Healthcare information mainly consists of sensitive data. Lots of legal regulations need to be considered. Combined with the already complex healthcare ecosystem the need for high data security along digitalized processes increases. Securely managing the exchange of confidential and sensitive data between lots of stakeholders therefore becomes a key challenge.
Building up trust into the whole supply chain, from raw material until dispense, is a big challenge. Information is often siloed, seen as a competitive advantage and therefore kept secret. However, providing information about products, origins, stocks, etc. that can be trusted is required more than ever. On the one hand, to build up consumer relationships and on the other hand to comply with strict healthcare regulations.
Information transparency is basis to build up trust. The current concept of using third party information broker lacks in transparency, as stakeholders have no insights into the information processing and origin. To achieve transparency for consumers and between partners in the healthcare ecosystem new information management concepts need to be established.
Blockchain is the revolutionary concept and technology to assure security, trust and transparency for information, which is exchanged across the healthcare ecosystem.
The term „Blockchain“, originally associated with digital currencies, experiences a redefinition and conceptualization for a broader range of industries being one of the most promising technologies for information management in 2017.
Through its characteristics, Blockchain has the ability to transform current information exchange structures by establishing a distributed self-governed network that provides trust, transparency and security, satisfying current and future requirements of information network stakeholders.
Information stored in blocks in a validated chain
Blockchain consists of a distributed database that allows the recording of transactions between two parties in a validated and permanent way. Exchanged information records are stored in virtual blocks. By linking these blocks in a validated sequence, a so-called Blockchain is created. Once recorded into the Blockchain data cannot be modified anymore avoiding any kind of manipulation.
Direct information exchange in a distributed network
Within Blockchain networks participants can share information directly. Ownership of information is assured. By validating information and ensuring integrity through the network a central network authority to trustfully share information is no longer needed.
A secure network of trust
As the blocks are connected and the complete chain is shared within the network, transactions are secure from being manipulated. Additionally using encryption, Blockchain technology provides a multi-layer security to assure information security and validity. This creates a tamper-proof history of transactions within the chain, enabling transparency and trust in the shared information.
Distributed network authority
- No central authority required
- Network consensus used for validation
- Data ownership stays with the provider of the data
- Security provided via cryptography
- Transparency through history of transactions
- Tamper-proof through distributed network design
- Connection of data silos
- Direct data transfer between network participants
- Simple process integration of external partners
- Easy network participation
- Advanced interoperability between partners
- Reduced risk of data loss through shared ledger
The Healthcare Ecosystem
The healthcare ecosystem is characterized by a complex structure where different stakeholders participate and take part, all interacting with each other and exchanging different kinds of information. In this context Blockchain can create and integrate a continuum of interoperability between the different parties involved, enabling a multi-directional, safe and trustable way of sharing data.
Pharma manufacturers are prominent players in the healthcare ecosystem. As medical producers are connectors between demand and supply of drugs, many of the different information flows go through the pharma manufacturer. Research institutes collaborate with manufacturers in the development of new drugs and improving existing ones. Researchers need information provided by manufacturers, especially regarding market trends in order to adapt drugs to patients’ needs. Suppliers provide pharma manufacturers with raw materials and APIs. The information flow between these two parties consists e.g. of inventories and demands. Wholesalers act as intermediaries between different manufacturers and pharmacies.
Another key player are government agencies. Being responsible for regulations and compliance, they ensure the quality and security of medicines and award drug approvals. These agencies need to inform all the other stakeholders on the decisions taken regarding regulations. By auditing healthcare industry practices and insuring compliance government agencies are highly embedded into the information flows of the healthcare ecosystem. As regulations are designed to ensure patients safety and health, also a close connection to patients in regards of requirements is needed to assure that regulations are applicable and solving the patients’ needs.
Hospitals and doctors are the first touchpoint for patients with the healthcare ecosystem by diagnosing diseases and prescribing drugs to patients. They have an important data exchange with the pharmacies and the patient at the same time regarding drug prescription and allowance to buy medicines. The pharmacy has a close relationship to the end-customer and therefore knows the patient’s needs. For this reason the pharmacy plays a crucial role in the information flow all the way through the ecosystem for the other stakeholders to understand the patient’s preferences. Health insurance companies act as intermediaries between patients and their direct healthcare providers covering the costs of the medicines and treatments that they receive.
CAMELOT HYPERTRUST NETWORK
The Camelot Hypertrust Network offers companies several advantages in terms of data privacy, usability and extendebility, in addition to the existing Blockchain capabilities like security and immutability.
Selected Blockchain Use Cases in Healthcare
Based on the interaction of stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem many use cases for Blockchain can be identified which solve information management challenges. In three selected examples, CAMELOT outlines the relevance of Blockchain for healthcare and how solutions could look like.
Eliminate counterfeit drugs through supply chain traceability
The healthcare industry is facing the serious issue oft sold counterfeit drugs, enabled through missing transparency of supply chains. As a result the origin and composition of sold products cannot be securely identified. Those counterfeits have direct impact on patients’ health and cause serious trust issues between consumers and the healthcare industry.
How Blockchain technology could solve this:
- The Blockchain is structured along the participants of the supply chain
- Every transaction of all participants is stored in the specific supply chain step from raw material until the dispense of the drug
- Sensitive information is stored securely, exclusively visible for the information provider
- Only information relevant for traceability purposes is exchanged and published
- Consumers retrieve information by scanning the barcode and accessing the public Blockchain information
Through the usage of a Blockchain, full supply chain traceability is achieved. By enabling consumers to simply accessing information regarding the origin or validity of their bought products, trust and security are built up for consumers. Extending this scenario, supply chain traceability could be the basis for a broader range of applications. For instance it could help to comply with upcoming regulations as the Drug Supply Chain Security Act.
Camelot Hypertrust Network
A trusted scanning mobile app deployed on SAP cloud platform delivers tracking data to be stored on the Blockchain. Customers and resellers can check the authenticity of the product via mobile app.
Validated clinical trial management through patient integration
The healthcare industry is highly dependent on its connection with Research and Development Centers for clinical trial management. This is highly dependent on patient data collection and the participation of several third party approvals. The current structure for information gathering and exchange causes trust issues in the validity of data and is error prone regarding the security of sensitive information.
How Blockchain could solve this:
- Pharmaceutical manufacturers, research facilities and patients are connected via the Blockchain
- Patients independently provide their health data via Electronic Medical Records (EMR) to research facilities verifying the authenticity
- Decentralized research facilities are fully connected to securely exchange information
- Pharmaceutical manufacturers receive validated clinical trial information directly usable for drug approval and audit purposes
A distributed network based on Blockchain facilitates patient data collection and enables simple participation of third parties. By connecting decentralized research facilities within the Blockchain, an entirely trustworthy environment for secure data exchange is created, eliminating privacy issues due to sensitive data. Through validating results via a tamper-proof transaction history, a Blockchain would additionally strongly enhance compliance to legal requirements during clinical trial management and successful drug approvals.
Enable patients to own and manage their health data
Currently patients have no control over their medical data. Instead they are completely managed by healthcare institutions using them for their own profit. Additionally patients mostly have no direct access to their health records and the only way to access them is through doctors and other healthcare providers. This creates mistrust between patients and healthcare institutions.
How Blockchain could solve this:
- Healthcare providers and patients are connected via the Blockchain
- Patients have a centralized digital health record within the Blockchain governed by them
- New health data created by healthcare providers is stored securely in the patients digital health record accessible via the Blockchain
- Via smart contracts patients allow healthcare providers the access to their health data sharing them in case of diagnosis and treatments
By implementing a secure Blockchain-based network between patients and healthcare providers, patients regain the ownership of their personal health data. They can directly access, monitor and share their data based on their needs. Additionally, it would fully digitalize all healthcare processes allowing knowledge sharing and better treatments for customers. Simultaneously, sensitive patient health data is securely stored, preventing unauthorized access and usage.
Camelot Hypertrust Network
Connecting the blockchain to a state of the art frontend delivering, Camelot Hypertrust network leverages the latest frontend technologies to deliver a highly usable end-to-end health data exchange scenario to the user.
HOW CAMELOT HELPS
CAMELOT as thought leader for Pharma Value Chain Consulting has deep knowledge of the healthcare industry. Combined with our Blockchain expertise we support the identification and conceptualization of use cases for Blockchain in healthcare.
CAMELOT has technical Blockchain experience through the development of its Camelot Hypertrust Network. With our leading experience in technical information management, we support the technical realization of Blockchain network concepts.
CAMELOT maintains close collaborations with leading research institutions. We participate in scientific studies regarding Blockchain, providing the healthcare industry with latest thinking into Blockchain technology.