Healthcare interest in blockchain grows

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Blockchain solutions have piqued interest of the healthcare industry, positioning the technology as a fix to interoperability, privacy and security issues. A report conducted by Black Book presented current and planned measures in the implementation of blockchain.

The report includes feedback from 88 healthcare payers and 276 providers including technology executives, manager and IT specialists. Using blockchain, an open and continuous secure online database that cannot be changed, users are able to send and receive data from multiple outside sources, with each transaction recorded for additional security.

Findings in the report included:

  • 19 percent of hospital executives and 76 percent of payers were considering or in the process of deploying blockchain solutions.
  • 29 percent of hospital executives and 82 percent of health insurance executives reported having a full understanding of blockchain.
  • 93 percent of managed care organizations and 70 percent of hospitals believed blockchain has potential in improving interoperability.
  • 90 percent of medical group managers and IT specialists believed blockchain could resolve concerns on privacy and patient data sharing.
  • 98 percent of payers with plans of more than 500,000 members were actively considering deploying or were in the process of deploying blockchain.
  • 14 percent of payers with plans of more than 500,000 members were involved in trial deployments of blockchain.
  • 70 percent of all payer organizations reported planning to deploy blockchain by the beginning of 2019, and 9 percent had plans by end of 2018.
  • 88 percent of provider leaders found undetermined cost of blockchain to be the biggest barrier in establishing a time frame for deployment.

"The most popular connectivity strategy circulating among health care technologists, and even ONC, is blockchain technology," said Doug Brown, managing partner of Black Book Market Research. “The lack of technical standards for this still-immature technology is causing regulatory uncertainty while the industry anticipates explanations from federal rules at some point in 2018."