allowing them to upload their personal health data from wearable devices so that, for example, a diabetic patient could keep in touch with their doctor to monitor blood sugar levels and modify lifestyles accordingly.”
– Helen Disney, Co-Founder and CEO of Ready for Winter campaign

Tech and health stalwarts like Google and Sanofi are already working to make the above idea a reality.

“The company will leverage Verily’s experience in miniaturised electronics, analytics, and consumer software development, with Sanofi’s clinical expertise and experience in bringing innovative treatments to people living with diabetes,” the two companies said in a joint statement.

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"A challenge for healthcare stakeholders is to determine where to apply the technology. Rather than adopting blockchain and searching for an application, life sciences and healthcare organizations should identify a challenge first, and then think about how it might be solved in a transformative way."
Greg Reh, Vice Chairman, U.S. and Global Life Sciences Leader, Deloitte Consulting LLP

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