Brand-new reports today show a pretty large healthcare alliance turning to blockchain for various kinds of data handling.
Cointelegraph is reporting the Synaptic Health Alliance Group is preparing for a major blockchain pilot project having to do with the governance of healthcare data. Members include:
- UnitedHealth Group
- United Healthcare
Partners are hoping that the blockchain decreases costs for data storage and promotes accuracy in record-keeping.
Aside from that, Optum, one of the major players in healthcare blockchain, is pointing out various other opportunities in a released video showing what blockchain can do for healthcare.
These proponents of blockchain utilization suggest that one thing it can do is reduce administrative costs for providers. This allows clinicians to focus more of their time and energy on treating patients.
Optum’s video also mentions the idea of the accessible healthcare portal, where blockchain will make it easier for patients to get all of their medical history information from different providers and diverse sources. Currently, those who want HIPAA-governed information are bedeviled by paper release forms and a generally cumbersome process.
Another benefit that’s pointed out in the video is prescription drug quality efforts, where blockchain can validate supply chains to make sure that drug makers are using the best materials.
These big changes tend to increase interest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies at a time when their future is very much in question – another big example is news breaking this week that car company GM is filing a blockchain patent to handle data from future autonomous vehicles.
While traders would perhaps prefer that those headlines weren’t accompanied by warnings about GM’s possible insolvency, reporting at Cointelegraph shows that other car companies are also involved in what’s called a “mobility open blockchain initiative” – these include renowned names like BMW, Ford and Renault.
What’s the response from government?
Let’s look at healthcare again, where the HITECH Act of recent years gave providers an incentive to go digital.
There might not be a wide field of public comments and glitzy promotions of blockchain from the HHS, but at least one top-ranked official from the agency is going on record as a blockchain proponent.
Jose Arrieta is the associate deputy assistant secretary for acquisition at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and he has a message for critics of the “Reimagine HHS” movement and its use of blockchain to handle data.
“For the federal chief technology officers, the federal chief information officers that don’t stand up on a stage and say that this technology won’t work and kind of post little things at night on Facebook or Twitter saying they actually disagree with this capability, you are very close being irrelevant,” Arrieta reportedly said recently, according to Fedscoop. “Because when (the blockchain project becomes implemented) you will be irrelevant.”
That sounds pretty good for blockchain – and pretty definite. If the HHS is actively using digital crypto technologies, you could be forgiven, as a speculative investor, for assuming that these fintech systems are here to stay.