The first day of the HIMSS19 conference featured a day long blockchain symposium focusing on “How Blockchain Technology Brings Value to Healthcare.” The room was packed.
The morning presentations included an overview of blockchain and distributed ledger technology, including the strengths and limitations of this emerging technology as applied to healthcare. David Houlding, Principal Healthcare Lead for Microsoft Corporation sorted through the reality and the hype. On the strengths, he highlighted the data integrity, transparency, decentralization, resilience, and anti-fraud aspects of the technology. In the short term, he indicated that applications where blockchain can reduce costs (e.g., provider directories, provider credentialing, and drug supply chains) will be first adopted, followed by the more complex applications that improve patient outcomes, engage patients and enhance their experiences, and finally those that enhance healthcare professional experiences. He stressed that one of the most difficult challenges is building the consortium trust among the relevant network of healthcare organizations. He also noted that blockchain will not replace, but rather co-exist with enterprise systems, where it makes business sense. Continue Reading