Telehealth has unparalleled benefits in reaching locations with limited resources, though many facets of this technology and its applications are still unfolding. Global collaboration is a driving force of social good exhibited when natural disasters occur and nations of the world come together to help heal hurting communities. Imagine harvesting this power and extending its reach to act proactively, working together to take care of the world’s health. Blockchain technology and crypto-currencies provide a decentralized platform where global medicine is possible.
Some detractors of blockchain technology say a private blockchain is “just a shared database.” This misses the point in two ways.
First, calling a private blockchain a database a category error. Blockchain is a technology which can be used in many ways. A shared database is just one of them. Second, saying a blockchain-based database is “just” a shared database is like saying a database is “just” a collection of data. The blockchain approach opens possibilities which centralized databases can’t reach.
Blockchain allows for multiple ownership
Blockchain technology provides a solution to the problem of trust in a shared database. Instead of using a central repository, it uses peer-to-peer technology. All participants have a copy of a shared ledger. Each of them can add entries which it owns. Cryptographic signing identifies each one’s creator and guarantees that it hasn’t been forged or altered.
A new entry appears in one copy and is propagated to all the others. Fake entries won’t have valid signatures, so they’ll be rejected. The blockchain requires each entry to follow its rules, and it will reject entries which singly or cumulatively violate the rules (e.g., by overdrawing an account).
The value of blockchain technology in business
Participants in a shared blockchain can contribute independent items of information that have a defined relationship to other participants’ entries. Once they create an entry, they can’t revoke or alter it. The blockchain’s rules define what kinds of entries are allowed. “Smart contracts” trigger actions based on entries in the blockchain.
Information in the blockchain is visible to all, so confidential information can’t go directly into an entry. If the information is confidential, the entry can hold encrypted data or a reference to private data stored elsewhere.
Any attempt to remove other parties’ entries will fail. The redacted blockchain will be missing records which are in everyone else’s copy, so the removal will be rejected and its source will fall under suspicion (perhaps just of a software bug).
An Uber-style healthcare system has great appeal, but some might fear we’re turning doctor visits into a one-touch app or equivalent to a self-serve fill up station. Its undeniable, blockchain technology has multiple functions that will re-shape the future of our economy, but with regards to healthcare: does digital really mean better? Also, which companies are permitted access, and in what other ways are they using the acquired data? Will Citizen Health and each individual business engage in their own smart contracts through Ethereum’s software? Do different rules apply when a patient becomes a more influential member of The Citizen Health’s Ecosystem?
Citizen Health offers a transparent democratic platform where members can vote, aligning a population’s interests! This has wonderful applications to humanity’s well-being, as it gives power to people’s voices! Over time and not without some trial and error, the platform design will integrate comfortably, and find itself truly representing the people of the world, evolving through Medit’s earned marketplace influence.
Practicing preventative medicine
Rather than following our current reactive model, Citizen Health’s mission is to create: “An open health economy of the people, for the people, and by the people.” By 2050 they hope to integrate nanotechnology, biotechnology and “omics” research into their democratic platform to increase humanity’s health and well-being.
Like other Ethereum powered platforms, Citizen Health has a digital marketplace for the exchange of health and wellness products.
- Medit Tokens ~ Approved crypto-currency for use on The Citizen Health’s Marketplace!
- Democracy ~ Virtually meet to discuss and vote on global issues aligned with social interests.
- Gamification ~ Earn more Medit by keeping fit! Track your fitness using products like Misfit or Android!
- Incentivize ~ Promote well-being by motivating patients to exercise and eat healthily!
- Health AI ~ Cloud stored and generated Electronic Medical Records.
- Global Brain ~ Funneling social health information to create a global database exchange, assisting in community healing.
Separate from the Pack
Citizen Health is an open wellness economy; a transparent platform where all healthcare team members, including patients, can meet to discuss and vote on issues. This assists in aligning interests between healthcare providers, scientists, developers and the public! Medit tokens are intrinsically tied to all parts within the healthcare digi-ecosystem, meaning the more Medit’s you acquire, the more influence you have within the democratic design. This platform builds upon the P2P formula, and is partially funded through monthly memberships, sales from Medit Tokens and investments from related institutions.
Solve.Care – Cost Reduction of Care Coordination
Solve.Care is a healthcare software startup with the goal of achieving a blockchain-based decentralized system for healthcare administration in both the public and private sectors. Soon after taking the stage for the first time in mid-September at Unicom’s Blockchain Summit in Dublin, Solve.Care launched their “early adopter” token sale.
Although Solve.Care has not yet publicly unveiled their framework, they maintain that they are indeed building a blockchain-based, decentralized healthcare administration platform that is sufficiently open and extensible to engage “an active community of developers” in the greater goal of applying the platform to the multitude of “healthcare delivery models” required by both the public and private sectors in a digital age.
The Solve.Care framework is composed of six elements: a blockchain-based payment system (Care.Wallet), a cryptocurrency designed for healthcare transactions (Care.Coins / “CANs”), interoperable healthcare apps or “cards” for one’s digital wallet (Care.Cards), an appstore to extend the Solve.Care platform (Care.Marketplace), and an underlying blockchain-based architecture (Care.Protocol).
Conclusion – this is just the beginning
It is indeed too see the impact programs such as these will have on overall global health initiatives. The big takeaway from these endeavors is that main stream adoption of blockchain technology can come in all shapes and sizes. However long global adoption may take, programs like these prove that blockchain is perfectly poised to build on top of the connected culture telehealth has built and that those that regularly interact with any part of the healthcare sector will have a plethora of enterprise grade products coming up through the ranks that challenge traditional business models to the core.
Brennan Bennett is a blockchain consultant, emerging tech entrepreneur and startup advisor. He specializes in HIT blockchain implementation and is a subject matter expert in biomedical informatics, clinical decision support systems, drug design and pharmacy operations.