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Report: Global Blockchain in Healthcare to Reach $1.7 billion by 2026

Consulting services firm Acumen Research and Consulting has forecast that the global blockchain in healthcare market will reach over $1.7 billion by 2026.

The volume of blockchain in healthcare market worldwide is forecast to reach more than $1.7 billion by 2026.

In a press release published on July 16, consulting services to information technologies firm Acumen Research and Consulting (ARC) has projected that the global blockchain in healthcare market on the global scale will reach over $1.7 billion by 2026, with a compound annual growth rate of 48.1%.

Based on geography, America purportedly dominates with the largest share in the global blockchain in healthcare market, wherein the United States is a mature market that hosts the greater adoption of smart technology in manufacturing and healthcare.

Europe is ranked second after the U.S. by virtue of strong government support and large healthcare spending. Among the major drivers of blockchain growth in the European healthcare market, ARC points out increasing expenditure on technology and the presence of multinational companies. “However, lack of security is the major factor restraining the growth of the blockchain in healthcare market in Europe,” the release further notes.

ARC names Asia Pacific as the region with the fastest growth rate in terms of blockchain deployment in healthcare thanks to the fastest growing economy and associated opportunities. In the region, Japan ostensibly has a mature market, large population, and highly skilled labor, setting it up to become an important blockchain in healthcare market.

As reported earlier in July, research and consulting firm Allied Market Research forecast that the global blockchain supply chain market will reach over $9 billion by 2025. Among key driving factors, AMR named the sector’s demand for transparency. Improved security of supply chain transactions blockchain could purportedly ensure.

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Blockchain Startup Solve.Care Partners with Uber to Transport Patients

Blockchain healthcare startup Solve.Care has partnered with Uber Health to transport patients.

Blockchain healthcare startup Solve.Care has partnered with Uber Health to transport patients, Solve.Care announced in a press release shared with Cointelegraph on July 9.

Per the release, Uber Health’s transportation services will be integrated into Solve.Care’s personal healthcare coordination and administration app Care.Wallet. Within the app, patients will reportedly be able to schedule an Uber Health ride, which claims to be compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.

Furthermore, patients will also be able to pay for the service with their Care.Wallet and share the costs with family members, employers, insurers, or other relevant people. Uber Health head Dan Trigub is quoted in the press release commenting on the development:

“Every year, an estimated 3.6 million Americans miss their medical appointments due to a lack of reliable transportation, with the cost of missed primary care appointments estimated at US$150 billion annually. At Uber Health, we are always looking for ways to ensure that transportation is not a barrier to care.”

At the end of June, Cointelegraph released an in-depth piece on blockchain’s potential impact on healthcare.

Also in June, market research firm International Data Corporation released a survey revealing that only a limited number of healthcare firms in Europe are aware of the benefits of blockchain applications.

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Binance Charity Announces Alliance to Support Feminine Health

The Binance Charity Foundation has announced an alliance of 47 organizations to make a token geared toward feminine health.

The Binance Charity Foundation (BCF) has announced a new initiative for improving feminine health.

BCF, which is the philanthropic arm of cryptocurrency exchange Binance, announced an alliance of 47 organizations to make a token geared towards women’s health in a blog post on July 3.

46 organizations, including industry players such as Ripple, smart contract security firm Quantstamp, and digital assets venture company Blockseed Ventures, have joined BCF to promote the “Pink Care Token” (PCAT) geared to help improving feminine health in developing countries.

PCAT is a redemption-only token issued on the Binance Chain and pegged to one year’s supply of sanitary pads instead of fiat currency, the post explains. The first delivery of PCAT and sanitary pads will take place in mid-July in Uganda. 

Binance claims that a blockchain-based means of distributing charity will address inefficiencies and transparency issues that are purportedly present in traditional means of charitable giving. 

Commenting on the initiative, Justin Sun, Founder of Tron, said that “there are many ways that cryptocurrency will make the world a better place. Being able to help those in need using cryptocurrency could accentuate the importance of it.” Changpeng Zhao (CZ), CEO and co-founder of Binance, said:

“Pink Care Token is the first social-impact stablecoin issued on Binance Chain. A part of our mission is to promote the adoption of cryptocurrencies, and I think charity is one of the most effective ways to demonstrate their value and make them available to the people in need.”

The PCAT initiative also bolsters BCF’s previously launched “Binance for Children” program in Uganda which is aimed at local education improvements. The initiative will provide a number of new supplies to the country’s schools such as solar panels, sanitary pads, school supplies, LED screens, as well as breakfast and lunch for students.

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How Blockchain Improves Daily Health Care Routine, Explained

Why do insiders believe that health care is the ultimate use case for blockchain? Learn more about decentralized medical solutions.

Contracts are good but can blockchain actually save lives?

Maybe. Blockchain is already involved in tests for diagnosing medical conditions. Moreover, it is improving our daily health care routine.

Many solutions that could possibly contribute to saving lives in the nearest future combine blockchain and other technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI). For instance, combining blockchain and AI might help build a distributed network of artificial neural networks that will potentially diagnose medical conditions with greater success than human practitioners. 

Such experiments have already been funded by the government of Austria, where a local startup is building a cancer-screening tool. It harnesses an AI that has a 90% accuracy rate of detection for cervical cancer, while human pathologists achieve only 60-70% accuracy.

Finally, while we are waiting for a historic breakthrough in health care, blockchain has already made the industry more user friendly and accessible. 

Solve.Care, the same company previously mentioned, says it will connect health care and transportation. It has launched a service that is set to improve general access to medical care. Its partnership with the ridesharing app Lyft will allow Solve.Care users to schedule Lyft rides to doctors’ clinics, hospitals and pharmacies, with automated payments using its native utility token SOLVE via a built-in digital wallet.

Learn more about Solve.Care

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

And what about major companies? Are they interested in blockchain?

Tech giants and global institutions are now dipping their toes into blockchain. Some are preparing to launch decentralized health care solutions. 

In early 2019, the U.S.-based health insurance giant Aetna partnered with IBM to create a blockchain network tailored to the health care industry. The solution is set to streamline the processing and payments of insurance claims, as well as the managing of directories.

Meanwhile, a major health information technology provider for the U.S. government, HMS Technologies Inc., has partnered with health care blockchain company Solve.Care. The company will reportedly integrate Solve.Care’s blockchain platform into its federal health information technology (HIT) initiatives in a bid to reduce government health care costs and to improve interoperability and accessibility. According to the CEO of HMS, the partnership aims to improve care coordination, enhance digital health care profiles and streamline access to virtual health care services.

Another important health care contract was signed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The U.N. department assigned blockchain-based telemedicine and telepsychology firm to expand free, basic health care services across eastern Africa.

Okay, I’m somewhat convinced. Are there many use cases already?

Actually, there are plenty of them. Health care institutions are already testing decentralized data storages, tracing the origin of drugs and managing donations via blockchain. 

The first possible use case is to make medical databases more accurate and secure by using decentralized technology. For instance, in late 2018, major U.S. health care companies formed an alliance to trial blockchain solutions in order to improve data quality and reduce costs. Similar trials are ongoing at the Taipei Medical University Hospital in Taiwan and major South Korean hospital Myongji.

At the same time, Portland State University researchers are developing a blockchain protocol to prevent counterfeit pharmaceuticals from filling the market. The proposed solution represents a blockchain-based chain of information, with only users possessing a specific key to access or modify the stored data.

Some use blockchain for health care-related charity. For instance, this year, the ALS Association has partnered with the Tron Foundation to launch a blockchain-enabled charity campaign to build awareness around amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Tron will provide the blockchain technology to track donation distribution during the campaign.

To sum up, even by the most modest estimations, the adoption of the blockchain technology could save the health care industry up to $100-$150 billion per year by 2025.

Why would I allow my data to be stored on a blockchain? Is it safer than traditional systems?

Health care-related frauds and security breaches are very common. Blockchain is much more difficult to break into.  

Health care was exposed to more cybersecurity breaches than any other industry in 2018, accounting for 25% of 750 reported hacks. The numbers were particularly high in the U.S., where health firms suffered a record 365 data breaches in 2018 in comparison with 2017’s high of 358. During the hacks patients frequently lose their social security numbers, names and addresses. Sometimes, the information is more sensitive, such as health insurance information and medical histories.

According to some rough estimates, the health care industry loses around $6 billion a year as a result of security breaches. The biggest health care breach took place in January 2015. Back then, the hackers stole 78.8 million patient records from the U.S. health insurance company Anthem — including names, social security numbers, home addresses and dates of birth.

Unlike traditional databases, blockchain is considered to be secure and immutable. As explained earlier, a block that has been altered needs to be approved by a widely distributed grid of nodes. Whenever the users’ actions or the changes made look suspicious, the amendments are cancelled. Indeed, there is a relatively small theoretical possibility of a large-scale capture of any existing blockchain network, which is called “51% attack.” To achieve this, a group of users has to gain control of the majority of the network’s nodes — therefore making it “centralized.”

As Cointelegraph has written, 51% attacks have already happened several times, with hackers mostly attacking altcoin chains to steal cryptocurrencies. Despite the fact that fraudsters have only stolen tokens so far, some states are already developing regulations for those who would risk trying to alter sensitive data on a blockchain. For instance, last year, the state of Michigan introduced a bill imposing criminal penalties for manipulating data on blockchains in order to commit fraud.

There’s been a lot of hype over using blockchain in health care. Why is that?

The data stored on a blockchain is transparent and immutable, which is extremely important for the health industry. Some insiders even call it the “ultimate use case” for the technology. 

In fact, there are several reasons behind this hype. As Cointelegraph previously explained, one of the core characteristics of blockchain is its decentralization. Each move is publicly recorded, time-stamped and nearly impossible to edit. The blocks that contain data are protected by advanced cryptography. If the information on the block has somehow been altered, the users of the network (nodes) have to agree on the changes. This technology could be tremendously effective for many public systems — health care, in particular — and here’s why. 

Foremost, the health care industry has to deal with a lot of paperwork, and it processes enormous amounts of data on a daily basis. Blockchain technology allows for significantly reducing the time spent on this routine. It provides a sophisticated tool for managing all sorts of databases — including those concerning patients — as all the information is safely stored in blocks and only an authorized person can have access to it. This means the doctor who deals with the patient can proceed with the data directly, without communicating with other staff or even other health care institutions. In case of an emergency surgery, even a minute saved this way could count. 

Some indeed believe that blockchain could contribute to establishing a shared database of patient data, which, in turn, would connect different hospitals and private practices using drastically different systems. For instance, just in the American city of Boston, there are 26 electronic medical records systems that are not compatible with each other. And the situation is even more desperate at a larger scale. Imagine a woman who faces a premature delivery and is currently a thousand miles away from the state she planned to give birth in and all the therapists who have been familiar with her case. In a situation like this, it would be crucial to have a single, comprehensive database that could be easily accessed by different hospitals within the country. 

Another major problem in health care is the abundance of middlemen who were intended to facilitate the interactions with medical institutions. For instance, the current state of the health care system in the U.S. looks like an incredibly complicated alien microcircuit.

Blockchain offers a major solution for this problem: smart contracts that allow us to interact directly with the person we need. These contracts could be used in telemedicine — a growing field of medicine that allows doctors to reach their patients via smartphones, wearable gadgets and other devices. While this type of interaction is very handy in the modern world, it is still vulnerable to hackers. Smart contracts would help collect the client’s data securely and transparently.

And last but not least, blockchain could really help the health care industry to eliminate counterfeit drugs. One of the areas that uses decentralized technologies the most is supply chains. Some commercial giants are already using blockchain to track the origins of a particular product they sell, and pharmaceutical manufacturers could do the same. According to the World Health Organization, approximately one in 10 medical products circulating in low- and middle-income countries are substandard or even fake. If the whole industry traced the medications via a secure blockchain system that prevents data from being changed, the percentage of fake drugs on the market would significantly decrease.

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IOTA to Enter a New Partnership to Track Potentially Fatal Food Allergens With DLT

IOTA has partnered with digital food safety firm Primority to develop a tool to minimize the threat of potentially fatal food allergens.

Non-profit blockchain organization IOTA Foundation has teamed up with digital food safety management firm Primority to track food allergens via blockchain, IOTA tweeted on June 20.

The new partnership aims to reduce risks associated with potentially fatal food allergens, targeting 220 million people with food allergy worldwide, as IOTA noted in the tweet.

The collaboration includes the development of a prototype of an application that would enable consumers to check food products for allergens, particularly those that go under usual radars for a number of reasons, including cases when products share production lines with allergen-containing products, according to a blog post by IOTA.

Specifically, the application will be based on IOTA’s immutable distributed ledger protocol Tangle, and integrated with Primority’s 3iVerify platform, which will enable the information collected from manufacturers to be automatically shared on IOTA’s Tangle.

As such, the application will reportedly allow consumers to access a number of details about food products by scanning a barcode on the app. The shared information would include tracking of raw materials used and their suppliers, as well as a review of food production processes. As IOTA stressed in the announcement, consumers will be able to access the data “without sharing any personal, sensitive information, and without owning any cryptocurrency.”

Recently, Cointelegraph reported on collaboration between American seafood trade association National Fisheries Institute (NFI) and IBM’s blockchain-based supply chain solution Food Trust to trace seafood species.

In April, research firm Gartner predicted that as much as 20% of the top 10 global grocery suppliers will run using blockchain technology by 2025.

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Canadian University Offers Graduate Training in Blockchain Tech

The University of British Columbia offers a so-called training path in blockchain and DLT tech, focusing on public benefit blockchain solutions.

Canadian-based University of British Columbia (UBC) has announced a blockchain and distributed ledger technology training program for master’s and PhD students. UBC announced the development in a press release on June 11.

The training path is reportedly designed to build competency around blockchain tech, and is focused on its application in four public benefit areas: health and wellness, clean energy, regulatory technology and Indigenous issues.

UBC says they hope to train 139 students over a six-year period, and graduates should have the tools to evaluate blockchain solutions as well as identify opportunities for blockchain implementation.

Canadian national non-profit research organization Mitacs and 15 industry partners will provide CA$2.44 million for 156 internships and post-doctoral training projects.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, students at UBC’s Vancouver campus founded a bitcoin (BTC) club in 2014. At press time, the club’s website stated that its goal was “ … to provide an environment where bitcoin-related ideas, projects, programs, events, and businesses can be studied and grown.”

The club reportedly focused on education and engagement, bitcoin payment options for on-campus merchants, obtaining mentorship from industry professionals, and providing incubation for bitcoin businesses on campus.

At the end of May, Dublin City University partnered with tech company network Technology Ireland ICT Skillnet to launch a master’s program in blockchain technology, purportedly the first of its kind in Ireland.

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44% of European Healthcare Organizations Have Never Heard of Blockchain: IDC Survey

Out of the survey’s 290 respondents, only 12% of healthcare firms in Europe are related to blockchain tech in some sense.

Only a limited number of healthcare firms in Europe are aware of the benefits of blockchain applications, according to a survey by American market research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) released on June 6.

As much as 44% of European healthcare organizations had never heard of distributed ledger technology (DLT), while only 12% of those are related to the tech in some sense, blockchain media outlet Ledger Insights reports, citing the IDC’ research titled “IDC Survey Spotlight.”

Only 1% out of those 12% have a certain blockchain initiative in production, while 1% have multiple DLT projects, the report notes.

Blockchain Adoption by European Healthcare Organizations: IDC Survey

Source: Ledger Insights

The research is based on a survey of 290 healthcare firms in Europe, and contains data from IDC’s European Vertical Market Survey in 2018 and 2019, IDC writes.

Based on the research, there are three major use cases for blockchain technology in the European healthcare industry, including transaction agreements, identity management and shared records management. The identity use case reportedly had the biggest number of production projects at 2%, with a further 6% planning adoption within the next 12 months.

Yesterday, the research firm Data Foundation and IT firm Booz Allen Hamilton released a report examining the feasibility of blockchain implementation by various industries in order to assist the United States federal government in what fields the tech should be used. The report mentioned a number of blockchain-powered projects by various agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services.

Last week, Germany-based pharmaceutical firm Boehringer Ingelheim announced partnership with blockchain-based healthcare platform Solve.Care to create a blockchain network for the trusted sharing of data among patients with diabetes.

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Blockchain Genomics Firm, Global Pharma Giant Merck Sign Anonymized Data Sharing Agreement

Nebula Genomics has announced a collaboration with EMD Serono, the North American biopharmaceutical business of Merck KGaA.

Blockchain firm Nebula Genomics has announced a collaboration with EMD Serono, the North American biopharmaceutical business of Merck KGaA — the world’s oldest operating pharmaceutical firm. The news was announced in a press release shared with Cointelegraph on June 11.

As previously reported, Nebula is a blockchain-powered platform for genome-sequencing data, co-founded in 2017 by renowned geneticist Professor George Church and his Harvard colleagues Dennis Grishin and Kamal Obbad.

The platform leverages blockchain technology in a bid to incentivize genomic data generation and sharing, and to lower the costs of genome-sequencing while preserving privacy and individuals’ control over their unique and sensitive data.

In its collaboration with EDM Serono, Nebula will provide the firm with access to its network of anonymized genomic data in order to support the research and development of new medicines.

In an accompanying blog post shared with Cointelegraph, Nebula outlined that its agreement with EDM Serono represents its first attempt to realize a model of sponsored genome sequencing.

The blog post also includes a link to a survey for lung cancer patients, who are invited to register for free high-coverage germline and tumor whole-genome sequencing that can help them to make better treatment choices, as well as contribute toward research in oncology.

The press release notes that the creation and analysis of large genomic datasets holds a transformative potential for healthcare and biomedical research, but that slow data generation, data fragmentation and inefficient consent management all currently pose obstacles to realizing this potential.

As reported last week, major pharmaceutical firm Boehringer Ingelheim has recently partnered with blockchain healthcare platform Solve.Care to build a blockchain- and digital asset-powered network for the trusted sharing of data about patients with diabetes.

In January of this year, Merck was awarded a patent in the United States earlier this year for a system that uses a combination of artificial intelligence and blockchain tech to establish the authenticity of unique physical objects.

A Cointelegraph in-depth report last fall covered Nebula Genomics and other projects that are working on blockchain solutions that aim to innovate the ownership and circulation models for highly sensitive and scientifically valuable genomic data.

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New Report Reviews Blockchain Applications by US Federal Government

The Data Foundation and Booz Allen Hamilton published a report with five questions to guide U.S. federal officials on implementing blockchain initiatives.

The research organization Data Foundation and IT firm Booz Allen Hamilton have published a report with five proposed questions to guide the United States federal government on where and how to implement blockchain initiatives.

Their research was published in the report “Bringing Blockchain Into Government: A Path Forward for Creating Effective Federal Blockchain Initiatives” on June 10.

According to the report, blockchain solutions make the most sense when applied to some sort of procedure with a predetermined level of consistency and a low level of agility, assuming that the immutable ledger provided by blockchain is valuable for the task in the first place.

The report lists five questions they came up with for how a federal organization can decide whether a blockchain solution makes sense:

“1. Does the blockchain offer a real benefit for information security, trust, or transparency? … 2. Can blockchain be practically and efficiently applied? … 3. What blockchain design is most appropriate? … 4. Is the cost of applying blockchain merited relative to information gains? … 5. Does the application satisfy applicable data sharing and confidentiality laws?”

In coming up with these criteria, the organizations looked at seven instances of blockchain initiatives at the federal level that they deemed successful.

The report noted several blockchain-based initiatives across various agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Treasury and the Department of Defense, among others.

The report notes that the programs are in varying stages of success and development. The researchers conclude that, “Whether blockchain will ultimately prove a success in government is yet to be seen. But for now, applying blockchain for government programs and operations should be a welcome development when possible.”

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, the FDA launched a pilot program using blockchain tech as a supply chain tracker for pharmaceuticals in February. The Pilot Project Program Under the Drug Supply Chain Security Act is specifically focused on tracking drugs and preventing pharma counterfeiting.

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Global Pharma Giant Develops DLT-Based Care Network for Diabetes Patients

Major global pharmaceutical firm Boehringer plans to create a blockchain-powered care network for patients with diabetes.

А leading pharmaceutical firm Boehringer Ingelheim has teamed up with blockchain-based healthcare platform Solve.Care, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph on June 6.

Germany-based Boehringer, one of the world’s 20 largest pharma companies, and Solve.Care are planning to build a blockchain and digital asset-powered network for trusted sharing of data about patients with diabetes.

Based on Solve.Care’s blockchain platform, the new healthcare system is known as the Diabetes Care Administration Network. The network intends to provide assistance in coordinating care for patients, as well as to share information about the risks associated with diabetes, prevention and symptoms, among others.

The network will purportedly implement Solve.Care’s care coordination tool dubbed Care.Wallets in order to support patients with the disease.

The care network is expected to go live on or before year-end 2019, the press release notes, adding that the system will be initially rolled out for over 25,000 patients across major American accountable care firm, Arizona Care Network (ACN).

Recently, global retail giant Walmart was reported to join blockchain-enabled pharmaceutical consortium MediLedger, following four major Amercian firms in the industry, including Pfizer.

Previously, Cointelegraph reported that the Association of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) partnered with a major cryptocurrency project, the Tron Foundation, to launch a blockchain-enabled charity campaign to raise awareness about ALS and raise donations for research into treatment for the disease.