11 Nov 2020

MedTech Wednesday: health tech innovations using blockchain to create new standards

MedTech Wednesday is our weekly check-in here at Spreckley, where we share all the most interesting and useful healthcare innovation and health technology news and trends.

This week, we look at the latest health tech innovations using blockchain to create new standards for digital identity in healthcare, a new commission exploring the role of tech in social care and the latest medical supplies delivery drone initiatives receiving funding.


Blockchain and digital identity in healthcare

Many start-ups and developers are working hard to try to create new standards for digital identity in healthcare, with reporting this week on health tech company Lumedic’s efforts “to streamline the exchange of patient data and remove bottlenecks in the larger healthcare system using blockchain technology.”

“The Seattle-based company, acquired last year by Providence St. Joseph Health, named Mastercard, Providence, and Cambia Health Solutions as initial partners in the effort. The company announced the initiative, dubbed the Lumedic Exchange, Tuesday morning.

“The approach leverages secure digital wallets on patients’ mobile devices, letting them control their healthcare information, and determine how and with whom it can be shared. Data is stored in a private and secure blockchain, the immutable ledger technology best known for powering Bitcoin and other forms of cryptocurrency.”

Mike Nash, the Lumedic CEO told them: “It’s exciting if it gets to scale. The challenge is that it’s hard to get there. I think the standards approach is a necessity for us to get the right groundswell. Otherwise, I don’t know how you change an industry like healthcare overnight.”


Exploring the role of tech in social care

A new joint commission has been launched to explore the role of technology in a reformed social care system, reports this week.

Sponsored by Tunstall Healthcare in Doncaster, the new commission will present key recommendations to the Government in March 2021.

“The commission will create a powerhouse of influential figures in adult social care, health, and housing, including local authority directors of adult social services, chief executives from councils, care and housing bodies, and leaders from NHSX, the Department of Health and Social Care, the Local Government Association, and leading TEC suppliers.

“Tunstall has invested heavily in the development of a range of technology solutions that can support vulnerable people in their community, enabling early interventions to avoid the need for more-complex care.”

Gordon Sutherland, chief executive at Tunstall Healthcare, said: “Technology has a key role to play in increasing the capacity of our health and social care services and enabling flexibility in the way care is delivered.

“This will make care more proactive and predictive, and help to address future challenges. Technology is an enabler and to avoid the devastating effects seen during COVID-19 we must create more resilience within the system.”


New medical supplies drones get funding

Drones that deliver medical supplies may well become a regular feature of future healthcare and medical supplies delivery systems, as reports this week.

“The government has announced the first wave of winners receiving government funding for ground-breaking aviation projects solving major global challenges.

“Business Minister Nadhim Zahawi revealed that the 20 winning ideas will receive a share of £7 million funding, with one successful project seeing investment provided to Dock-to-Dock, based in Cardiff, which is developing a pilot project to deliver goods between Bristol and Cardiff using a hydrogen-powered electric aircraft, and further funding for APIAN Limited, based in Essex, which is creating and building a drone to deliver medical supplies like coronavirus blood and swab tests between NHS hospitals and labs in response to the pandemic, protecting key NHS staff and the wider public from coronavirus transmission.”

Nadhim Zahawi said of the latest medical supplies drone initiatives: “As the UK leads the way in the aviation revolution, these bold proposals showcase the pioneering spirit of the UK’s aerospace and aviation industries in solving global issues, and those facing us here in the UK.

“Today we have announced over £7 million of funding for projects across the country which demonstrate how using the latest and most cutting-edge aviation technologies can step up our response to the coronavirus pandemic, help us build back better and cement our well-earned reputation for research and development excellence, while creating hundreds of new jobs.”