Healthcare has long had an issue with navigating complex data networks.
However – thanks to the rise of blockchain technology, the challenge of managing impenetrable data chains and intermediaries is no longer unsurpassable.
In the past, blockchain was nominally aligned with the finance, banking and cryptocurrency sectors. However, healthcare executives now see its increasing use potential for decentralising and distributing next-generation technology.
Emerging data innovation and blockchain now optimise previously neglected aspects of health data management. Market leaders now address inefficiencies, dependencies and lack of visibility borne of implacable intermediaries. By doing so, they eliminate the cost and barriers while simultaneously improving patient and health institution data integrity.
Most importantly, blockchain applications in healthcare connect all manner of systems, regardless of geography or operational style. Hospitals, patients and practitioners can enjoy the ease and true interoperable value that blockchain-based systems allow.
Mihai Ivascu, CEO of Modex, sits with Distilled Post to discuss how blockchain and healthcare providers can collaborate to optimise much-needed interoperability within global health.
What is Blockchain, and How is Modex Different?
In simple terms, blockchain is a system that records and stores transaction records. It can be shared in a peer-to-peer pathway, is built from linked transactions and is stored in a digital ledger. Blockchain allows for participants to interact and share information from within a secure, encrypted network. Because the system is decentralised and holds no central authority, information within it can be stored and distributed freely.
Despite its clear benefits, many healthcare organisations are generally hesitant to integrate such technologies within their infrastructures. A study conducted by Philips Europe suggests that this is due to ‘scaling issues’ that blockchain developers and healthcare executives ‘must overcome for wider adoption across all industries’. In tandem, the vast size of blockchain is immeasurable, making it ‘difficult for normal users to keep the full copy of it’.
Mihai Ivascu foresaw these challenges and sought to develop a blockchain platform with a difference. The result of his pioneering is the product, Modex.
‘We wanted to offer blockchain as a service that would allow companies to more easily navigate crucial databases with ensured confidentiality and integrity. Through Modex, we wanted to allow executives to create a universal infrastructure that would not only improve business operations, but our lives as a whole’
As a ‘middleware solution’ that helps to prevent cybersecurity problems, Modex has since grown into a true business necessity. Both as ‘supplement’ in ‘connecting existing software applications and a tool in resolving ‘established data breaches’, Modex’s hybridity allows for clients to engage in a more ‘democratised approach’ when connecting to and from databases.
Above all, Mihai was committed to producing a technology that had true ‘social impact’ for all. He states that he was inspired to enhance digital connectivity across sectors that would palpably increase everyone’s quality of life, no matter their geography or enterprise. In his experience, the best way Mihai could utilise his skills as an entrepreneur was to gift this sense of ‘connectivity’ with the world:
‘I have always been inspired by extremely, extremely talented colleagues conducting important work within their respective fields. In observing them, I realised that the key characteristic for their success either lay in their skill as technicians or in their motivation to be innovators. It then became my mission in life to support these individuals by creating a business that would combine their ideas and advancements. I used this inspiration and my own skill as a connector to build a platform that would benefit everyone. That platform became Modex’
Modex: A Success Case for Blockchain in Healthcare
Mihai and his team discovered that particular social impact use for Modex was in the realm of healthcare. In their endeavour to improve health and data operations, the Modex team dedicated resources that would in time improve patient data management, privacy assurance and drug discovery and supply chain management.
There is tangible wisdom in Modex’s expansion into healthcare. At its core, blockchain lends itself very well to health applications. As analysts from Deloitte report, blockchain holds a ‘promise’ that ‘could unlock the true value of interoperability’ within public health:
‘Capitalising on this technology has the potential to connect fragmented systems to generate insights and to better assess the value of care.’
In particular, blockchain technology caters to the need to provide an optimised ‘value of care’ through heightened interconnection and, ultimately, a higher rate of positive patient outcomes. This promise to improve patient outcomes leads many healthcare leaders to predict blockchain’s rising relevance in the sector. According to an IBM survey, over 70% of its high-level health executive participants foresee blockchain’s mass utilisation in ‘clinical trial management, regulatory compliance’ and ‘patient data’ distribution. They see value in the decentralised frameworks that can be built with blockchain, which could further improve critical health information sharing across several geographies.
Due to this technology’s agility, blockchain has the capacity to build nationwide networks for electronic patient records, which will in time ‘improve efficiencies and support better health outcomes for patients’ (Deloitte). Above all, it instils a much needed sense of security and sensitivity regarding patient data privacy.
The will to protect patients is what drew Mihai towards innovating blockchain for the healthcare sector.
‘Transferring trust back into the medical space is something that is important to us at Modex. Health and well-being are among the most sensitive subjects for us as human beings, maybe the most important one. We wanted to place its importance at the core of what we do, and invest all of our efforts in making healthcare a more data secure environment’
Blockchain: The Solution for the COVID-19 Challenge?
Previously, many could only dream of the possibilities that a partnership between blockchain technology and healthcare could yield. It was difficult to envision a global health system that was not fragmented or split into a complex network of intermediaries.
Because of this fragmentation within healthcare, research and services were heavily siloed, clinical trials were inefficiently reported on, and the cost of drug discovery was unusually high. The results were felt most palpably in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, when global health scrambled to align their resources to cater to rising care needs.
Regarding the importance of access to critical patient or medical data, Mihai raises a salient point that plagues patients today.
‘It is scandalous that we don’t have an integrated patient records system in any countries. Without access to proper medical histories, both doctors and patients cannot collaborate to procure the correct and much needed treatments’
In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, many hospitals suffered because of this lack of patient data visibility and interconnectivity. Given the fact that supply and capacity crises will only worsen in a post-pandemic setting, hospitals need to look to solutions like Modex to mitigate the worst effects. To rise above this challenge, healthcare would benefit from the ubiquitous, interconnected and secure networks that blockchain technologies provide. Mihai elaborates on how Modex is helping healthcare to overcome systemic hurdles:
‘So, the first thing that we’re solving is giving digital ownership of medical records back to doctors and patients. With technology like ours, you can now carry your medical records, give express permissions to different parties to access them, all in real-time. This is something which is completely transformational for medical systems. Because of blockchain initiatives, patients can reclaim their own health records, on their own terms’
Overcoming Future Challenges
The future of healthcare looks uncertain, given the unprecedented pressures global systems now face. To protect it, Mihai believes that blockchain must be used to ensure its overall integrity. Additionally, he notes that blockchain applications like Modex will allow researchers and healthcare staff of the future to share critical advancements in ‘real-time’, without any barriers.
‘Blockchain innovations will help us secure health systems against future pandemics. The heightened collaboration and interoperability it allows between research institutions, hospitals and patients will only benefit us in the long run’
As the healthcare ecosystem continues to evolve, it is almost certain that healthcare providers worldwide will lean into the benefits of blockchain. Pioneering platforms like Modex will provide a necessarily agnostic approach that links health innovators with the patients who need their work the most.
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