Blockchain technology in medicine
Blockchain technology (BT) became popular with the development of cryptocurrency bitcoin in 2009. From that moment on, interest in this invention began to take place in many sectors of the economy, including medicine. In this review, we will try to explain as simple as possible what blockchain is and how it can be applied in the fields of medicine and healthcare.
- What is blockchain?
Initially, the blockchain was designed as part of a very specific task, namely building a decentralized (without a single control center) financial system, whose correctness can operate check out any participant.
Based on this, you can define blockchain as a way to store and reconcile a database that each member has a copy of the network. This complies with the following conditions:
1) Number of participants unknown;
2) Participants are anonymous;
3) Participants often distrust each other;
4) Each transaction must be approved by the majority.
Initially, the name “blockchain” was derived from the way information was stored in Bitcoin. All bitcoin transactions are stored in a grouped form (transaction groups are called blocks). Each subsequent block contains a hash link (digital print) of the previous one. This is how a block chain is obtained — inextricably linked sets of transactions where each new one is linked to old and old cannot be changed without changing new ones.
A key feature of BT’s transaction accounting system is that it functions as an independent system. It has no center of influence, no organization or person to run it.
- How can blockchain technology be used in medicine?
- Russia is developing an electronic medical record storage system that will be organized on the principle of blockchain. It will be depersonalized to ensure data security. It is expected that the patient will decide with whom to share health information with the individual key. In the world, companies such as Medicalchain, BurstiQ are involved in this field.
- Domestic startup ai plans to determine the patient’s physiological state on demand using a combination of artificial intelligence and BT technology in form cryptocurrency. Dialogue system will “communicate” with the patient in natural language, analyze genomic, pharmacogenomic, exposome, anatomical data; characteristics derived from medical sensors; hematology data. Neuron tokens will provide access to the network and reward users (individuals or research organizations). For tokens, users can arrange contests on the Neuron platform and create rewards (prizes) for medical data processing and analysis professionals.
- Open Longevity is another domestic blockchain startup developing a system for diagnosing diseases and interpreting medical research. Gene Blockchain also operates in this field, which focuses on human genome work. The company supplies technology and software products for sequencing and analysis of genetic sequences. Based on project materials, the data obtained from the processing can later be used to diagnose pathologies, pick up the necessary medicines and select suitable treatments.
Therefore, BT alone or in combination with other information technology can significantly improve the quality of health services and research.
- Litvin A.A., Koreev S.V., Knyazeva E.G., Litvin V. The possibilities of blockchain technology in medicine (Review). Sovremennye tehnologii v medicine 2019; 11(4): 191–199, https://doi.org/10.17691/stm2019.11.4.21
- Nakamoto S. Bitcoin: a peer-to-peer electronic cash system. URL: https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf