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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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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.

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Walmart Follows Pfizer in Joining Blockchain Pharmaceutical Project MediLedger: Report

Walmart is planning to pilot a blockchain project allowing to track pharma products using MediLedger tech U.S. FDA in early June.

Global retail giant Walmart is expanding its blockchain expertise by joining blockchain-powered pharmaceutical consortium MediLedger, industry media outlet CoinDesk reports on June 3.

Walmart is reportedly planning to roll out a pilot project to track pharmaceutical products using MediLedger technology with the United States Food and Drug Administration in early June.

By joining the consortium, Walmart has followed four major American pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer Inc., which joined MediLedger in early May, to collaborate on the development of a blockchain network for the health and pharmaceutical industry.

Pfizer, along with McKesson Corporation, AmerisourceBergen Corporation and Premier Inc. officially announced that they joined the MediLedger Project Contracting and Chargebacks working group on May 2.

The MediLedger project was initiated by San Francisco-based blockchain tech firm Chronicled to develop a system for trusted data sharing within pharmaceutical product supply chains. The blockchain-based project purportedly strives to automate processes like contract reconciliation, eliminating the associated costs.

Walmart, a $220 billion retail giant, is one of the early adopters of blockchain technology in the industry, having implemented the tech along with IBM in 2016 to identify and eliminate recalled foods from its product lists.

Since then, the U.S.-based retail company has conducted a number of blockchain-related initiatives, including patenting blockchain applications.

The global retail giant applied to the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office to acquire a patent of blockchain-powered product delivery system implementing autonomous electronic devices including drones and autonomous robots in 2018.

Recently, a senior executive at Pfizer argued that the major obstacle for global adoption of blockchain applications is not caused by technology issues such as blockchain’s much-discussed scalability problem. Instead, the main hurdle is that business competitors have to solve the issue of sharing infrastructure and governance, the executive stressed.

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World Economic Forum Forms Tech Policy Councils for Blockchain, AI, IoT

The World Economic Forum announced the formation of six different “fourth industrial revolution councils.”

The World Economic Forum (WEF) announced the formation of six separate “fourth industrial revolution councils” to work on new technology policy guidance, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph on May 29.

Per the release, the councils intend to help regulators regulate artificial intelligence, autonomous mobility, blockchain, drones, internet of things and precision medicine. The boards — allegedly composed by over 200 leaders from the public and private sectors, civil society and academia — will also gather regularly to address the absence of clearly defined rules.

The announcement notes that the councils met for the first time today at the Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network in San Francisco. The WEF promises that those organizations will enable cross-country policy exchange, address regulatory gaps, shape a common understanding of best policy practices and provide strategic guidance.

Among the co-chairs of the councils are reportedly leaders from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Dana-Farber, European Commission, technology giant Microsoft, mobile microchip manufacturer Qualcomm, Uber and the World Bank.

As Cointelegraph reported at the beginning of the current month, the WEF has teamed up with over 100 global supply chain and logistics leaders to standardize blockchain apps in the industry.

At the end of January, the WEF appointed the CEO and founder of BitPesa, Elizabeth Rossiello, to serve as one of two co-chairs of the Global Blockchain Council.

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Mount Sinai Hospital to Explore Blockchain Applications

The New York-based medical school founded by Mount Sinai Hospital has launched a new research center focused on blockchain applications in healthcare.

On Tuesday, The Icahn School of Medicine said the Center for Biomedical Blockchain Research would be created inside the school’s Institute for Next Generation Healthcare, which researches the application of artificial intelligence, robotics, genomic sequencing, sensors and wearable devices in medicine, New York-based news organization Crain’s reported.

The center’s staff will conduct academic research on blockchain in medicine, as well as create their own prototype networks. The possible use cases include drug development and preventing the sale of counterfeit drugs, clinical trials and a better research reproducibility, Healthcare IT News wrote.

The new center will be run by Joel Dudley, executive vice president of Precision Health at Mount Sinai and a former senior data scientist at Pivotal Software, which researches the use of artificial intelligence in biology. Dudley was previously involved in designing predictive models in healthcare.

His new focus will revolve around developing predictive health applications using the information from electronic health records, wearable devices and other digital sources.

The project began with bringing together a database of 144 companies that are working on blockchain projects related to healthcare. They include CoverUs, which works on allowing patients to get paid for their health data via a specialized exchange, and Embleema, which is designed to connect patient-generated health data and electronic medical records in a common secure repository.

The companies on the list have raised a combined $670 million through initial coin offerings, Crain’s wrote.

Medical school image via Shutterstock

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Company to Store Healthcare Data on Blockchain Platform for Simple and Secure Data Sharing

Data storage in healthcare industries is of critical importance. Security breaches in this sector will not only have an impact financially — in terms of health insurance — but could also compromise patient safety. The new platform Timicoin aims to enhance patient data safety through blockchain technology.

Describing themselves as the “Tokenized Healthcare Ecosystem,” Timicoin claims to offer a solution to the current fragmented and isolated nature of patient health data, which results in inefficient and ineffective use of the information. For example, medical institutions transferring information on patients is currently more complex than it should be, because of isolated facilities and user data. Timicoin propose that their blockchain solution will secure healthcare information within a Health Information Exchange (HIE).

The Timicoin white paper defines an HIE as “a reliable and interoperable electronic sharing of clinical data obtained by the patients, physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other health care [sic] providers across unaffiliated institutions which in turn creates a network effect.” The team claims that this will allow for the simple transfer of patient data, no matter where in the world they are being treated. This, in turn, would avoid wasting resources — for example, retesting patients when results have already been obtained elsewhere.

TimiHR is the name given to the “mobile health record” accessible via a mobile app, enhancing the portable nature of personal health data. The TimiHR ecosystem will be powered by the Timicoin Utility Token and also feature the HIPAA compliant TimiChat private messaging service to allow secure communications between patients, providers and other data users. TimiCloud is a secure storage platform also featured on the app, used for all blockchain backups and data index references. The separate TimiPaitent app will also allow patients to manage permissions for consumers requesting to access their data and maintain their health records, as well as control Timicoin payments and deposits.

The team outlines the four steps of how the system works. Firstly, daily activity data from wearable smart healthcare devices is provided with the patient’s permission. Clinical trial reports and test results can then be combined with this monitoring data and added to the TimiEMR hospital records. TimiHealth’s “Query Engine” can then mine patient records when a consumer requests access to the data, and once the contract and payment have been confirmed and processed, the private data records can be shared — via blockchain — directly between the provider and consumer. The team is keen to highlight that patient identity is never revealed unless explicit permission is granted by the patient, and access can only be granted to their data when confirmed by the patient via the TimiPatient app. Security is enhanced by the use of reputable systems such as DashPay for payments and Hyperledger for data sharing.

Timicoin claims there could be multiple benefits to this storage system. Firstly, in terms of authenticity, any tampering of network nodes in the blockchain can be easily detected by users, as the latest node hash will always be passively connected to the previous node hash. Secondly, patient information will be constantly available from anywhere in the world — in real time — from any updated node, once the patient grants permission. And finally, the Hyperledger system will enhance privacy by implementing a “permissioned blockchain network that will define user roles and access based on the type of user and the payment contracts.” This data will remain on the healthcare institution’s computer, unless shared on the Hyperledger channel after the contract has been initialized.

In terms of mining and rewards, newly generated Timicoins are allocated to miners who process the transaction. Transaction fees will also sometimes be given to patients for providing data and identity.

According to the company, this approach to healthcare data storage has been welcomed by some prominent medical professionals, with Jim Bonnette, M.D., outlining the positives that tokenization can bring to healthcare. Andre Laurent, the worldwide director of engineering for enterprise networking sales at Cisco, has also explained the multiple benefits of blockchain integration in the health professions.

Timicoin, with their advisory board based in the U.S. and technology teams in Puerto Rico, India and London, could be set to simplify and secure how healthcare data is stored, as well as enhancing how it can be best used to further the development of modern medicine.

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Survey: Most Medical Group Execs See Promising Role For Blockchain

A new survey of the health care industry has found that executives from hospitals, managed care organizations and other groups are moving to explore blockchain applications in their field.

Black Book Research queried 88 health care payers (or institutions that finance medical services) and 276 technology executives, managers and IT specialists from the field, according to the report, which was published on October 3.

Among the findings: 90 percent of managers and IT specialists from medical groups felt blockchain could help alleviate problems in the sector, including issues around recordkeeping, network connectivity and information privacy. The study also revealed that 76 percent of payers are either considering blockchain as a tech solution or are in the process of deploying systems that utilize it.

Still, the responses indicate that the industry isn’t moving all that quickly to embrace the technology.

For example, only a small percentage of payers – 14 percent, according to the data – “are involved in trial deployments in some form currently.”

Further, just 9 percent of providers that responded to the survey indicated that they expect their companies to pursue blockchain integrations by the second quarter of next year. By comparison, 70 percent of payers said their firms anticipate doing so by the first quarter of 2019.

The survey also suggests that the possible costs involved remain a barrier. Eighty-eight percent of providers said they would not commit to an integration deadline because of the “undetermined cost of blockchain solutions.”

Hospital image via Shutterstock

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