This website is intended for Medical Professionals only. By using this site you confirm that you are a healthcare professional.

Saturday, 14 April 2018 18:42

Blockchain & Healthcare will there be offspring?

Written by
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Ian Ellul

Blockchain technology was invented in 2009 as platform for cryptocurrencies (most of us are familiar with bitcoin). In essence, it is a generic tool to keep secure data in a decentralized encrypted ledger of transactions across a peer-to-peer network. With this network, participants may confirm transactions without the need for a centralized certifying body. So there is one shared secure ledger which is spread across a network of synchronized, replicated databases which are visible to anyone with access to the system.

Every time a digital transaction occurs, it is encrypted in a ‘block’ with other transactions happening at the same time, hence its name. Taking the fintech industry as example, these transactions would consist of buying and selling executions. In healthcare, taking hospital electronic records as an example, these ‘blocks’ would relate to e.g. investigation results such as bloods. These executions are validated, in our case by physicians, having an access key. Then the blockchain software timestamps each validated block and adds it to the existing chain of older blocks, in chronological order. The sequence shows every transaction made in the history of that ledger, whether it be bloods or an arthroscopy [healthcare], or bitcoin sales [fintech].

This technology is also particularly relevant for medication administration records. Let us consider a patient who is taking clopidogrel, paracetamol and simvastatin. Today, each electronic record [where available] is essentially a snapshot; it doesn’t necessarily tell the prescriber what the patient is actually taking at a specific moment in time. But with blockchain, each prescription is like a deposit. When a prescriber discontinues a medication, this is like a withdrawal. Using blockchain, there is no need for a prescriber to go through all the ‘deposits’ and ‘withdrawals’ - they would just see the real-time ‘balance’.

In the next issue, we will discuss even further the interesting applications of blockchain in our field.

Additional Info

  • TheSynapse Magazines: 2016
Read 69 times

Dr Ian Ellul PhD[Paed.][Melit.] has been the managing editor of The Synapse Journal since 2005. He was also Director of Pharmacy Services at a private hospital group, the government's Clinical Trials Coordinator for trials conducted in Malta, as well as senior regulatory affairs officer.  


More in this category: « Updates on the management of COPD

TheSynapse Videos




April 10, 2018
May 22, 2017
January 30, 2017


Connect with other Medical Professionals on fb in a closed facebook group


Template Settings

Theme Colors

Cyan Red Green Oranges Teal


Wide Boxed Framed Rounded
Patterns for Layour: Boxed, Framed, Rounded
We use cookies to improve our website. By continuing to use this website, you are giving consent to cookies being used. More details…