Blockchain is a network managed database. The full content of this database is stored in every computer of the network, which can be public, private or a hybrid network. This model of data distribution is the first feature and benefit of using Blockchain: security. To hack and tamper with records would require hacking multiple servers and computers at the same time, which makes it highly unlikely and very costly.
The cost of healthcare is rising yearly due to high demands on health prevention and diagnosis, unmet patient needs, an increase of an older population, costs of new drug development, an increase in chronic diseases and other factors.
The pharmaceutical and healthcare industries are complex. These industries need the cooperation of multiple stakeholders to comply with highly regulated environments that ultimately seek to ensure patients’ safety. All aspects of the production of new medicines including, among other things, clinical trials, manufacturing and distribution, have strict regulatory and ethical guidelines to which both industries must adhere to. The complexity and the lack of transparency, coordination and trust are big challenges in this context. This is where blockchain could provide solutions by reducing the costs of healthcare, drug development processes, and time of delivery of the drugs to patients with unmet needs. The PharmaLedger consortium will drive early adoption of disruptive blockchain-based digitisation technology, with key industry participants joining forces to build a comprehensive solution for improving the quality of healthcare. The pharmaceutical industry has come together in the PharmaLedger consortium in order to explore blockchain technology’s application to these real-world challenges. Specifically, supply chain, health data exchange in the marketplace and clinical trials.
Blockchain, or Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), is the key technical concept behind PharmaLedger. DLT is a method of building a network where trust, transparency, immutability and privacy can be ensured while data control remains decentralised.
Blockchain is designed to group data into blocks and assign them to a permanent sequence of records. To do that, every block of data carries the cryptographic signature of the previous block, organising the database in a “chain of blocks”. This special way of recording data is what enables full traceability of records.
In a blockchain, information is stored using advanced encryption. A complex mathematical puzzle known as Hash Function makes each block a unique signature based on its original content. A change in the content, even if only an added comma or single letter, would result in a change of the unique signature, making the record invalid. This feature is what makes data stored in a blockchain immutable or tamper-proof.
Smart Contracts are the digital version of an agreement or natural language contract. It is smart because it is self-executed and self-enforced based on terms pre-defined by the contracting parties.
Basically anything! But it is mostly helpful in the digital exchange of anything of value, such as money, property, shares, data etc. in a transparent way. This also eliminates the need for an intermediary or middleman.
A hash function is any function that can be used to map data of arbitrary size to fixed-size values. The values returned by a hash function are called hash values, hash codes, digests, or simply hashes.
A verifiable credential is a set of tamper-evident claims and metadata that cryptographically prove who issued it. Examples of verifiable credentials include digital employee identification cards, digital birth certificates, and digital educational certificates.
Source – www.w3.org