Visiting a new healthcare facility can be tedious, as you typically need to fill out multiple forms and go through repetitive questioning about your medical history. Healthcare facilities need to strike a delicate balance between efficiency and patient privacy, and unfortunately, patients are often left at the losing end, experiencing a lack of streamlined processes.
Fortunately, blockchain technology emerges as a potential solution to address this issue. By implementing role-based rules for the different stakeholders that are involved in the patient’s care, the blockchain enables improved efficiency and enhanced privacy. The transparent nature of blockchain ensures that each participant understands their roles, and has access only to the necessary data required to fulfill their responsibilities effectively.
With extensive experience in healthcare roles, Pradeep Goel, CEO at Solve.Care, recognized the potential of blockchain to improve communication and transactions among healthcare stakeholders. KrASIA recently spoke with Goel to learn more about the benefits of blockchain technology in healthcare and future trends in improving patient outcomes.
The following interview has been edited and consolidated for brevity and clarity.
KrASIA (Kr): What are some specific use cases of blockchain technology in healthcare that Solve.Care has implemented or is currently working on?
Pradeep Goel (PG): Solve.Care has successfully implemented care networks to address different healthcare needs, including diabetes management and caring for patients at high risk of recurrent heart attacks. Both networks involve close collaboration among various stakeholders to ensure coordinated care. The blockchain enables us to establish clear roles, responsibilities, and access rights for each stakeholder in the healthcare ecosystem. Smart contracts enhance transparency, accountability, and care quality, while mitigating legal risks and minimizing missed care opportunities.
Additionally, we are building a solution for individuals to discuss mental health concerns without disclosing their identity by using the SOLVE token for payments to ensure non-traceability. Nevertheless, any consent required can still be obtained in a decentralized and zero-knowledge manner, so the patient’s identity is still protected.
Patients can access all of these healthcare networks via the Care.Wallet, allowing them to have better control over their data throughout their healthcare journey.
While we offer these specific solutions, our platform allows clients to design their own use cases, including insurance enrollment, employee wellness, kidney care, and more. The possibilities for utilizing our platform in the healthcare industry are extensive, with hundreds of potential use cases.
Kr: How does blockchain technology make healthcare more cost-effective for providers, administrators, hospitals, and patients?
PG: The current healthcare system suffers from duplication, redundant practices, and excessive control measures. However, blockchain technology has the potential to address these inefficiencies through secure, role-based interactions.
This approach helps prevent errors by establishing clear responsibilities for each participant, reducing the likelihood of unnecessary complaints and legal disputes. With blockchain, payments can occur in real-time, ensuring that patients only pay for services rendered at the time of delivery. Additionally, it offers improved coordination of benefits and payments among various stakeholders, such as insurance companies and government entities, streamlining healthcare processes.
Another area that blockchain technology can improve healthcare delivery is by enabling seamless interoperability between different entities and systems. This becomes particularly valuable in the process of transferring and referring patients between hospitals. With blockchain, the receiving hospital gains access to comprehensive information about the patient’s medical history and previous tests conducted, allowing them to understand any deviations from the established care protocol. This reduces the occurrence of errors, minimizes expenses, and mitigates risks associated with incomplete or inaccurate patient information.
Kr: Patient data security is a significant concern in healthcare. How does Solve.Care leverage blockchain technology to ensure the security and privacy of patient data?
PG: To address data security concerns in healthcare, we have developed a blockchain-based vault ledger system. When two parties exchange data, it is stored on the blockchain, where both parties possess reading keys. Data access is granted by exchanging keys, allowing patients and healthcare providers to access each other’s data while retaining ownership and control.
Consent is required for sharing data with third parties, enabling patients to track data access. The wallet serves as a breadcrumb trail, allowing patients to monitor who has accessed their medical records and providing the ability to block data access beyond certain roles.
Our blockchain solution employs a consent model that is based on shared keys, with relationship walls defining data access permissions, such as those between the patient and doctor. Mistakes are minimized as relationship rules govern data access, and zero-knowledge proofs enforce rules without revealing personal identities.
Our aim is to empower patients with control over their data while providing healthcare providers with the necessary information for proper care.
Kr: With the increasing adoption of blockchain technology in healthcare, what challenges or resistance have you encountered from healthcare organizations or regulatory bodies?
PG: When we started Solve.Care six years ago, there was confusion surrounding the blockchain, with many associating it solely with Bitcoin. After engaging in productive discussions with major healthcare players to clarify that blockchain adoption doesn’t require involvement in cryptocurrencies, we have seen that most stakeholders better understand the broader utility of blockchain.
Addressing regulatory compliance posed another challenge, which we overcame by establishing a robust governance and regulatory compliance system. We link roles to specific countries, allowing us to align our governance model with country-specific regulations. For instance, a doctor in Singapore can interact with a patient in Japan, with both parties abiding by their respective country’s laws.
Collaboration requires consent from each party, and our platform prioritizes compliance with multinational laws. We offer extensive configurability by role and wallet, ensuring granular control over data, while emphasizing patient protection and adherence to regulations such as GDPR (EU), HIPAA (US), and the Patient Privacy Act (Singapore).
As we expand into new countries, we ensure that our role-specific smart contracts align with their regulations. Our platform enables relationships between patients and doctors worldwide, governed by roles within the same blockchain network.
Kr: How do you foresee the future trends of blockchain technology in the healthcare sector?
PG: I believe that the blockchain excels at data control, in particular for consent, privacy, and identity verification. As AI technologies advance and mobile computing becomes more powerful, these technologies will converge with blockchain to bring healthcare closer to individuals. The goal is to provide a hospital-like experience that is easily accessible to patients through their mobile devices within the next five years.
With the entire system being interoperable between healthcare facilities, patients can benefit from being anywhere in the world — whether on a cruise ship, at home, or in a remote area — and still be connected to a doctor located on a different continent. This seamless connectivity ensures that patients’ data is efficiently transferred to the doctor, eliminating the need for repetitive explanations or medical histories. Furthermore, Web3 technologies provide users with greater control over their data, while the transparent nature of the blockchain ensures accountability.
The centralized institutional care model is expected to disappear, and care will be delivered directly to patients wherever they are, whenever they need it, and with the right quality. This overarching mission will guide the use of blockchain, Web3, machine learning, AI, and other technologies.