THE POTENTIAL FOR BLOCKCHAIN TO TRANSFORM HEALTH CARE IS VERY MUCH A FUTURE PROSPECT IN 2019. BUT THERE ARE WAYS THE TECHNOLOGY CAN BE APPLIED TODAY THAT CAN BEGIN TO PAVE THE WAY TO SUCH A FUTURE.
Over the past few years, the healthcare industry has seen a rise in understanding of the time-stamped, distributed-register technology blockchain and how it might, over time, affect the complex relationship between commerce and care. Healthcare leaders are beginning to have a realistic grasp of blockchain’s potential and how it might transform the industry.
Where We Are
Providers, both for-profit and not-for-profit, are investing in blockchain at record levels—as are insurers and technology vendors. A 2018 study found that blockchain investment was up 316 percent in the previous year.a
To some, this trend may come as a surprise, given the contrast between the hype and actual results thus far. The headlines focus on cryptocurrency and concepts of mass-decentralization and disintermediation that still seem far away. Although exciting to contemplate, these use cases for the technology are still far off—and quite different from the practical applications that we are seeing emerge today.
The healthcare blockchain market has been developing since 2016, during which time our thinking has matured significantly as we have discovered that creating meaningful solutions is harder than we had thought. We now better understand how blockchain and distributed ledger technologies work, which use-cases are realistic, and how these technologies can create interesting new solutions to old problems.
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