How blockchain could transform the US prescription drug market

The Digital Health Summit at CES 2018 was a real eye opener for me this year. Many of the companies and speakers I see at other digital health conferences - where traditional pharma, biotech and medical device companies tend to gravitate to – were also attending the ‘consumer’ show – demonstrating that healthcare is being redefined and has moved from the doctor’s office to the home. It was evident by the number of sensor companies exhibiting, that knowledge of personal health data gathered from wearables (traditionally viewed as consumer devices) can be combined with medical data to generate a far more holistic understanding of the individual, which in turn can provide richer clinical trial data, driving toward the goal of precision medicine.

I was really glad to see a large emphasis on measuring, understanding and treating stress and sleep deprivation. Both conditions can contribute to chronic illness if left unchecked and gathering that information using wearables is the first step on the journey to understanding underlying causes. Of course being able to provide actionable insights using AI is the next step for managing health and wellbeing and we demonstrated this at our stand via the Thea demo which really does highlight how important a digital nudge can be ahead of perceived stress, in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Insight needs to be personalised and behavioural health was at the forefront of many companies offerings. I had the pleasure of using the Muse headgear which trains you to meditate, I used the NuCalm offering (I loved it so much I bought it at the show!) and the Lumen VR self-guided meditative experience was also launched by Time Inc.at the show.

Of course no show would be complete without talking about how blockchain is going to take over the world and I am no exception to this, having participated on a panel discussion with Mike Jacobs from Optum and Taha Jangda from HealthXVentures. For our clients, the need to use blockchain technology in assisting to identify counterfeit drugs and devices seems to be gaining a lot of traction, with initiatives like Mediledger paving the way. Likewise, addressing many issues of the US healthcare system – rife with litigation, non- transparent formularies and general administrative inefficiency – using blockchain technology, is an interesting space with all stakeholders trying to work out what is means for them. Check out our thoughts on this here.

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Author
Jaquie Finn
Head of Digital Health

With decades of experience in molecular biology, data science, product management, marketing and strategy, Jaquie has significant international business experience, particularly in APAC and the America's.