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Healthcare

(4.18.17) Health IT Analytics: Top 4 Ways to Use Blockchain for Healthcare Data Management

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Along with machine learning, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things, blockchain has rapidly risen to become one of the healthcare industry’s most talked-about technologies.

The distributed ledger methodology promises to create an unprecedented level of accuracy, privacy, and security for healthcare stakeholders, offering an innovative new way to ensure robust data integrity while giving patients more control over their own data.

More here.

(3.15.17) Health IT Analytics: Google DeepMind: Blockchain Can Ensure Health Data Integrity

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When healthcare experts talk about data integrity, they’re not just thinking about whether or not the original authors filled in all the fields and ticked all the boxes.  They are talking about trust.

Completeness is one small piece of the trust puzzle, but accuracy, consistency and responsibility – who created it, why, when, and how – are also critical for ensuring that information is reliable and useful for decision-making.

More here.

Recap: Hyperledger Intros Blockchain at HIMSS

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The Hyperledger team recently attended HIMSS in Orlando, Florida. More than 40,000+ people joined us in learning more about the role of technology and IT in healthcare. Hyperledger was there to lend a vendor-neutral, “open source software-first” voice to the rapidly-advancing discussion in healthcare about how to leverage blockchain technologies. Really this meant we were there to listen, facilitate introductions, educate when we had a specific point of view and, ultimately, advance the readiness of healthcare professionals and organizations to get started with blockchain.

HIMSS kicked off with a keynote speech by IBM’s CEO, Ginni Rometty. Ginni shared her belief that to be successful in this new era of computing, companies will need to have clear strategies on AI, cloud and big data. She led on to say that within all of that, transparency, accountability and trust will become even more important, if not demanded. Ginny then spoke to blockchain, its affect on the industry and mentioned Hyperledger as a consortium leading the governance and community development around blockchain technologies for business.

Hyperledger set up shop in the Innovation Zone at the enormous Orange County Convention Center. Those who visited us at our kiosk wanted to know what blockchain was, Hyperledger’s role in the market, how blockchain could be applied to healthcare and what some of the opportunities or challenges might be.  

Across the way from us in the Innovation Zone were our friends at Hashed Health, a member company focused on accelerating blockchain and distributed ledger technologies in healthcare. They brought along a demo of a provider directory that they built using Hyperledger Fabric, one of the three blockchain frameworks in incubation at Hyperledger, and when attendees wanted a solid example of how blockchain worked, we sent them their way. A few other members companies that attended included Accenture, Gem, and IBM.

A major focal point for Hyperledger at HIMSS was IEEE’s sold out Rock Stars of Blockchain event. Morning sessions grounded the 200+ attendees with the basics of blockchain tech and it’s applicability to healthcare. Speakers hit themes like interoperability, breaking down silos, increasing patient control while streamlining expensive and time consuming processes, providing holistic, longitudinal views to health.

After a great introduction from Conduent’s Tamara StClaire on the basics of blockchain and its promise in healthcare, Abbie Barbir from Aetna gave an excellent talk about the use cases for blockchain in healthcare. Mr Barbir shared this conceptualization of a blockchain-based ID vetting system.

Next, Dr. Jon White and Steve Posnack from ONC shared the work their team has been doing to support and stimulate the adoption of EHR and lately on exploring the uses of blockchain in healthcare. They of course referenced last year’s Blockchain Challenge on ONC Lab. And one really can’t talk about the ONC challenge without discussing the winning MedRec paper.

At lunch, Hyperledger sponsored a hands-on workshop for healthcare professionals charged with spearheading their organization’s lab, PoC and pilot use of blockchain technology. The lunch and learn used the recent Hyperledger Healthcare working group survey as the jumping off point to explore popular industry use cases.

Much more participation than presentation, the ~30 participants included physicians, vendors, payers, consultants and other HC pros. Over the 90-minutes, participants worked at their tables on MVPs for popular healthcare blockchain use cases and discussed the roadblocks that might prevent a PoC. For a full output report, and to join the discussion, check out the Hyperledger Healthcare page and join the healthcare working group email list.

After lunch, Hyperledger Executive Director, Brian Behlendorf moderated a panel with Cerner, IBM and IEEE on the impact of blockchain on connected health. Panelists shared what each are doing with blockchain technology for healthcare and general thoughts on the subject.

They then covered confidentiality and patient privacy, exploring such questions as how to deal with private data in a blockchain, how blockchain will change the patient experience, and what regulatory hurdles must be overcome.

Some panelists expressed confidence that blockchain technology has the features to transform healthcare, much like other technologies before. Like other approaches, what must not be overlooked with blockchain are all the other environmental factors in healthcare, such as regulation, business models and having a complete architectural design. Others were more bullish about the role blockchain will play to place patients in more control over their data and their healthcare experience.

After the panel, Brian and Gem CEO, Micah Winkelspecht held a fireside chat, exploring some of the key questions that had emerged throughout the day.


Dr. John Mattison from Hyperledger member, Kaiser Permanente closed the day out with a talk on Defining a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) with Blockchain in Healthcare: Challenges and opportunities.

We are very excited that blockchain conversations in healthcare are picking up, we’re learning more and more about POCs and pilots and there is a lot of interest in Hyperledger. If you’re interested in how blockchain can work in healthcare, want to join the discussion further, or have specific questions about Hyperledger, we encourage you to join our Healthcare Working Group here: https://www.hyperledger.org/industries/healthcare.

You can plug into the Hyperledger community at github, Rocket.Chat the wiki or our mailing list. You can also follow Hyperledger on Twitter or email us with any questions: info@hyperledger.org.

(3.1.17) HIMSS: The Potential for Blockchain Technology in Health IT

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It would be diplomatic to say that the rise of open standards and APIs in the healthcare industry has yet to truly pay off in the form of better widespread patient data portability, reduced complexity in the systems behind payments and claims, better quality metrics and outcomes, or better automation of menial paperwork or other manual process. Our health IT systems are only getting more and more silo-ed and disintegrated, and there’s always a new venture-backed SaaS provider or software vendor who just wants to solve that by centralizing (er, “vertically integrating”) all data and processes on their systems, adding to the problem rather than solving it. The client-server model for applications just doesn’t work for an industry as complex, heterogenous, and political as healthcare. Could blockchain technology be helpful here?

More here.

(2.28.17) Healthsecurity.com: Why Data Security is Critical with Healthcare Blockchain

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Healthcare organizations are utilizing more electronic data than ever before, and many are working toward interoperability and connecting to HIEs. Data security measures cannot be an afterthought, and must be a top priority as covered entities work to remain innovative and properly care for patients.

Blockchain technology is quickly becoming an option for healthcare, as it gives the ability for entities to organize data so transactions can be verified and recorded through the consensus of all parties involved.

More here.

(12.13.16) CIO: Top 3 blockchain-based healthcare companies to watch in 2017

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Game theory is the science of strategy. A branch of mathematics and economics that explores strategic situations across multiple stakeholders with different goals, whose actions can affect one another. Pioneering companies are changing the game with blockchain technologies. The new game of consumer interactions redefines transparency, immutability and security across industries.

More here.

Hyperledger Announces the Hyperledger Healthcare Working Group

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Today, Hyperledger is announcing the formation of the Hyperledger Healthcare Working Group (HLHC Working Group).

Health data sharing, like much of health IT, has traditionally lagged other industries in adoption of new technologies. This is not for bad reason – people’s lives and health privacy are at stake, as is 20% of GDP. The potential of blockchain technology, applied to healthcare, is a shared platform that decentralizes health data without compromising the security of sensitive information. This model lifts the costly burden of maintaining patient’s medical histories away from the hospitals: eventually cost savings will make it full cycle back to the patient receiving care.

The HLHC Working Group’s mission is to house and foster technical and business-level conversations about appropriate applications for blockchain technology in the healthcare industry. These conversations will be broad and educational, but will eventually focus on identifying opportunities for near-term collaboration between participants on common software to implement a given application. If appropriately scoped and resourced, these conversations could lead to one or more proposals for new software development efforts to be hosted at Hyperledger.

“There are two really important questions to focus on. First, since there are so many use cases where blockchain could be used in healthcare, where will blockchain (plus smart contracts) provide capabilities not readily enabled by pre-existing approaches? Second, as blockchain capabilities and variants continue to evolve rapidly, how do we support parallel initiatives that don’t create forking that introduces friction into the flow of data and services?” said Dr. John Mattison, Assistant Medical Director, Kaiser Permanente. “We are truly sitting on a ‘TCP/IP moment’, and while it’s impossible to declare ‘what’ the solution is to avoiding that forking, we can come together in this workgroup to define ‘how’ we collaborate to minimize the risks of inadvertently introducing friction through forking.”

The HLHC Working Group, which does not require Hyperledger membership, will center around discovery and exploration of healthcare-related blockchain use cases that address real world problems. Initially, the group will focus on fundamental Distributed Ledger applications, such as establishing registries, interoperability and identities. Technical opportunities will also be discussed. In time, the discussion will expand to more advanced topics, such as smart contracts and process automation.

“The power of Open Source is the power of collaborative ideas. The Hyperledger Healthcare Working Group enables Healthcare enterprises, providers and users to focus resources on a scalable open source project to leverage collaboration, said Dr. Merve Unuvar, IBM Blockchain Product Leader. “The beating heart of the emerging Healthcare Blockchain will be powered by Hyperledger enabling data sharing, privacy and interoperability.”

“The healthcare industry needs to be organized in order to realize the potential for blockchain technology,” said John Bass, Founder and CEO, Hashed Health. “The Hyperledger Healthcare Working Group is a destination for those who want to contribute to the development of technical standards necessary for blockchain innovation to be meaningful.  The team at Hashed Health is extremely excited to join the Group as a founding member driving development efforts with our peers.”

The HLHC Working Group already includes participants from organizations including Accenture, Gem, Hashed Health, Kaiser Permanente and IBM. If you are interested in participating in the HLHC Working Group, please visit the Healthcare industry page to learn more and join the mailing list.