Integrating Blockchains Into an Existing Medical Project: Stepping Into the Future
With a helping hand from Satoshi Nakamoto and due to the first results of implementation outside of cryptocurrencies realm, the blockchain technology has for a long time secured its position on top news headlines. Medicine is one of the industries that employ actively the cutting edge tech.
Blockchain and New Possibilities
Possible blockchain use-cases in medicine:
- collection and storage of the patients’ data subject to confidentiality compliance and in an immutable condition;
The volumes of the data handled by medical institutions are huge: patients’ health records, analytics, and information collected and processed using various electronic devices. A reliable system to store and organize the data flow is extremely essential.
Any information leakage, omission or falsification of facts as well as any mess in the data flow management may turn out to be especially critical in this area. Every patient is eager to be sure that his/her health records are securely protected and accessible for those only who have relevant powers and authority.
The blockchain technology appears to be the best solution for the above tasks.
- tracking medicine supplies;
The results of the technology implementation in logistics at the current stage do impress:
Walmart, IBM, and Chinese Tsinghua University have tested using blockchain for tracking the food products as they are delivered through the supply chain to shop shelves. The test results in Walmart demonstrated that tracking the way of mango pack from a farming site to a store reduced from SEVERAL DAYS OR WEEKS, as usually, to TWO seconds.
In terms of supplies of high-quality medicines and tracking their producers and consumers such time difference will facilitate significantly regulation of the medicinal products turnover and allow taking timely measures in case of detecting any non-conformance with standards or norms.
Along with speeding up the tracking procedure the blockchain technology may turn into a useful aid in fighting the counterfeit products. If the original medicine manufacturers use a unified blockchain-based system, this will allow rapid and precise checking the manufacturing data for each package, i.e. to verify its genuineness.
- making up a list of doctors with their rating according to patients and colleagues;
Creating an unbiased blockchain-based whitelist of doctors and health care workers that cannot be retroactively edited and is accessible for the infrastructure participants, will make it much easier for the patient to choose an expert and at the same time will additionally encourage those who are truly committed to their work.
One of our projects covered the development of two applications: the first was intended for the patients to choose the price, date, and doctor, while the doctors, in their turn, use the app intended especially for them in order to accept the patients’ terms to schedule appointments/surgeries. For the users of such an app, the access to the blockchain-based whitelist would make the choice much easier.
- payment by insurance companies;
smart contracts will contribute to increasing the speed of processes and inspiring trust between the medical institutions and the insurance companies. The insurer receives from the blockchain the confirmation of the treatment being really conducted and successfully completed. And the medical institution having fulfilled the terms of the contract receives automatically payment for its services.
Blockchain Integration Into Project
Any modifications of the kind require definite efforts and investments and imply definite risks but will lead to tangible results.
To give you the general idea of the development-related process, we offer a universal flow diagram used by our team as a basis for integrating the blockchain technology into the existing products.
Irrespective of the aim to be achieved through blockchain usage: either to assure crowd-funding or as the distributed ledger or to interact with IoT, the first step is to build a smart contract.
Not only in the course of building the real business relations we start with defining the subject, parties and terms and conditions of the agreement, but also for the smart contracts the obligatory conditions shall be as follows:
- platform for creating decentralized services based on the blockchain technology to run the smart contract;
- parties that perform the contract and use the electronic signature procedure to express consent to the contract terms and conditions;
- subject of the contract and tools required to perform it;
- algorithm that defines the logic of the contract item performance, i.e. the actual terms for fulfilling the contract.
1. Writing smart contract in Solidity
Solidity is a Turing complete cross-platform programming language intended for creating smart contracts. Solidity is used on the Ethereum platform, which in its turn was designed as a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts. The code includes the contract terms and its implementation means the sequential execution of the code blocks. The user may address the code through an app and get an access subject to the appropriate authorization.
2. Conducting testing
At the next stage the smart contract passes a number of tests and security check. Along with testing the specific nature of creating smart contracts in Solidity shall be taking into account as early as in the process of coding: for example, protection against reentrancy attacks.
3. Deploying contract to Ethereum
Having made sure that the contract is protected, we deploy it directly to Ethereum. Your smart contract will remain on the platform forever unless it is programmed for self-destruction.
Smart contracts may also be created based on Bitcoin platform but it was not cut out for the job and, correspondingly, offers fewer possibilities as well as other blockchains. Therefore it may serve as a basis for simpler smart contracts only.
4. Starting microservice with XML RPC protocol
The next step is to set up the interaction of our infrastructure and Ethereum using a microservice run with XML RPC protocol. The protocol is intended for applications used in the networks with various platforms and in various languages to manage the remote data and apps. At the same time, it is easily modified for the specific tasks.
5. Creating logic
After that the business logic is to be realized based on the contract developed: integration is complete.
On the average, the integration process requires from 2 weeks.
But any business-process is a delicate matter. Every case is estimated based on the specific conditions. Umbrella IT team has already learned it from the client success stories. Each new project is a new case with its own targets, value system and challenges. As result of our cooperation you get not just a code, but the apps that do work in lockstep with your business-processes!