COVID-19 is acting as a catalyst to innovation in healthcare, and a new report has highlighted how AI, machine learning, and blockchain are vital to facilitating change.
A special, peer-reviewed edition of OMICS: A Journal of Integrative Biology, has highlighted the importance of key digital technologies, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, and blockchain for innovation in healthcare in response to the challenges posed by COVID-19.
Vural Özdemir, MD, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of OMICS, said: “COVID-19 is undoubtedly among the ecological determinants of planetary health. Digital health is a veritable opportunity for integrative biology and systems medicine to broaden its scope from human biology to ecological determinants of health. This is very important.”
A closer look at blockchain
Articles in the special issue include an interview on ‘Responsible Innovation and Future Science in Australia’ by Justine Lacey, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), and Erik Fisher, Arizona State University, Tempe, ‘Blockchain for Digital Health: Prospects and Challenges’ and ‘Integrating Artificial and Human Intelligence: A Partnership for Responsible Innovation in Biomedical Engineering and Medicine.’
In ‘Blockchain for Digital Health: Prospects and Challenges’ the article explores the challenges that can be faced with the use of blockchain technology.
The article states: ‘Although still faced with challenges, blockchain technology has an enormous potential to catalyse both technological and social innovation, turning the promise of digital health into a reality. By reshaping both the technological and social environment, the rise of blockchain in digital health can help reduce the disparity between the enormous technical progress and investments versus our currently inadequate understanding of the social dimensions of emerging technologies through commensurate investments in the latter knowledge domain.’
A recent report by Market Study Report, ‘Blockchain Technology in Healthcare Market‘, notes that blockchain technology in the healthcare market is anticipated to cross $1636.7m (€1513.46m) by the year 2025.
Blockchain for records
Privacy is a major concern when it comes to storing and sharing health data, and with current healthcare data storage systems lacking top end security, blockchain can provide a solution to vulnerabilities such as hacking and data theft.
Blockchain technology in healthcare offers interoperability, which enables exchange of medical data securely among the different systems and personnel involved, offering a variety of benefits such as effective communication system, time reduction, and enhanced operational efficiency.
Countering fake drug supplies
According to the report, the use of blockchain technology for claims adjudication and billing management application is predicted to register 66.5% growth by the year 2025, owing to several issues such as errors, duplications, and incorrect billing. All of these problems can be eliminated with blockchain.
Nearly 400 individuals including doctors were convicted for $1.3bn (€1.2m) fraud in 2017 in the United States. The report highlights that the need to mitigate such frauds and fake drug supply will encourage the adoption of technology in this application segment.