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Providing examples of blockchain solutions in healthcare

January 7, 2020

On the 10th of December, Blockstart partner, BioRegio STERN, organised an information event on "Blockchain - Solutions for Healthcare". The speakers Michael Munz, Digital Innovation Manager at 51nodes GmbH from Stuttgart, and Dr Heiko Roßnagel, head of the Identity Management team at the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO in Stuttgart, gave interesting insights on the topic.

Michael Munz supports companies with the implementation of decentralised and digital business models. As he explained the basics of blockchain technology, he said that the so-called “Distributed Ledger technologies” not only enable trading in cryptocurrency, but they are also increasingly being used in industry. Experience shows, however, that the challenges are immense; especially in the healthcare sector. Establishing a reliably stable blockchain application still requires an enormous amount of effort. Many blockchain projects have an impact on a company's business model and the legal and regulatory framework.

Tokenisation - the conversion of real assets (goods, values) into digital assets - also offers great opportunities for the healthcare industry, for example, for the supply chains (drug supply chain and medical device supply). The tokenisation of medical prescriptions (prescription tokens) is already being discussed across the sector.

Dr. Heiko Roßnagel, who deals with questions of identity management and information security, described the challenges of ensuring an efficient and secure exchange of health data with blockchain. According to the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), health data fall under the category of personal data. These data may only be used with the patient's consent and anonymity must be protected at all costs. If these requirements are met, the blockchain technology could be a helpful tool to secure narcotic prescriptions in doctors' surgeries, pharmacies and regulatory authorities. The administration of patient consent could also become transparent and understandable.

The event raised many questions - but the participants also got a much better idea of the specific applications of blockchain solutions in the healthcare sector.

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