Blockchain in Medical
and Health Care
A blockchain powered health information exchange could unlock the true value of interoperability. Blockchain-based systems have the potential to reduce or eliminate the friction and costs of current intermediaries.
The promise of blockchain has widespread implications for stakeholders in the health care ecosystem. Capitalizing on this technology has the potential to connect fragmented systems to generate insights and to better assess the value of care. In the long term, a nationwide blockchain network for electronic medical records may improve efficiencies and support better health outcomes
Blockchain as an enabler of nationwide interoperability
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology issued a shared nationwide interoperability roadmap, which defines critical policy and technical components needed for nationwide interoperability, including:
- Ubiquitous, secure network infrastructure
- Verifiable identity and authentication of all participants
- Consistent representation of authorization to access electronic health information, and several other requirements.
However, current technologies do not fully address these requirements, because they face limitations related to security, privacy, and full ecosystem interoperability.
What is blockchain?
At its core, blockchain is a distributed system recording and storing transaction records. More specifically, blockchain is a shared, immutable record of peer-to-peer transactions built from linked transaction blocks and stored in a digital ledger. Blockchain relies on established cryptographic techniques to allow each participant in a network to interact (e.g. store, exchange, and view information), without preexisting trust between the parties. In a blockchain system, there is no central authority; instead, transaction records are stored and distributed across all network participants. Interactions with the blockchain become known to all participants and require verification by the network before information is added, enabling trustless collaboration between network