Blockchain and AI in Healthcare

Considering that the number of transactions in the healthcare sector is enormous, a blockchain technology revolution is needed. 

Applications of Blockchain in Healthcare

1. Healthcare Information Exchange

Removing the intermediary (the HIE) and establishing trust between healthcare providers in sharing data and creating a comprehensive patient identity where data is available from all sources.
The Blockchain will help create a trusted, global, peer to peer network for effective sharing of patient data and secure storage of that data.

2. Insurance claims

Medical insurance claims is a long and tedious process, and lot of that process is still manual. The Blockchain can automate most of those processes and reduce claim costs for insurers, reduce time and energy for patients.

Insurers: High cost (time and effort) to validate information coming from hospital and internal systems.

Patients: Very tedious process to show documents, share documents, get scanned and verified copies.

Blockchain: Solves the problem for both insurers and patients by providing an automated, trusted network to share data and process claims in real time.  

3. Genomic data

The Blockchain can secure patient genomic data, and enable people to securely share genomic data. Eg: https://encrypgen.com/.

Secure data storage: Storing sensitive genomic data can be done on a distributed file storage system for increased security.

Secure data transfer: Transferring and sharing data requires consent of many parties, all of which can be received in real time on a smart contract.

Data marketplace: A data marketplace for genomic data can be created to enable patients to monetise their data.

4. Drug traceability

Prevent counterfeit drugs from entering the market by using Blockchain to trace the origins of drugs.

5. Emergency loans

Emergency healthcare loans is a big problem in most hospitals as patients who come in for emergencies and need immediate loans are under extreme stress.

6. Data marketplace

People can monetize their data from wearables using Blockchain to enable provably secure and consent based data transfers.

Challenges in Adoption

  • Ecosystem: Healthcare records on a Blockchain requires all providers to come into the same system, hence requiring all to be onboarded into the platform.
  • Incentives: Applications such as drug traceability on a Blockchain requires correct incentives to be given to everyone in the supply chain to be “honest”.
  • Switching cost: This isn’t as much of a challenge as a Blockchain can initially layer on top of an ERP, after which a switch could occur.
  • Software regulations: Software standards such as IEC 62304 have to be followed and approved for the platform to be live on a healthcare application.

AI in Healthcare

  • Artificial intelligence’s (AI) transformative power is reverberating across many industries, but in one—healthcare—its impact promises to be truly life-changing.
  • From hospital care to clinical research, drug development and insurance, AI applications are revolutionizing how the health sector works to reduce spending and improve patient outcomes.

Image Recognition

Identifying patterns in images is one of the strongest points of existing AI systems, and researchers are now training AI to review chest X-rays for TB patients hence allowing access to identification of TB in areas where there is a lack of radiologists.

IBM Watson Health is using AI to help doctors in hospital emergency rooms treat stroke and head trauma patients more effectively by detecting intracranial bleeding. 

Leading Use Cases of AI in healthcare

1) Woebot

A free therapy chatbot that uses researched approaches to treat depression, cognitive behavioral therapy, to deliver scripted responses to users. This is the world’s first Mental Health chatbot and it received $8 million in funding when it its initial stages.

2) Suki

Suki is an AI-powered, voice-enabled digital assistant for doctors. Their objective is to make solving some of the biggest problems in healthcare, a little easier by making their users happier and more productive. Suki raised $20 Million funding from Venrock in its first round.

3) Deepmind Streams

Streams is a secure mobile phone app that aims to address what clinicians call failure to rescue. When the right nurse or doctor doesn’t get to the right patient in time thousands of people in hospitals die preventably from different conditions because the warning signs aren’t picked up and acted on in time.

Streams is built in close collaboration with nurses and doctors to help address this problem. 

 

The app brings together important medical information, like patients’ blood test results, in one place, allowing clinicians at our partner hospitals to review test results and spot serious issues while they are on the move. 

 

If one is found, Streams can send an urgent secure smartphone alert to the right clinician to help, along with information about previous conditions so they can make an immediate diagnosis. 

 

Streams can also allow clinicians to instantly review their patients’ vital signs, like their heart rate and their blood pressure, as well as to record these observations straight into the app. To make all of this possible, Streams integrates different types of data and test results from a range of existing IT systems used by the hospital.

4) Fast and Accurate Analysis of Medical Images

Aidence- to detect lung cancer better, NIRAMAI- to detect Cancer better, Ezra – to diagnose Cancer with MRIs, not painful biopsies are some of the emerging start-ups in this area.

5) SigTuple

This is a start-up that is building a platform to provide healthcare solutions by detecting different diseases using machine learning software. It promises to automatically analyze medical images and data to aid diagnosis.

5) Ten3t

This company uses its patented platform of intelligent, medical grade wearables and AI enables analytics for continuous health monitoring to enable predictive, proactive and effective clinical decisions.

Using AI and Blockchain in Conjunction

Blockchain and artificial intelligence are coming together to elevate everything from food supply chain logistics and healthcare record sharing to media royalties and financial security. The integration of AI and Blockchain affects many aspects, including Security – AI and blockchain will offer a double shield against cyber-attacks. This is the way of the future.

AI can enable technical enhancements in the areas of Security, efficiency, trust, privacy and new markets, and storage.

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