A year after the hype of blockchain tech at HIMSS 2018, how far along is the healthcare industry with implementing it?
A year ago during HIMSS 2018, everyone was talking about blockchain. Was the technology just another buzzword, or could it actually be implemented at scale and benefit the healthcare industry?
That's yet to be seen. This year, many of the HIMSS 2019 conversations have shied away from blockchain, but that doesn't mean there's not tons of room for the tech to make a difference. Inside Digital Health™ spoke with Ron Wince, CEO of Myndshft, a global cognitive computing company that helps organizations develop, deploy and operate Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, to learn what we can expect from blockchain in healthcare.
At its highest level, blockchain is a shared ledger that synchronizes transactions across involved parties. The technology is made up of four components:
The first, a consensus algorithm, allows for governance of the parties to figure out how they’re going to work together. The second component is the ledger itself that allows everyone to see the different transactions. The third piece of the technology is comprised of smart contracts that automate tasks happening within the blockchain -- these smart contracts allow us to trigger events based on what shows up on the blockchain.
The final (and according to Wince, most important) component is the ability to share encrypted data that might not be written on the blockchain but is available to the blockchain participants.
Wince believes the early use of blockchain technology in healthcare is going to surround data interoperability and the ability to let people who do not trust each other to securely exchange data across parties. Blockchain can also be used for physician credentialing management and provider directories, and the ledger component makes patient information easier to access.
"In 2019 I expect to see a lot more commercial applications where people are actually generating revenue from it," Wince said.
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