Vnesheconombank and Novgorod Region Government Launch Russia’s First Blockchain-Based Project to Monitor Subsidised Medications

Vnesheconombank and the Novgorod Region Government have announced the results of the first stage of the blockchain-based pilot project to monitor the use of subsidised medications. The solution was demonstrated at the largest local hospital, the Novgorod Region Clinical Hospital.

Blockchain technology makes it possible to keep a detailed record of all stages of the doctor-to-patient relationship from the time of seeking medical advice, receiving a diagnosis and undergoing inpatient treatment to being released from hospital and buying subsidised medications from pharmacies. The data of the entire Prescription–Pharmacy–Patient logistics chain will be entered into the system and processed using blockchain technology, which will ensure integrity. Validating the use of subsidised medications will substantially reduce the risk of counterfeiting and mitigate the effects of human error. Additionally, records management will enable medical institutions to optimise their budgets by generating accurate information about medications used by every patient. The first stage of the pilot project involves putting into operation an electronic system providing all patients with access to data on their personal prescriptions, the availability of prescribed medications under the subsidisation programme and, in the future, the possibility of obtaining medications from regional pharmacies.

“The blockchain is a young technology. We travel a lot around the world, we study global experience, and I can say that Russia is a leader. This is possible due to the support of federal and regional authorities. When Sergey Gorkov and Andrey Nikitin came up with a project for subsidised medications six months ago, they knew that the project would involve not only technology but also society. The project affects human health and quality of life, and Vnesheconombank gave careful attention to this idea: we wanted to see how blockchain technology would work in the social sphere. I should note that the combined efforts of the Novgorod Region Governor, Ministry of Healthcare and hospital personnel were of great help to us and let us complete the initial stages of the project ahead of schedule,” Vnesheconombank’s Senior Vice-President for Innovation Gleb Yun said.

The test operation of the Novgorod Region Clinical Hospital project shows how a monitoring system for prescriptions and medications can be integrated into the IT infrastructure of healthcare centres. The next stage is to extend the project to regional pharmacies. The project is scheduled for completion in late 2018. The project’s results will form the basis for the decision on similar projects in the region and elsewhere.

“It is a technology of absolute data integrity; any false information is impossible. The patient will see what, when and how much is prescribed. This excludes any unacceptable data modification and makes the distribution of medications transparent and reliable,” Novgorod Region Governor Andrey Nikitin told a press conference, adding that the partnership between the region and Vnesheconombank proved that the most advanced solutions could be used in the provinces.

“The healthcare model must ensure patient-focused care. Blockchains are secure by design and resistant to data modification. Blockchain technology can boost patient confidence and provide patients with access to information about their treatment. We saw today how medical practitioners, nurses and patients could use this system. The haematological, pulmonological and rheumatological departments, chosen as the pilot project’s priorities, account for not only the majority of seriously ill patients, but also more than 50 per cent of medications, the most expensive in many cases,” Novgorod Region Healthcare Minister Galina Mikhaylova said, commenting on the project demonstration.

The project was initiated by Novgorod Region Governor Andrey Nikitin. The pilot project is implemented with the support of Vnesheconombank, the Russian Ministry of Healthcare and the Novgorod Region Government. The programme’s technology partner is a resident of Vnesheconombank’s Center of Blockchain Competencies, United Medical Corporation (OMK).

Press Office