What blockchain products are operating within the healthcare sector?
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. First, a highlight of emerging startups:
Developed by graduates from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Ariel Ekblaw, Asaf Azaria and Thiago Vieira and Senior Research Scientist Andrew Lippman, 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 HIPAA compliant blockchain-based solutions for organisations. 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.
Dentacoin is a revolutionary blockchain-based platform that is built primarily for the dental industry. It is headquartered in Netherlands and has made several positive strides since its establishment in February 2017. The project runs under Dentacoin Foundation and has so far developed DentaCare Mobile App, DentaVox Research and Dentacoin Trusted Reviews whose role is to connect all market participants through valuable feedback and rewards.
- Novartis invests $100mn to research and develop next-generation antimalarials
- Addressing complex healthcare challenges within the Middle East
- A Sound Investment
Although it’s been around for a far shorter period than other products, Dentacoin has already been implemented for payment across 21 dental clinics around the world. From the USA to the UK, Italy, Serbia, Hungary among 13 countries in total.
An ambitious product by Dentacoin, known as Dentacoin Assurance is under development. It aims at shifting the focus from treatment to prevention. Once it is rolled out, Dentacoin Assurance will help patients cover the costs for dental treatments through low monthly fees paid in the same-named cryptocurrency.
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, it is clear that blockchain will be instrumental in providing solutions to major healthcare processes such as data collection, storage and sharing.
The currency Dentacoin (DCN) is already listed on international exchange platforms and accepted as a means of payment at more than 20 clinics in 13 countries, as well as by dental labs and suppliers.
Ireland is key launchpad for US expansion into Europe
The first transatlantic cable was laid between Newfoundland and Valentia Island in County Kerry, Ireland, in 1858. It was a flawed effort; the connection was poor, causing enough issues with efforts to send telegrams along it that major repair efforts were set underway immediately - efforts which ended up further damaging the cable line, severing the connection just three weeks later.
This first step towards transatlantic subsea communication, shaky as it was, laid the foundations of more than a century and a half of information exchange across the ocean, between the East Coast of North America and Western Ireland.
It’s been 163 years since the completion of the first transatlantic cable, an event which cemented Ireland’s position as the landing stage for subsea connections between Europe and the Americas. That position has, in no small way, been a driving force behind the country’s modern role as a landing stage for US and Canadian firms looking to do business in Europe.
Today, some of the largest firms in the world, like Pfizer, Janssen, Zurich, Metlife, Google and VmWare use Ireland for their European Headquarters. The combination of an English-speaking workforce (a boon made all the more important as Brexit makes the UK and the north of Ireland an increasingly complex environment that provides diminishing opportunities to access the rest of Europe), a cultural and regulatory landscape that welcomes foreign investment, and world-class connectivity makes the country an unparalleled choice for firms looking to establish a foothold in the EU.
As a result, Ireland has become one of the world’s leading data centre hubs.
Based on leading data centre firm Interxion’s Data Gravity Index, Dublin will be among the top five European cities that will contribute to Europe’s growth in data in the coming years, following London, Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam. The amount of data generated in Dublin itself is expected to grow alongside its economic expansion, with the Data Gravity Index also predicting that Dublin will outpace cities and data centre hubs like Mexico City, São Paulo, and even Shanghai, to be among the top 20 cities to experience annual data growth by 2024.
Ireland ranks 6th in the 2020 EU Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), meaning that it is among the leading ranks of EU Member States in terms of the uptake and use of digital technologies. Likewise, the trend to locate data centres in Ireland serving overseas clients will continue to generate increasing amounts of international traffic
Managing the Dublin Data Boom
According to Interxion, subsea connectivity will continue to play a massive role in helping both international and domestic organisations digitally transform themselves to meet the challenges of changing markets post pandemic.
As the pace of global digital transformation - and the subsequent need for more connectivity - accelerates like never before, this rapidly developing world is driving urther demand for these cables as individuals and organisations become increasingly reliant on subsea cable’s exceptional data speed and capacity.
According to experts at Interxion, this connectivity will be pivotal to Ireland’s continued success in attracting international companies in the technology, pharmaceutical and financial sectors.
The subsea cable industry is a key contributor to the Irish economy across many sectors. The draft National Marine Planning Framework reported that subsea international networks make Ireland an attractive region for investment for the technology and digital sectors. Telegeography states that there are twelve existing subsea cables connecting Ireland to the US and UK, and a further four systems are under development. The Iish government’s statement on the Role of Data Centres in Ireland’s Enterprise Strategy identified Ireland as a location of choice for many different sectors reliant on digital and telecommunications capabilities, all of which in turn rely on subsea cable interconnectivity.
Subsea cables are of strategic importance to Ireland’s future as a catalyst for economic and societal prosperity. Ireland can be the ideal location for your company’s expansion plans. To find out how, you can hear from leading experts throughout the data centre and digital infrastructure industries on June 15, 2021, as speakers from the IDA, Aqua Comms, GTT Communications, euNetworks and Interxion discuss subsea cabling, digital transformation, Data Gravity and the fate of Ireland’s digital economy.
Key topics will include:
- Key facts about existing subsea infrastructure,
- Future plans,
- Challenges (including Marine Maintenance) and opportunities,
- Terrestrial networks (demand vs supply);
- Ireland's role as a gateway to Europe
The virtual panel (which is taking place between 10:30 PM - 11:30 PM JST on June 15, 2021) will conclude with a 20 minute Q&A. Mike Hollands, Senior Director of Market Development at Interxion, will moderate the event.