KUMA Attends the ONC/NIST Workshop on the Use of Blockchain in

Use of blockchain in healthcare

Uses For The Blockchain / September 19, 2017

There’s a lot of hype around blockchain. In 2015, Tierion was the first company to complete a blockchain healthcare project through becoming the first partner in Philips Blockchain Lab. To separate the hype from the reality, we’re sharing our perspective after a year of working with the world’s largest healthcare and insurance companies. Many blockchain reports portray overly optimistic scenarios. We aim to provide a balanced perspective that addresses the opportunities and risks for the use of blockchain technology in healthcare.

What is Blockchain?

Blockchain started with Bitcoin in 2009. Bitcoin was designed as a global network for routing value without trusted intermediaries. Blockchain is a term used to describe systems that borrow technology and design patterns from Bitcoin. Key characteristics include no central point of control, high availability, strong data integrity, and network-wide consensus.

“…the term ‘blockchain’ has been so misappropriated that no one knows what it means anymore.”
– Elaine Ou, Bloomberg

There is a fierce technical debate over the definition of blockchain. For those making strategic technology decisions, the details of this debate may not matter. Companies will continue to market a broad range of technologies that carry the blockchain label regardless of the outcome.

Promise & Pitfalls of Blockchain Healthcare 2016

Most blockchain technology is not ready for mainstream deployment. Financial services companies have produced hundreds of proof-of-concepts. Most of these projects have not evolved into production ready software due to technical and regulatory challenges. Experimentation continues and activity is starting to accelerate in the health care and insurance sectors.

Data Integrity & Security
  • Improve the security and management of patient data.
  • Higher quality clinical trial data.
  • Reduce regulatory & compliance costs.
New Standards
  • Opportunity to establish new standards and practices
  • Optimize interactions between health care and insurance companies.
  • Mid-sized companies and startups have the opportunity to form consortiums and disrupt incumbents.
Vendor Lock-in
  • Blockchain vendors want customers locked into their platform.
  • High switching costs give vendors control and pricing power.
  • Risk building new data silos where customers rent access from vendors.
Hype Overload
  • Analysts and professional experts are issuing overly optimistic reports in an effort to make their mark on the industry.
  • Betting on technology before it’s ready is a fast way to lose your job.
  • Tokenized platforms such as Ethereum have an incentive to hype the technology to increase the value of the token.
Immature Infrastructure
  • Most blockchain technology is experimental and untested.
  • Greater security risk and higher development costs.
  • Use blockchain to enhance secure cloud based architectures.
Patient-Controlled Data
  • Enabling patients to manage their health care data is risky.
  • Deploying wallets creates a large key management problem.

Data Integrity & Security

The volume of patient data managed by hospitals, doctors, and insurance companies increases each year.

  • Electronic Health Records
  • Health Information Exchanges
  • Data collected from monitoring systems and IoT devices
  • Medical insurance claims

Source: tierion.com