Back in early 2018, the Wall Street Journal reported that the United States alone will be spending around 20% of its GDP on healthcare. The rising costs of healthcare and the need for constant technological improvement in the medical arena are undeniably allowing blockchain to disrupt the healthcare industry.
The most recent example comes from the Harvard Medical School’s Lab of Medical Imaging and Computation, all part of the Massachusetts General Hospital, or MGH for short, which has teamed up with the Korean startup MediBloc for the launch of a blockchain project.
The primary goal of the partnership is to better store and manage patients’ data. MGH, which is one of the best US hospitals and one of the most advanced in the world in terms of technology and research, commented that they are looking to expand on a number of research analyses ranging from medical image analysis to better leveraging the existing patients’ data. The lab intends to enhance their research by focusing on technologies such as machine learning and blockchain, as well as artificial intelligence.
MediBloc is a Korean startup that positions itself as “reinventing the healthcare experience”. The company was started to seek blockchain solutions for managing healthcare information and patients’ data. The idea of the blockchain project is to integrate AI applications into the day-to-day clinical workflow. The data that is being used is not real patients’ data, but rather simulated one, for the sake of the research.
The partnership aims to solve several major issues that hospitals and even insurance companies are facing: the multitude of data that is stored, but cannot be used efficiently and repeatedly for different purposes. The transfer of data from one hospital to another is also not efficient right now, so the idea is to create a distributed ledger on which information is stored and can be transformed in a universal manner. The blockchain project will provide greater interoperability, which is a great need and advantage for the healthcare industry and especially in clinical trials and research.
While many blockchain startups are trying to provide secure and fast transmission of healthcare information, the big competitive advantage of MGH is that it is one of the world’s most renowned hospitals and the 4th best hospital in the United States, as ranked by U.S. News and World Report. Such reputation, research capabilities and scope of clinical analysis give an edge of MGH when it comes to developing the next generation of healthcare data exchange and analysis.