What is blockchain and what can it do for you?

16 November 2016

Imagine a world where patients, hospitals and pharma companies have a lasting and tamper-proof way to share information, secure in the knowledge that identity is known and the what and the why of the record is complete.

Imagine a world where patients are warned they might fall ill before they see symptoms. Hospitals and pharmacies never run out of supplies. Drugs come to market more quickly, with a clear outcome for target populations.  And, because of all these things, people are healthier and live longer, and the cost burden of healthcare starts to shrink.  With blockchain technology, all this could become a reality.

But what is blockchain and how does it work?

Blockchain is a data structure that allows a continually growing set of interconnected records. a data structure where literally speaking “I know that you know that I know that you know”...  For the technology literate among us there is obviously a lot more detail. But for most of us the key to understanding blockchain is to understand its possibilities rather than the technology that underpins it. We all know how to use the internet whilst not necessarily understanding exactly how it works.

One very clear opportunity that blockchain presents is in the area of patient records. Understandably, many people are ultra-cautious about sharing their medical data, and worried about privacy and security. Blockchain potentially allows people to decide who sees their medical records – and to know exactly who has accessed them. It also makes them totally portable. On top of that it’s completely secure - there are more permutations to the encryption than there are atoms in the Milky Way and the technology has never been hacked.

The use of blockchain can also mean that drugs come to market quicker, and are better targeted. And, because blockchain gives immutable proof of provenance, there’s no risk of counterfeiting – protecting both the patient and the brand.

These are just two examples of the opportunity that blockchain presents. We believe it could be a game changer for health and that it will bring benefits to all parts of the sector.

At PwC we have a team of people experienced in both determining the opportunity and applying the technology. To find out more about blockchain and its possibilities join our live webcast

Jonathon Marshall | Partner
Email | +44 (0) 207 8048234

View Jonathon's profile on LinkedIn

 

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