With the support of the Health Ministry, the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (MOSTI) and MIMOS Bhd have initiated a vaccine tracing project using blockchain technology at the proof-of-concept level on 2nd March 2021.
Vaccine tracing can be used not only for the COVID-19 vaccine, but also for other vaccines or drugs in Malaysia, according to its Deputy Minister, Datuk Ahmad Amzad Hashim.
Begins at Manufacturer
“It will begin with a series for each prescription, with tracing from the manufacturer to the supply chain as well as to the doctor who dispenses the medication, and the person who receives it.
The framework is said to be able to be used in building a Digital Health Credential that follows international requirements, such as a CommonPass, which is backed by the World Economic Forum and the Rockefeller Foundation, to make travel and cross-border movements easier,” he said in a statement.
Global Scale and Couple of Billion Ringgit Worth
One of the uses of blockchain technology is to monitor the movement of drugs, which is projected to be worth around US$500 million (RM2.044 billion) by 2022 on a global scale.
The blockchain can be used in insurance claims and reviews, healthcare worker identification, drug and equipment supply chains, self-health assessments and health data sharing, as well as study and clinical assessments.
Blockchain can be used to check the veracity of drugs, providing evidence of the medication from manufacturer to use.
Helps Increase Medical Productivity
According to Ahmad Amzad, blockchain will increase access to patients’ medical records which currently has drawbacks since electronic records in one hospital database are not communicating with its counterparts in another hospital database due to discrepancies in procedures and equipment requirements, resulting in a low level of productivity between hospitals.
“It (blockchain) not only puts ownership of your health data in your hands, but it also cuts down on the time it takes to get accurate treatment,” he said.
Increasing Quality of Medical Insurance Claims
He believes that the same principle will help boost the quality of medical insurance claims in which a patient must negotiate with multiple physicians, clinics, and hospitals, allowing their medical records to be scattered through multiple locations.
“Parking medical records in blockchains with proper access not only allows insurance providers to access them quicker, but it also helps to reduce the number of scams,” he said.
Blockchain’s Potential in Other Industries
According to Ahmad Amzad, blockchain technology can be used in a variety of fields, including agriculture, fisheries, health, education, and a variety of other fields that can help the country’s socioeconomic level.
He went on to say that blockchain can be thought of as a distributed and decentralised database that can be shared by a group of users with encryption that would be used to keep the data secure.
“The combination of these features offers a unique opportunity for blockchain users in different fields and will spur the country’s socio-economic growth,” he concluded.