Blockchain-Enabled Solutions to Persistent Healthcare Problems

February 7, 2018

Remember the Winkleveii? The aggrieved Harvard twins of Facebook fame?  They’re in the news again, this time as the “first Bitcoin billionaires.” Moneywatch reported in December that the $11 million they collectively invested in Bitcoin in 2013, was valued at more than $1.7 billion.

So what does Bitcoin have to do with healthcare? Or digital marketing? Bitcoin’s underlying technology, blockchain, has attracted the attention of innovators in both fields, as well as in other industries — banking, online music, and real estate, to name a few.

What’s so breakthrough about blockchain? What problems could it potentially solve? How revolutionary is it? And what is its potential in healthcare?

John Halamka

John Halamka, MD, chief information officer at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Much progress has been made in healthcare data sharing, but there is always room for improvement, according to John Halamka, MD. Halamka is chief information officer at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, practicing emergency physician, professor at Harvard Medical School, and member of the eHealthcare Strategy & Trends Editorial Advisory Board. He cites these ongoing challenges to data sharing:

  • Accurate identification of patients
  • Guarantees of data integrity to ensure data is not damaged or altered
  • Limiting data access to stakeholders with a need to know
  • Patients’ fractured lifetime records are spread among many patient portals with no existing infrastructure to document all the sites that hold their data and enable easy unification

In our new article, we’ll attempt to explain blockchain in layman’s language, and look at examples of blockchain-enabled innovations in the works that target two challenges:

  • Patient data — the toughest nut to crack in healthcare, and the one with the greatest potential to improve it, is access to accurate and comprehensive patient data.
  • Online advertising — ad fraud is endemic in programmatic ad buying. Last year, CNBC reported that businesses could lose $16.4 billion to online advertising fraud.

Read it now: Is Blockchain the Next Big Thing for Healthcare?

Best regards,
Matt Humphrey

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