Healthcare Industry Leads In Blockchain Deployment

A new study by Deloitte concludes that healthcare and life sciences companies stand out as planning the most aggressive blockchain deployments of any industry. That being said, healthcare leaders are far from alone in paying close attention to blockchain, which seems to be coming into its own as corporate technology.

According to Deloitte, 39% of senior executives at large US companies had little or no knowledge of blockchain technology, but the other 61% reported their blockchain knowledge level as broad to expert. The execs who were well-informed about blockchain told Deloitte that it would be crucial for both their company and industry. In fact, 55% of the knowledgeable group said their company would be at a competitive disadvantage if they failed to adopt blockchain, and 42% believed it would disrupt their industry.

Given this level of enthusiasm, it’s not surprising that respondents have begun to invest in blockchain internally. Twenty-eight percent of respondents said their company had invested $5 million of more in blockchain tech to date, and 10% reported investing $10 million or more. Not only that,  25% of respondents expected to invest more than $5 million in blockchain technology this year.

While the level of blockchain interest seems to be pronounced across industries studied by Deloitte, healthcare and life science companies lead the pack when it came to deployment, with 35% of industry respondents saying that their company expects to put blockchain into production during 2017.

All that being said, aggressive deployment may or may not be a good thing just yet. According to research by cloud-based blockchain company Tierion, the majority of blockchain technology isn’t ready for deployment, though worthwhile experiments are underway.

Tierion argues that analysts and professional experts are overselling blockchain, and that most of blockchain technology is experimental and untested. Not only that, its research concludes that at least one healthcare application – giving patients the ability to manage their health data – is rather risky, as blockchain security is shaky.

It seems clear that health IT leaders will continue to explore blockchain options, given its tantalizing potential for sharing data securely and flexibly. And as the flurry of interest around ONC’s blockchain research challenge demonstrates, many industry thought leaders take this technology seriously. If the winning submissions are any indication, blockchain may support new approaches to health data interoperability, claims processing, medical records, physician-patient data sharing, data security, HIEs and even the growth of accountable care.

If nothing else, 2017 should see the development of some new and interesting healthcare blockchain applications, and probably the investment of record new amounts of capital to build them. In other words, whether blockchain is mature enough for real time deployment or not, it’s likely to offer an intriguing show.

About the author

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

1 Comment

  • Blockchain is nothing more than the central repository that Sentia Health already provides. the difference is that Blockchain is NOT optimized for health data and may not even have the capability. Further, every practice is going to have to figure out how to get their own data out of whatever proprietary EMR they are using, hook up to the Blockchain repository and write it out. So even if it’s possible to teach these people medicine, you have the same problem as with FHIR: you have to have hire a developer to massage your data and interface with it. Nobody is going to pay to do that. Sentia Health on the other hand vends the entire end to end functionality of a cloud based EMR, complete with the central repository. Even better, we’ve eliminated the need for the insurance company altogether by automating everything they do and issuing payments for procedures performed in real time as they are documented. The EMR is free for practitioners to use, is feature rich for the patient with secure email, immediate access to medical records, automatically prescribed patient education and soon even telemedicine. the cost of all this is the true cost of the coverage plus a $10 subscription fee to voer the cost of housing the data. this compares to about $150 per month for the traditional insurance company wasting about 30% of your private policy on big buildings all over the country and lining their own pockets.

    As practitioners figure out they can get the EMR for free (they spend about $30,000 each for EMR per year now) and it comes with compliance reporting (They spend about $42,000 on that per year each) and the fact that they don’t need a medical coder or billing department they will tell all their patients to use us, and for 30% less. We figure by eliminating all the monkey motion and greed from the process we can cut out 45% of the cost of healthcare in 7-10 years.

    Now how smart does Blockchain sound?

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