Blockchain technology in healthcare is real.
It has the potential to help healthcare providers and payers bridge traditional data silos, dramatically increase efficiencies, keep healthcare data secure and streamline patients’ access to medical data. However, professionals in healthcare seem to have more questions than answers with regard to how the blockchain can be used.
Recently, at the Distributed Health conference, over 725 healthcare and blockchain leaders from around the world met in Nashville, Tennessee, to explore how blockchain technology is reshaping the healthcare industry.
Now in its second year, the conference brings together forward-thinking minds in healthcare for the purpose of envisioning how technology will create greater efficiencies in medical records, payments, processing and analytics. The gathering included a 24-hour hackathon, a two-credit continuing legal education (CLE) course, a code camp providing hands-on workshops for engineers, an investor roundtable and two days of panels and speakers.
At the conference, Accenture announced that they were joining Hashed Health’s blockchain consortium.
Accenture, is a leading global professional services company providing a range of strategy, consulting, digital, technology & operations services and solutions. It’s primary aim is to assist institutions in implementing blockchain technology to improve operational efficiency, security and client service, as well as to capture new revenue opportunities. Moreover, Accenture assists clients in defining distributed ledger strategies, implementing business model transitions, building and securing technology architectures for enhanced end-user experience.
According to Hashed Health CEO John Bass, Accenture brings a broad range of expertise to the consortium workgroup which will assist HH clients in improving performance and creating sustainable value. “Their global viewpoint and experience with large scale deployments brings a unique perspective to our decentralization initiatives. In turn, Accenture will benefit from the consortium’s efforts to advance market intelligence and industry best practices.”
As a consortium member, Accenture’s efforts will be targeted toward developing industry use cases for blockchain and distributed ledger technologies while identifying opportunities where organizations can implement solutions at scale.
“As adoption grows, healthcare organizations must continue advancing the application of blockchain technologies to achieve and sustain meaningful progress,” said Brian Kalis, managing director of digital health at Accenture in a press release. “We believe that Hashed Health’s workgroup-centered model will allow companies to collaboratively tackle existing problems in healthcare while establishing best practices.”
This new collaboration is more fuel for the consortium’s effort to reinvent the prevailing healthcare delivery model through products built on the blockchain. Hashed Health’s underlying business objective involves establishing networks where healthcare entities — nonprofits, for-profits, and consulting companies can collaborate through workgroups, each with a niche focus on a specific business problem like payments, supply chain and the internet of things (IoT). These groups regularly meet to share information and learning opportunities with members entering into joint collaboration projects with Hashed Health to develop a product.
“If you really want to make it meaningful, you have to build a network,” said Bass. Building a network is Hashed Health’s approach and, like blockchain technology itself, has proven successful for business in the last year.
One of Hashed Health’s most recent use cases centers on the concept of decentralized provider identity. At present, a healthcare provider’s identity consists of many disparate pieces, including the medical school they graduated from, their residency program, their current address and their licenses and certifications. Therefore, gathering this trove of information for hospital credentialing and verification purposes can be a major undertaking.
It’s here where Hashed Health is working with the state of Illinois to address one element of this issue: physician licensure portability. The goal of this collaboration is to develop a blockchain-based product that allows organizations to share credentialing data related to multi-state and interstate licensure in a more efficient manner.
Ultimately, state officials hope to create a blockchain-based registry that allows for a single, trusted repository of certifications and credentials. Through the use of this distributed mechanism, credentialing bodies throughout the U.S. will be able to secure access and confirm a provider’s licensure via a single record with a significant time and cost savings. Moreover, with continued advancements in telemedicine, it will allow physicians to seamlessly practice medicine across state lines.
Last October, Hashed Health entered into a collaborative partnership with Martin Ventures, followed by an initial funding round which raised $1.85 million. This year, Altarum Institute and Change Healthcare have also joined as new members of the consortium. Now with the recent addition of Accenture, Hashed Health’s project group is well positioned to further accelerate advancements around the intersection of blockchain technology and healthcare.
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