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Home News Healthcare Sector Plans to Move Hard and Fast to Blockchain in 2017

Healthcare Sector Plans to Move Hard and Fast to Blockchain in 2017


According to a recent international survey conducted by IBM, 16 per cent of Healthcare Stakeholders Plan to Use Blockchain by 2017. 

In the report called “Healthcare Rallies for Blockchains – Keeping Patients at the Center”,  the health industry appears to be setting the pace on Blockchain adoption, slightly ahead of the financial industry even. Interesting they see substantial opportunities for business model innovation in most of the areas surveyed,  but healthcare executives don’t anticipate much disruption ahead due to the dense web of regulatory constraints.

They don’t expect to be ‘Uberised’.

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But they do expect innovation.

  • 16 per cent of the healthcare respondents expect to have a commercial Blockchain solution at scale in 2017.
  • 6 in 10 anticipate Blockchains will help them access new markets, and new and trusted information they can keep secure.
  • 7 in 10 healthcare expect the greatest Blockchain benefits to be in clinical trial records, regulatory compliance and medical/ health records.

From the report:

Forget, for a moment, “big data.” Instead think “long data” – short for longitudinal data – and its application to healthcare.

How valuable would it be to have the full history of an individual’s health? What if every vital sign that has been recorded, all of the medicines taken, information associated with every doctor’s 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 can’t 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 – 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 patient’s 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.

To our surprise, 16 percent of healthcare organizations are Trailblazers, ready to commercialize Blockchains at scale in 2017 (see Figure 1). In our survey of banks and financial market enterprises, just 15 percent and 14 percent respectively, plan to be at commercial scale in 2017.

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