Sjoquist, chief content officer for HLTH, said in an interview that the
conference is important because the healthcare industry tends to lag behind
other industries in embracing technological innovation.
healthcare, for years, things have not changed fast enough,” Sjoquist said. “You
have an incumbent mindset and legacy technology. … The reason HLTH is going to
be different from other events is it's going to bring together incumbents with
disruptors include blockchain experts like Chandra Duggirala, M.D., who will speak at the
conference. Duggirala is the founder and CEO of Tides.network, which is building a peer-to-peer
health insurance network with the goal of “decentralizing” health insurance.
will also feature insight from Ted Tanner, Jr. Tanner is a creator of DokChain, which uses blockchain
technology for data management in healthcare.
Blockchains and the Future of Healthcare
blockchain technology is only one of the innovative insights on the agenda for
the HLTH event, distributed ledgers are poised to be a key driver of the type
of new efficiencies for healthcare that HTLH aims to promote.
to Sjoquist, who worked previously as a research director at Gartner
specializing in healthcare payers, blockchains can address a range of problems
within the healthcare industry.
includes, at a most basic level, challenges like managing data associated with
claims, which Sjoquist called “easy pickings” for blockchain-based solutions.
broadly, Sjoquist envisions a future where blockchain technology enables more
efficient and secure sharing of data for all stakeholders in the industry.
patient, the provider and the payer all need to have visibility into their data
and decide who and when to share it with,” she said, noting that a blockchain
can help them to do that with more privacy and efficiency than other
example, Sjoquist said, a blockchain could be used to manage data from genomics
testing. Genomics tests evaluate an individual’s risk for diseases based on
genetic characteristics, and many genomics tests are self-administered by
patients at home. Sharing the data from such tests with healthcare experts who
can help guide patients is difficult because patients lack a secure way of
transferring the data and retaining control over how it is used. By placing
genomics test data on a blockchain, test results could be automatically
transmitted to healthcare providers without forcing patients to surrender their
ability to control the data.
broadly blockchain technology might be applied to solve the healthcare
industry’s current challenges, Sjoquist said that the blockchain “is probably
going to be primarily devoted to the sharing and access of information.”
unlikely to prove as innovative for addressing other types of challenges and
processes within the industry. But because data management and security are so
central to the healthcare industry, the blockchain stands to add significant
value, Sjoquist said.
blockchain technology has yet to see massive adoption within the industry,
several healthcare companies are already leveraging the blockchain technology
to help manage data. HLTH has covered some real-world use cases on
Blockchains and Healthcare Costs
technology might also be able to help address one of the biggest concerns about
the healthcare industry, at least from the consumer’s perspective: cost.
“A lot of
costs in healthcare are tied to humans and what they do,” Sjoquist said, adding
that manual management of data is one major source of expenditures for
healthcare companies. And because blockchains “can prevent the need for people
to review information manually due to a lack of an automated way to share
information securely,” it can help to lower costs.
blockchain technology is unlikely to “reinvent the cost structures” that
determine how money is spent within healthcare, it can add new efficiencies and
improve accuracies in order to keep costs down, according to Sjoquist.