Blockchain Has The Potential To Save The Healthcare Industry Billions Of Dollars

According to a new study by Frost & Sullivan, blockchain can save the healthcare industry billions of dollars by optimizing workflows and disintermediating some high-cost gatekeepers.

The study analyzed the vendor landscape, funding trends, and commercial adoption by healthcare stakeholders around the world. Frost & Sullivan’s team analyzed over 250 vendors to understand their blockchain products and solutions applicable to the healthcare industry and used a global analysis of current commercial deployments, major industry collaboration, and funding trends to project future blockchain market size.

“It’s time for progressive healthcare companies to start shifting focus from ‘What is blockchain?’ to ‘Where I should invest in blockchain?’ Considering most blockchain projects and vendors’ solutions are at an early stage, it is essential for healthcare buyers to undertake a thorough assessment to invest or engage with most promising options,” said Kamaljit Behera, a transformational health industry analyst at Frost & Sullivan (and author of the report). “This is exactly what our current research study aims to answer to help healthcare industry stakeholders make informed decision-making.”

Since blockchain is a network play, becoming part of a blockchain network now will be a critical consideration for future success, according to Behera.

The study is yet another indication of the extensive capabilities of blockchain. In an earlier blog,, we’ve discussed how blockchain is already bringing significant shifts in efficiency and security to business and entrepreneurship. Frost & Sullivan outlined some of the ways blockchain could grow in the healthcare industry and some critical market trends, and understanding those will help us predict the projection of blockchain in the future.

While the technology is still young, blockchain has already demonstrated an initial return of investments across numerous B2B cases — credentialing, claim adjudication, supply chain, and many others. Payers, providers, and pharmaceutical companies are next on the horizon, with some already utilizing blockchain technology.

Based on industry estimates, about $455 billion in global healthcare spending is lost every year due to fraud, waste, and abuse. The potential application of blockchain technology could help mitigate some of the risks and costs of going digital — and help healthcare industries find a solution to trust and security in digital workflows.

Blockchain has already demonstrated in healthcare with health professional credentialing, medical billing management, contract adjudication, pharma supply chain track-and-use cases, and personal health record (PHR) management. “PHRs use case is regarded as the Holy Grail for DLTs [distributed ledger technology] application in healthcare, as it offers a fresh approach to healthcare data interoperability by ensuring trusted and patient-centric data governance approach. However, the large-scale commercial deployment of PHR application seems more feasible in the [European] and Asian countries whose data vendor ecosystem is relatively less complex when compared to the U.S. market,” Behera said.

Blockchain has the potential to assist in trust, security, and auditability — some of the biggest challenges the healthcare industry faces. “More specifically, the interplay/convergence potential between three emerging technologies, namely, blockchain, AI [artificial intelligence], and the Internet of Things, will further catalyze the space of innovation adoption and related applications in the healthcare realm,” Behera said. “More specifically, convergence of blockchain and AI will provide healthcare stakeholders a new federated learning system to promote medical research. However, convergence is not a process that will happen immediately, nor be a simple and linear progression. In the future, DLTs will be used by telehealth vendors and tech giants to monetize data science and analytical services with innovative patient-centric care models.”

Right now, the U.S. holds most of the world’s blockchain funding, but as the market expands, that has the potential to change. Behera pointed out that Estonia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Russia, South Korea, and Singapore have also attracted significant blockchain funding over the last few years.

As the market of blockchain vendors expands, so will the applications to healthcare and other industries. Blockchain has already facilitated improvements in security and efficiency across a wide range of cases, and it’s only just getting started.

 

Sources: Managed Healthcare Executive, Frost & Sullivan