Unless you have been staying inside the cave, I am sure you’d have at least once heard of Bitcoins and Blockchain. After all, they are the buzzword of the year. If you have ever tried to get into the depth of this technical jargon called blockchain, then you would have probably given up at the sheer opaqueness of it that is often used to frame the term.
So, before we get into what Blockchain is and how this technology might change the life science and healthcare industry and the rest of the world, let’s understand what blockchain actually is.
A blockchain is a digital archive of records that are arranged in chunks of data called blocks. These blocks are interlinked with one other in a sequence of the date created. They are later linked to each other through a cryptographic validation known as a hashing function. Thus, these blocks form an unbroken chain; a blockchain.
It is estimated that Within Life Sciences alone Blockchain could contribute to a 3billion dollar opportunity by 2025.
The primary reason why this type of data arrangement is used for things like cryptocurrencies is its feature of decentralization, meaning the accounts stored inside this chain aren’t filed in just one single location. They are accessible by everyone and are immutable by any one party.
Life science companies are getting more and more interested in investing in digital ledgers technology (DLT) like the blockchain. DLTs can give immediate, verifiable accountability to the research and development process. It also helps record accurate shipment data. Some valuable applications of Blockchain in life science and healthcare sectors are:
Medical records could be administered on a decentralized blockchain rather than having them in a central database. This will help in reducing the risk of illegal access as the blockchain would contain protocols that will govern how patient medical histories could be accessed and by who.
Medical records could also give patients full access to their medical data in the past. Patients are allowed to choose what treatment they should receive in different situations or request any family member to get authorized for making medical decisions in the event of an emergency.
The blockchain, copulated with other technological advancements including data analytics, will enable pharmaceutical companies to accumulate safely even more detailed medical information about their subjects and patients in real-time.
The trust of the supply chain is of supreme importance to any pharmaceutical business. The blockchain technology can be used to assign each batch of drugs a unique electronic serial number, that can be used to track the item as it moves through a series of transactions and various stages of the supply chain. This is especially beneficial in developing countries where over 30% of drugs are counterfeits. It may also promote timely product recalls if any defects are subsequently discovered.
New platforms are being developed to provide medical innovators with a tamper-proof way of filing encrypted data, enabling companies to verify the date on which they created an intellectual property, such as patents and copyrighted materials.
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