Blockchain

Blockchain Tech Holds the Answer for the Prescription Drug Crisis

Aayush Jindal | January 7, 2018 | 8:38 pm
blockmedx
Blockchain

Blockchain Tech Holds the Answer for the Prescription Drug Crisis

Aayush Jindal | January 7, 2018 | 8:38 pm

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), overdose deaths involving prescription opioids were five times higher in 2016 than 1999. In that seventeen year period, over 200,000 Americans have died from opioid-related prescription overdoses. Every day, more than 1,000 patients are treated in emergency rooms and emergency departments for misusing prescription opioids.

One of the main reasons that the prescription drug crisis has gotten so bad is overprescription. One source notes, “Painkiller abuse is particularly on the rise in adolescents who mislead prescribing physicians.” The problem also exists with elderly patients and other legitimate prescription drug users, who sometimes use their access to opioids to supplement their incomes. The sad truth is that “Medicaid patients… can receive medications with a street value of up to $20,000 for a total out-of-pocket price less than $5 monthly.” With easy access and the ability to make a sizeable profit, it’s no wonder that prescription drug use is out of control.

Unfortunately, existing methods don’t do a good job of dealing with over-prescription. The CDC estimates that the U.S.’s total spend on prescription drug abuse is $78.5 billion a year. This includes healthcare costs, productivity losses, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement. But regulatory bodies have been unable to prevent overprescribing from happening.

One reason for this is the inadequacy of prescription tracking methods. The current system relies on trust–between the patient and his or her prescriber, between the prescriber and the pharmacy, and between the pharmacy and the patient. Handwritten, paper-based prescriptions can be easily forged, falsely signed, and altered. Doctors are often unaware that patients have seen multiple physicians in order to receive opioid treatment for the same problem. The entire system is in dire need of an overhaul.

Thankfully, one blockchain startup, BlockMedx, is in process of developing a proprietary platform that could stop the prescription drug crisis dead in its tracks. The platform gets rid of outdated handwritten prescriptions and provides a way for all parties to record an unchangeable history of prescriptions.

BlockMedx and the Advantages of a Blockchain Powered Prescription System

The BlockMedx platform runs on the Ethereum blockchain, which provided a cryptographically secure way to transmit prescriptions. The platform provides a way for physicians, pharmacies, and individual patients to interact on a purely electronic and trustless basis. This will ensure greater accountability and transparency for the duration of the prescription process.

Physicians, whenever they see a patient, will be able to access their own prescribing history in addition to the prescription history of the said patient. This is because, on the BlockMedx platform, each prescription is logged on the blockchain. So, when a physician needs to prescribe a drug, he or she will issue new prescriptions by filling out an electronic form. Using a unique verification method, the physician, and the physician alone will be able to sign and transmit the prescription. The issue will be in the pending state until BlockMedx signs the prescription on the blockchain. Once this is done, it is approved and added to the ledger.

Each pharmacy that uses the platform will be presented with a unique queue of approved prescriptions from physicians. The pharmacy will be presented the prescription information and can view the patient’s prescription history. This adds another layer of accountability, in addition to the physician’s ability to track patients’ histories.The pharmacy will have the ability to accept or reject each prescription in their queue. If a prescription is valid, an employee will sign a confirmation of the receipt, and then the patient can pick up the prescription. From beginning to end, the prescription history is logged on the blockchain, allowing third parties like government entities or regulators to better track and crack down on prescription abuses.

Each pharmacy that uses the platform will be presented with a unique queue of approved prescriptions from physicians. The pharmacy will be presented the prescription information and can view the patient’s prescription history. This adds another layer of accountability, in addition to the physician’s ability to track patients’ histories.

The pharmacy will have the ability to accept or reject each prescription in their queue. If a prescription is valid, an employee will sign a confirmation of the receipt, and then the patient can pick up the prescription. From beginning to end, the prescription history is logged on the blockchain, allowing third parties like government entities or regulators to better track and crack down on prescription abuses.

The entire platform operates with MDX tokens, from the prescription issue all the way to patient pickup. This enables a secure, electronic method of payment, creating accountability while also protecting individual identities. With these features, the BlockMedx platform is shaping up to be an exciting development that can forever change the way drugs are prescribed.

Tags:
  • Fanie Hendriksz

    Great innovation! We could also use this for ARV’s in Africa to avoid theft and duplication

NewsBTC is a news service that covers bitcoin news, technical analysis & forecasts for bitcoin and other altcoins. Here at NewsBTC, we are dedicated to enlightening people all around the world about bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. We cover news related to bitcoin exchanges, bitcoin mining and price forecasts for various virtual currencies.

Get the app

Featuring live charts, price analysis, breaking news, currency converter and more. The only bitcoin app you need!