Blockchain in healthcare has been an area of immense interest to me. I believe that a system of records available real-time would solve a lot of the issues that we see in healthcare today. As part of my efforts to build consensus and understand how Blockchain can solve some of the issues in the healthcare ecosystem, I regularly connect with healthcare leaders through events, conferences, and forums.
Virtual Blockchain in Healthcare Symposium #VBIHS2020 is poised to be a platform where people related to the healthcare industry can gain in-depth knowledge on how blockchain can leverage the healthcare industry in present & future pandemics. It also convenes the necessary resources to drive systemic transformation and unleash the full potential of blockchain in the healthcare industry.
I am anticipating meeting around 10-15 healthcare leaders as part of the event, interacting across 4 sessions and ability to talk to more than 20 solution providers and influencers.
I am speaking on a panel on Healthcare ecosystem and how it can leverage Blockchain, but the other topics being discussed include
– Blockchain & Artificial intelligence,
– E-Health & M-Health
– Healthcare Data Exchange
– Pharma Supply chain
– Blockchain Applications
Below are some additional links for the event and I’m looking forward to meeting you all there.
Healthcare today has been adopting new technology like never before. As a result of this we have many significant developments in recent days. Let’s take for instance the adoption of telemedicine by both patients and care providers alike during the Covid 19 pandemic. It is significant to note how quickly the ecosystem moved ahead and adopted the new standards and today we have multiple consultations on telemedicine.
Similarly, the development of the Covid19 vaccine has been possible partially due to the increased collaboration between the scientific community made possible by digital technologies.
Blockchain has become a game changer in the healthcare industry. It is a foundational technology with capabilities that go way beyond the traditional IT stack. With features like immutability, digital identity, encryption and real time updates, Blockchain has many of the features that would help the industry evolve to the next level.
Last year Priyank Jani and I wrote a paper on Blockchain where we discussed how it could be implemented in the healthcare industry. Here is the link of the paper.
But before we go forward let me quickly discuss what is Blockchain.
Blockchain is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography. Each block contains, typically, a link to a previous block, a timestamp and transaction data. Transactions have to be approved by all users of the Blockchain to be stored and modifying an older block of data is impossible. Only updating of future records is permissible making the system secure (relatively speaking) and therefore reliable. This also means an entire Blockchain can serve as a secure ledger that records transactions, negating the need for multiple disparate trails of information.
We believe Indian healthcare has most to gain from the adoption of Blockchain technology. For starters, Blockchain allows all types of data to be integrated into the chain. This means one can add not just doctor prescriptions and treatment records but also nutrition information, fitness data, and recordings from medical devices (such as for blood pressure and diabetes patients) by patients themselves. Over time the presence of such longitudinal patient data means caregivers can better interpret disease symptoms and prescribe effective treatment that is customized to work for the patient. Currently, doctors rely on data from treating different patients to prescribe medication. The chances of success for such medication are about 50%. In many cases, doctors wait for feedback from patients to change the medication. With the availability of longitudinal patient data, doctors would know in advance what treatments are more likely to suit a patient in line with his/her health history.
If implemented over a large scale, Blockchain could help significantly lower healthcare costs in India. In addition, it can give multiple parties selective access to patient records ensuring data is not compromised. A survey report by IBM outlines the following healthcare areas benefiting from Blockchain: clinical trial records, patient health records, regulatory compliance, medical device data integration, treatment records, billing and claims, asset management (for hospital assets such as beds/ equipment available), and contract management (for hospitals).
I am really looking forward to the virtual Blockchain summit that is taking place on the 9h of December 2020. I plan to discuss with the various global leaders how Blockchain can be incorporated into the healthcare ecosystem. Do register if you are interested in discussing Blockchain and building a consensus in this area. The link for registration is here- Register | BlockChain in HealthCare
India has always been a spiritual nation. For the last 5000 years, we have believed that the source of our mental happiness and wellness is based on our spiritual way of life.
But the modern mechanical world has in a way disrupted that pattern and in the last 50 years, we have seen an increase in cases requiring mental wellness intervention. We also see an increase in cases where patients need counseling and therapy. While this is still an emerging trend it is believed that this year 2020, more than 20% of our po[ulation needs mental wellness interventions.
Covid19 has exposed the need for the same. It is believed that the number of people requiring treatment is almost 25% more than previously anticipated. Also, the infrastructure in terms of doctors, psychiatrists, and counselors is just not there. To discuss this and more Dr Sumeet Kad and I took up this issue in our third episode of India Health Talk. The link is below.
On the positive side, there is an increased awareness of the situation, also due to the rise of telemedicine, we would see an increase in the number of teleconsultations. However, the key is to increase awareness and not take your mental wellness for granted.
Just a few days ago I was on a webinar on Healthcare. The topic was the use of AI in Healthcare and the implications of Ethics in the same.
While all panelists spoke eloquently about the topic, I was trying to recall where have I seen AI in action in India. Unable to find too many instances, I spoke to my good friend and the editor of the New Age Healthcare Website Dr Sumeet Kad. Below is a recording of our interesting conversation.
On 15th March 2020, India had just crossed 100 cases. Italy was at 24.7k cases, US at 3.6k cases, Brazil had just gone past 200 cases, Germany had crossed 5.8k cases and Russia at just 63 cases. In the last two months even with varying amount of restrictions, COVID19 has still wrecked havoc in these countries and the world.
With India now sitting at the threshold of 100K cases, we look at the effect various lockdowns has had on the Covid19 situation in India. We also take a look at how the countries continue to recover from COVID19.
We dig further in to our classification of Indian States with a new methodology that scores the states basis various parameters.
Note: We have removed Korea and Sweden from the study to Include Brazil and Russia. This gives us a better representation of the top countries with respect to no of cases reported
India and The world
On the 62nd day after crossing 100 cases India has the second highest daily growth rate (7 Day Rolling Average). If we look at the table only Brazil is ahead of India
India has had 3 Lockdowns and we will start Lockdown 4.0 from tomorrow. These lockdowns have ensured that we have done much better in the number of reported cases than other countries in the study. But has the curve really flattened out? When we look at the other countries, we see that most of the countries have nearly managed to flatten the curve albeit at a very high number of reported cases. Currently on a logarithmic scale India, Russia and Brazil are showing strong signs of growing while other countries have a flat curve.USA, Italy and Iran have all flattened their curve. (Spain and France also show a flat curve though not included in the below graph)
For India, the lockdown has ensured that we miss the steep growth path of other countries but we are still poised to hit a huge number, albeit at a slower rate. This means we have just prolonged our battle with the disease.
Although, India may seem to be trending towards a higher number of cases all may not be lost. India is doing well in terms of its recovery rate and outcome percentage.
Recovery Rate, i.e. no of people recovered by total outcomes continues to improve for the world and for India. India’s recovery rate has now crossed 90%. For the world it stands at 85%. The other countries in the study have also improved their recovery rate
Recovery rate should be studied along with the outcome curve, i.e. how many cases have had an outcome with respect to active cases. For e.g Russia has a 96% recovery rate but 76% of the cases still await an outcome. Similarly Iran has a 93% recovery rate at a 85% outcome rate which more or less signifies the actual recovery rate for the country.
India has a good recovery rate with a decent outcome%.
Net Active Cases
Net Active Cases = Total Cases – (Cases Recovered+Total Deaths)
India’s Net Active cases are at just a little above 53K. Except for Iran and Germany, all the other countries are much ahead of India. With India’s high recovery rate, it clearly shows that India is also recovering at a much higher pace than the other countries.
India has also seen a declining trend in the net active case added each day. In the past seven days we have added around 1700 net active cases per day compared to higher than 1900 net active cases in the week before.
This is a positive sign for the Indian Medical Fraternity as the reducing number of new active cases added does prevent the medical system from getting overwhelmed.
Lockdown Effect on India
When we take a look at the effect lockdown had on our growth rates, it can be observed that lockdown 1 certainly slowed us down, but lockdown 2 and lockdown 3 failed to have the desired effect of flattening the curve.
If we look at the Indian States, Maharashtra has had no effect in the lockdown. Its contribution to the cases in fact has grown during the three lockdowns.
Similarly Delhi is another state that has been contributing heavily during the lockdowns showing minimal effect of the lockdown.
We have changed the methodology of classification of states (Good, States to be Watched and Worry States) from May onwards. We were classifying the states on the basis of their 7DAGR only. Now we have also included the following to arrive at a weighted score
Total Cases Reported
Basis these parameters we have arrived at a group of
States to be Watched
The Good States
As on 16th May 2020, the following states qualify as the Good States. These states are characterized by low growth rates, low cases/million, higher Outcome% and high recovery rates.
Haryana – Haryana has seen a recent spike in cases most of which are related to Delhi. Haryana, despite being surrounded by Delhi, UP, Punjab and Rajasthan (All these states have high number of cases) has done very well in terms of new cases. The Growth rate is below 4% and with aggressive testing it has maintained a low positive percentage also.
Jammu And Kashmir – This state saw a huge spurt in cases during the first lockdown. Most of the cases here were either linked to the religious event in Delhi or pilgrims returning from Iran. The state was once a worry state and now has come in the good states
Karnataka – There has been spurts seen in state but overall the state has maintained its low positive percentage and cases/million. The recovery rate is a bit lower compared to its peers but with outcome% also below 50%, the recovery rate may go up.
Kerala – This state was on its way to 100% recovery but with the return of Migrant Populations and Expats, there has been a minor spurt of cases. It will be interesting to see whether Kerala is able to control its cases as it had done previously.
Punjab – Punjab had more or less weathered the COVID19 storm in the first two lockdowns, but a sudden upsurge of cases from the last week of April saw Punjab come in the “Emerging Bad” category in my last article. But it has been an aberration due to infected pilgrims returning from Nanded and Punjab has controlled the situation well, to move in to the good states.
Jharkand – Less number of tests, but lesser cases and growth rate puts this state among the good states.
States to be watched
These states are those states that have either started showing a positive trend i.e. moving from a Worry State to a Good State or a negative trend i.e. moving from a Good State to a Worry State.
Andhra Pradesh – This state is on the way down and will probably move towards the good states in a day or two if the trend continues.
Madhya Pradesh – Another state on the way down. This state was showing alarming trends during the month of April and was a worry state. It has still not completely slowed down but is definitely on its way down
Odisha – This was an encouraging state but recent trends show a very huge growth rate and will probably move to a Worry State soon.
Rajashtan – Another state that was showing huge growth numbers in April has slowed down very well. It had moved down to a good state but another spurt of cases moved it back to States to be watched
Telangana – We are not sure of the numbers for this state as they have stopped reporting number of tests done. Hence we are keeping this state as a state to watch
Uttar Pradesh – Like Rajashtan, UP was also supposed to burst with cases. But UP has maintained its trend, although a lot more testing needs to still happen in UP.
The Worry States
The States that add most to the growth of the Indian cases have been categorized as the worry states. These states have high number of cases, a higher penetration of cases in the population, a high positive% and low outcome%.
Bihar – We had categorized this as an “Emerging Bad” State in our last article. It has now turned as a worry state. It has poor testing, a high growth rate and a low outcome%. This state may become a major problem especially with the migrant population traveling back.
Delhi – Delhi has tested a lot but it still has a high positive% and a high penetration rate. Delhi had slowed very well but with opening up of the wholesale market, cases have started zooming up again.
Gujarat – Gujarat was showing signs of slow down but still has a long way to go before it comes into a good state. high number of cases, poor recovery rate along with a sub 5% growth rate is making this state a huge worry for India.
Maharashtra – The state that refuses to slow down. Even after 54 days of crossing 100 cases the states growth rate of cases is still above 6%. This state has not slowed down once and daily number of cases have just shown an increasing trend. This is the most worrisome state in India, more so because of poor recovery rate also.
Tamil Nadu – A Covid19 explosion in one of its market turned this good state in to a huge worry state for India. This state is seeing a resurgence in cases after it was able to contain very well the effect of the religious event in Delhi, surge. The good part is that recovery rate is very high but still outcome% is very low.
West Bengal – Poor testing, High Growth Rate, very bad recovery rate along with questionable data sharing makes this state a time bomb. This state may explode or already has but we do not have the data for it.
In all, these worry states have to slow down. If they slow down and go below 4% India will see a reduction in cases. Also we should hope that in the coming days the list of Good States increases and worry states keeps going down.
CPM19 – The Road Ahead
On 2nd May, we predicted 75K cases for India by 17th May. There was another projection that the model made which showed more than 100K cases which was rejected as we were quite hopeful that growth trend would stabilize and we will not cross 3000 cases added per day.
This has not really happened and India has infact overshot our number by at least 18k cases. Nevertheless we will still try to predict the number for 31st May using this model.
We have used the CPM model to predict the growth trend for the states basis their classification as The Good State, States to be Watched and The Worry States. The prediction shows that by end of May we may very well be close to 150K cases. That’s another 60K cases in the next 15 days. The good news is that we may start showing a slow down in new cases reported after reaching a peak of close to 4900 cases per day. This may mean that we might start flattening the curve by end of this month.
If our prediction holds true we may see a step towards the end of this pandemic in India although as we said before the road to recovery is a very long one. Also as India continues to ease the lockdown the road ahead may still be very bumpy.
About the Author
Sanjeev Prakash is an Analytics and Marketing professional with more than 12 years of experience in Analytics, Data Management, Sales, Brand Management, Corporate Communications, Market Research and Customer Relationship Management. Sanjeev has an MBA from IMT Ghaziabad and a degree in economics.