On September 22, IP Partner Ted Mlynar gave the opening keynote speech at the inaugural Healthcare Blockchain Summit at Z-Park, Cambridge, MA. Z-Park is the newly opened innovation hub, in collaboration with MIT-CHIEF and Harvard University’s student organizations. The summit gathered global key representatives in both research, industry and legal sectors of both fintech and healthcare, covering key topics in data sharing infrastructure, clinical trials and treatment tracking, and cross-industry collaborations.
The keynote highlights why it’s essential for healthcare and life sciences professionals to connect with blockchain technologists. Blockchain can bring very effective solutions to specific issues in the life sciences and healthcare sectors, including in the areas of financial, insurance and regulatory.
Blockchain for life sciences – cryptocurrency less so
In the life sciences context, Ted makes a clear distinction, leaving cryptocurrencies in the background and putting blockchain front and center as a superior database. He points to the clear advantages in its cryptographic structure, where each new piece of data is approved by consensus or “group truth” and securely locked into place in one source.
3 examples where blockchain can add value
Supply-chain management: The keynote makes a clear case for applying blockchain to supply-chain management. It provides the ability to track a pharmaceutical product from its recipient, all the way through the shelf, manufacturing and to its expiration. This enables all stakeholders along the way to see it, update it and use the information fluidly.
Drug research and development: Clinical trials data can be placed on a blockchain early on. The data is thereby recorded, secure and available for others to use in one place. It provides excellent opportunities to monetize data, and allows multiple stakeholders to access the information without having to go through a lot of difficult processes.
Personal Health records: Blockchain can be used to creating a unified healthcare record. The value of having access to an individual’s personal health records (all procedures, pharmaceuticals etc.) from birth to date in on place, securely recorded and unchangeable is apparent, for example in a medical emergency scenario.
…and differentiating where it might not.
Ted introduces the subject of “separating the wheat from the chaff” where blockchain solutions in life sciences are concerned. Blockchain can be applied to certain issues, such as the aforementioned examples and professionals in the industry should be connecting with blockchain technicians to be ahead of the curve. That said, it is just as important to be able to distinguish the applications of blockchain which are simply add-ons and do not provide such far-reaching solutions.
Watch the keynote speech here