2017: Healthcare Set to Adopt Blockchain Technology
Tags: healthcare blockchain, healthcare blockchain adoption. longitudinal patient studies and blockchain, healthcare procurement, healthcare supply chain, L2
A blockchain is a public ledger of all Bitcoin transactions that have ever been executed. It grows as completed blocks are added to it and recorded. The blocks are added to the chain in a linear, chronological order.
What does blockchain technology have to do with healthcare? Think in terms of recording any/all patient encounters like transactions (resulting in individual longitudinal studies) and being able to securely distribute all or any part of each recorded history to authorized care-givers, as needed.
In an IBM report called âHealthcare Rallies for Blockchains â Keeping Patients at the Centerâ,Â healthcare appears set for Blockchain adoption in 2017.
From the report:
- 16 per cent of the healthcare respondents expect to have a commercial Blockchain solution at scale in 2017.
- 6 in10 anticipate Blockchains will help them securely access new markets.
- 7 in 10 expect the greatest Blockchain benefits to be in clinical trial records and regulatory compliance.
Forget, for a moment, âbig data.â Instead think âlong dataâ â short for longitudinal data â and its application to healthcare.
How valuable would it be to have the full history of an individualâs health? What if every vital sign that has been recorded, all of the medicines taken, information associated with every doctorâs visit, illness, operation and more could be efficiently and accurately captured? The quality and coordination of care would be expected to rise, and the costs and risks likely to fall. Long data is simply the lifetime history of data related to a person, place or thing.
And that is precisely what Blockchains can do exceedingly well. Data captured on Blockchains can be shared in real time across a scalable group of individuals and institutions. Every event or transaction is time-stamped and becomes part of a long chain, or permanent record, that canât be tampered with after the fact.
On permissionless Blockchains, all parties can view all records. On permissioned Blockchains, privacy can be maintained by agreement about which parties can view which transactions â and where desired, by masking the identity of the party.
In this way, Blockchains shift the lens from disparate bits of information held by a single owner, to the lifetime history of an asset. This holds true whether that asset is a patientâs health record or a bottle of pills as it moves through the supply chain. From the perspective of Blockchain adoption, healthcare organizations are moving fast and even seem to have a lead on the financial industry.