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How should healthcare stakeholders differentiate hype from reality with blockchain technology?

In my previous post, I discussed the likely applications of Blockchain technology in the short, medium, and long-term future. These applications follow on from the key strategic priorities necessitated by the healthcare industry’s trend towards digital decentralized care delivery models.

With so many potential solutions that this disruptive technology can provide, it is essential for stakeholders to be able to differentiate hype from reality.

It is important to look at it from an end user’s perspective to understand how Blockchain could work within a connected health ecosystem. The ultimate aim is to make accessible personalized health data directly from patients and clinics without compromising patient privacy. That is the direction of the industry, and differentiating hype from reality involves discerning how Blockchain can enable this transformation to a connected ecosystem.

To enable this, it’s important to look at it from the perspective of (as I refer to them) the 4 Ps: patients, physicians, pharma, and payers.


In a prospective Blockchain network, patients would get a unique identifier and be in control of granting permission to share data. Thus they will become an integral part of the research and incentive programs. Pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies, diagnostic companies need to keep that in mind.

Patients are going to be owners of their own data and are going to participate in regard to how their data is being leveraged. We are already seeing various regulation put in place, such as GDPR, which is giving more authority, access, and ownership to users and customers over their data.


Physicians are also going to play a significant role in regard to the overall value chain and the adoption of blockchain.

Longitudinal health records – including inpatient, ambulatory and remote patient monitoring data – are expected to improve overall clinical care coordination and help physicians effectively manage emergency medical situations.


When focussing on Blockchain, the criteria regarding what companies should bear in mind will change depending on the industry area and solution providers. I focus a lot more on the pharmaceutical research industry when it comes to the adoption of blockchain.

From a pharmaceutical or research perspective, Blockchain will be driving unprecedented collaboration between various participants. As we move towards value-based, personalized, and preventative healthcare, researchers will drive innovation in precision medicine and population health research.


Payers are going to see improvements in efficiency when it comes to BIR activities. Blockchain can reduce administrative costs and time eliminating intermediaries.

Smart contrasts are going to help maintain a benefits database and determine patient insurance for self-execution as preprogrammed terms and conditions.


Patients, physicians, payers, and pharma are going to be the end-users and play a significant role in the adoption of blockchain. End-users and companies in the value chain need to be cognizant of these 4 P’s and to work alongside them because they’re going to have authority when it comes to the adoption of these products.

At the end of the day, it’s still a nascent solution for the healthcare industry and there’s a real variety of possibilities. For successful adoption, companies need to keep in mind their key business focus, their key customers, the business time that is going to take for implementation, the ease of deployment, the revenue sources, the stability and scalability of the technology.


Unmesh Lal is Program Manager in Transformational Health at Frost & Sullivan. He will be presenting and leading a roundtable discussion at Blockchain in Healthcare Congress.


Blockchain in Healthcare Congress offers the opportunity to explore the tools necessary to calculate the opportunities and challenges of blockchain within multiple areas of the industry. Take a look at the agenda.

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