US Congress Testimony Includes Potential of Blockchain in Healthcare

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In a recent Statement before the United States Congress House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, Scott Gottlieb, MD Resident Fellow American Enterprise Institute, gave a presentation titled “Health Care Solutions – Increasing Patient Choice and Plan Innovation” where mentioned that Blockchain Technology could play a role in the future of Health in the US. 

Typically, risk adjustment provides assistance directly to insurers, based on measuring their pool. It is conceivable that risk adjustment could be enabled through a scheme that prospectively bakes some of this assistance into the tax credits provided to consumers to help them buy coverage.

One can perhaps eventually envision a system in which consumers in a large, well-functioning pool who suffer from certain costlier conditions could have their subsidies adjusted automatically (at the time of enrollment) to reflect their higher costs.

This can even provide incentive for health plans to recruit such individuals and actively manage their health and reduce the cost of care. There are plenty of practical challenges and concerns that would arise from such an approach. The designations that follow individuals in such a hypothetical insurance pool, which would indicate the existence of their adjusted subsidies and thus their underlying medical condition, would need to be completely de-identified in advance of enrollment and impenetrable to disclosures. But there are other economic constructs that trade contractual information with units of value and that allow these exchanges to be made anonymously. Block chain, for example, incorporates some of these features. In the end, ideally, we want to make risk adjustment prospective.

Healthcare is a sector where activity is starting to increase in the Blockchain arena.

Blockchain startup Gem is working on a protocol that produces an irrefutable log of network activity that is both cryptographically secured and relayed across a vast distribution network. Because the integrity of this history can be proved with mathematics, everyone can trust that it is secure and true.

In healthcare, these use cases range from claims processing to genomic data management, but at the core of each is the need for data to be shared seamlessly and secured infallibly. 

For example, Blockchains can establish open standards for data recording and identity management. A global healthcare Blockchain can record unique patient IDs for each individual that correlates with local hospital or physician records. Blockchain-based universal healthcare IDs can reduce medical errors when onboarding a new patient while maintaining patient privacy.

And IBM has also recently announced their healthcare-friendly Blockchain in a recent report here at Blockchain News:

After working with hundreds of clients, startups and developers building Blockchain applications, IBM is addressing their security needs in several ways, including cloud services with the highest Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS 140-2) and Evaluation Assurance Levels (EAL) in the industry to support the use of Blockchain ingovernment, financial services and healthcare.

…Built to help businesses quickly host secure, tamper-resistant networks and scale to thousands of users, IBM Cloud will allow production Blockchain networks to be deployed in minutes, running signed, certified and tested Docker images with dashboards and analytics as well as support.

These new cloud services have been optimized for cloud-based Blockchain networks by providing an auditable operating environment with comprehensive log data that supports forensics and compliance. Tamper-resistant storage of crypto keys and complete protection around the cryptographic module detects and responds to unauthorized attempts at physical access. Additionally, the IBM Cloud services enable Blockchain peers to run in protected environments to prevent leaks through shared memory or hardware.


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About Richard Kastelein

Founder and publisher of industry publication Blockchain News (EST 2015), a partner at ICO services collective Token.Agency ($750m+ and 90+ ICOs and STOs), director of education company Blockchain Partners (Oracle Partner) – Vancouver native Richard Kastelein is an award-winning publisher, innovation executive and entrepreneur. He sits on the advisory boards of some two dozen Blockchain startups and has written over 2500 articles on Blockchain technology and startups at Blockchain News and has also published pioneering articles on ICOs in Harvard Business Review and Venturebeat. Irish Tech News put him in the top 10 Token Architects in Europe.

Kastelein has an Honorary Ph.D. and is Chair Professor of Blockchain at China's first Blockchain University in Nanchang at the Jiangxi Ahead Institute of Software and Technology. In 2018 he was invited to and attended University of Oxford's Saïd Business School for Business Automation 4.0 programme. He has over a half a decade experience judging and rewarding some 1000+ innovation projects as an EU expert for the European Commission's SME Instrument programme as a startup assessor and as a startup judge for the UK government's Innovate UK division.

Kastelein has spoken (keynotes & panels) on Blockchain technology at over 50 events in 30+ citiies. He is a Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Métis) whose writing career has ranged from the Canadian Native Press (Arctic) to the Caribbean & Europe.  In his 20s, he sailed around the world on small yachts and wrote a series of travel articles called, 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Seas' travelling by hitching rides on yachts (1989) in major travel and yachting publications. He currently lives in Groningen, Netherlands where he's raising three teenage daughters with his wife and sailing partner, Wieke Beenen.

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