Written by Becky Ali, Blockchain Analyst at AlliedBlock.com
Clinical trials management is currently undergoing challenges with patient data privacy, data security and patient recruitment. All of these factors impact the quality of research outcomes. Blockchain has the potential to provide a integrative, secure and decentralized space to address these hurdles and add some real value to the clinical trial management process.
Blockchain has the capacity to facilitate clinical trial management as it brings all the stakeholders involved together to manage and collaborate on complex data sets in a safe and secure environment. Pre‑specified trial start and end points can be entered onto the blockchain system and the clinical trial research outcomes along the chain could be recorded and evaluated in real time. Once these data points are put in the system, it cannot be altered by other owners.
Blockchain can also be utilized to track which given pharmaceutical goes to which patient. This helps to ensure that the trial patients are receiving the appropriate product as blockchain provides a full view of the entire supply chain from the manufacturer right to the end consumer across the globe.
Different blockchain platforms have unique sets of advantages in trial management: a public blockchain would allow automated regulatory filings, streamlined patient consent and data transparency while private blockchains enable increased patient data protection and security.
Pharmaceutical companies are facing new regulatory frameworks making it important to balance speed to market with acceptable, responsible, and high standard clinical trials. This balance between speed and quality demands improved database management. This is where blockchain’s initial use cases in the space are catering, as a business solution towards improved database management providing mobility across the chain by offering improved interoperability and transferability.
Moreover, blockchain provides faster patient recruitment across the system saving time and money in the trial process. This directly translates into faster go-to-market cycles for innovative life-saving drugs. Established players in the pharmaceutical industry: Pfizer, Sanofi and Amgen are collaboratively exploring blockchain solutions for clinical trial management specifically focusing in the area of patient recruitment.
Another avenue of innovation being explored is utilizing the blockchain to incentivize enrolled patients with digital tokens. By completing information on lets say the patient profile or surveys, the patient could be rewarded with digital tokens to get benefits such as medicine discounts, co-payments, etc.
As per a study by IBM, 16% of healthcare executives plan to introduce a commercial blockchain solution this year, while 56% are expected to do so by 2020. The key driving factor being the importance of managing the exchange of data among multiple stakeholders while ensuring data integrity and research credibility.
Blockchain technology aims to counter medical errors and improve the handling of critical health data in a safe and secure way. Right now, the technology lacks industry standards and requires strong buy-in from stakeholders who currently control the data. However, the new reality that’s being explored is of huge value and has the capacity to combat some of the most inefficient aspects of health data and clinical trial management all in a time of growing regulatory restrictions.
AlliedBlock is a global blockchain research and development firm that is focused on delivering tailored blockchain development solutions. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you tailor a blockchain solution for your business (www.alliedblock.com).
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Healthcare rallies for blockchains: Keeping patients at the center