For years the healthcare industry has had to deal with continual data breaches, increasing hospital costs, and inefficient practices. These problems can prove extremely expensive and highlight a need for greater efficiency and innovation in the healthcare industry.
Is BlockChain the New Buzzword in Healthcare?
Healthcare is one area where blockchain technology can improve the situation. From handling mass-scale pandemics to storing and securing patient data. Blockchain can improve the entire healthcare experience because the tamper-resistant and decentralized nature of blockchain technology enables it to address various issues prevalent in healthcare.
Electronic health records are becoming more and more proliferate in healthcare systems since they allow automatic updating and sharing of each individual patient’s medical information.
However, their scope is limited to sharing within an organization or network of organizations only. With the advent of blockchain technology, this information could be organized so that only non-personally identifiable information sits on the topmost layer of the blockchain.
Changing the identifiable information would give researchers and other organizations access to this extensive pool of data, with cohorts of millions of patients. The capability to access such a vast amount of data would greatly promote clinical research, improve public health reporting, and adverse event reporting and identification.
This is one reason why the Caribbean medical university, and other university-level students are encouraged to dabble in this technology.
Securing the Patient Data
From 2009 to 2017, over 176 million data breaches occurred concerning healthcare records. Perhaps one of the most significant applications of blockchain technology is ensuring the safety and security of medical data and records.
The healthcare industry often suffers from data breaches. Of course, credit card and banking information is often the target of breaches — but information has been obtained from health records, including specialized testing such as genome records.
There is a dire need to protect the integrity of sensitive patient data.
Security applications would greatly benefit from blockchain’s ability to keep an incorruptible and transparent log of all patient data. Not to mention, blockchain technology is as private as it is transparent, and can successfully conceal the identity of any individual with the help of complex and unimpeachable codes.
Blockchain technology maintains a decentralized log of sensitive patient data.
With blockchain, healthcare providers, physicians, and patients can share the information in a safe and efficient manner. For instance, BurstIQ’s platform’s advanced blockchain technology enables the company to improve how medical data is shared and used in compliance with stringent HIPAA rules.
By keeping a comprehensive and updated record of each patient, they can prevent the abuse of prescription drugs.
Vaccine supply chains
Blockchain technology can provide the ultimate answer to the challenging process of global vaccine distribution and introduce trust and efficiency in the vaccine supply chain process.
By offering a real-time and accurate view of inventory, this burgeoning development can optimize vaccine allocation. The greatest benefit of this technology is to mitigate fraud in vaccine supply and distribution.
According to CDC, almost 30% of all vaccines produced in developing countries are counterfeit — (not speaking of the current COVID-19 vaccine).
To counter this issue, vaccine distributors are looking to blockchain technology to tie an unforgeable and irreplaceable unique digital identifier to each medicine or vaccine most susceptible to fraud.
The identifier should be hard to clone or transfer between objects. For instance, markers such as fabric patterns or branding on pills can prove the authenticity of products and help keep the vaccine supply chain safe.
For instance, the company, Chronicled keeps track of chain-of-custody via blockchain networks. The networks help pharmaceutical companies guarantee that their medicines arrive safely, and they raise flags on any suspicious activity — such as drug trafficking.
Seamless Switching of Patients between Providers
With the help of blockchain technology, patients would be able to unlock and share their health data with other providers or organizations. The information stored on the blockchain could be accessed via a shareable private key.
This process could make health information technology collaborative between different users.
Advancement in Genomics
Genomics holds immense potential in improving the future of human health. What was once a far-fetched dream has now become a scientific and financial reality, thanks to blockchain technology.
It used to cost an upward of 1 billion dollars to process a human genome, but now it costs as little as $1000.
A lot of companies are conducting DNA tests that have the ability to unlock clues to our health. Blockchain can greatly complement the field of genomics via its ability to house billions of genetic data points safely and securely.
Pharmaceutical and biotech companies used to spend billions of dollars each year acquiring genetic data from third parties. In contrast, now, companies can incentivize users to safely sell their encrypted genetic data to this wide pool of data, knowing that their information is safe.
Scientists can access this valuable Genomics data faster than ever before.
For instance, Nebula Genomics is using blockchain technology to streamline the study of genetics and make it more affordable. Companies can even share their medical and genomic data with a global community of scientists for building better predictive models.
Preventable Mistakes in Healthcare
Miscommunication between medical professionals can cost the healthcare industry an arm and a leg. It can be quite bothersome and time-consuming to obtain access to a patient’s medical records. The lag time can delay quality care and drain staff.
The decentralized nature of blockchain-based medical records makes them easily accessible by pharmacists, hospitals, lab technicians, public health authorities, and physicians.
In a nutshell, blockchain technology speeds up diagnoses, automates administrative processes, and helps healthcare organizations devise personalized care plans. Open access to pertinent medical information enables better coordination between healthcare professionals and accelerate care.
Many tech-savvy companies are leveraging blockchain medical records to create shared databases.
For instance, SimplyVital helps create an open-source database with the help of blockchain technology to allow healthcare providers to gain access to patient information and coordinate care in a timely manner.
Smart contracts for insurance and supply chain settlements
Blockchain-based systems are cropping up in the healthcare industry and bringing together various players in the healthcare industry. We see healthcare providers, insurers, wholesalers, medical device OEMs, and pharmaceutical companies under one umbrella.
Each of these entities can authenticate its credibility.
Each company or healthcare provider can track transactions of equipment and services, log contracts, and keep track of payment settlements. These systems facilitate more secure shared contracts between manufacturers, distributors and healthcare organizations.
Having contracts stored on blockchain ledgers inevitably leads to fewer disputes over payments, claims, and schedules.
Due to vacillating pricing structures, more than one million chargeback claims are made between these companies every year. Five percent of claims end up in lengthy disputes, which often necessitate manual resolution.
These smart contracts would also benefit patients in terms of medical insurance contracts. Making digital data easily accessible also helps insurance providers optimize health outcomes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) leverages blockchain-related use case-control and prevention of diseases and pandemics.
Essentially, the U.S. entity maps out blockchain usage for timestamping of records to detect disease outbreaks in real-time.
CDC has acquired a surveillance system for public agencies that safely and accurately gather real-time patient and prescription data.
With the use of blockchain technology, many gigantic healthcare system costs can be reduced — thereby lowering the overall health costs for everyone.
Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending
London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.
According to an Oct. 10 tech.eu report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.
The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:
“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”
The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:
“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”
The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.
The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.
Featured Image Credit: Photo from Kennek.io; Thank you!
Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs
As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.
Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI
In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.
According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.
One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.
To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.
Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!
UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations
As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.
Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation
To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.
The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.
Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.
The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!