20% of healthcare organizations to use blockchain by 2020: 4 report insights

Healthcare organizations may soon follow the footsteps of the financial services and shipping industries in deploying large-scale blockchain projects, according to a recent IDC Health Insights report cited by ComputerWorld.

Here are four insights into why healthcare may be ready for blockchain:

1. In recent years, industry and government stakeholders have supported efforts to use blockchain, a permanent and shared ledger of online transactions or exchanges, to streamline healthcare operations. Unlike a traditional database that is centrally located and maintained by one party, a blockchain record is shared among a network of users.

2. However, blockchain adoption has been slower to move from test cases to production systems in healthcare compared to other sectors, in part because of more stringent industry regulations. Stakeholders in the healthcare industry may also be hesitant to deploy new types of technologies given security concerns and existing problems with data standardization.

3. IDC Health Insights suggested one in five healthcare organizations would adopt blockchain solutions by 2020, moving beyond pilot projects to actively using the technology for operations management and patient identity services.

4. Healthcare organizations will likely start by implementing blockchain solutions that improve interoperability. Blockchain records would allow various organizations — including providers, payers, pharmacies and clinical researchers — to exchange data in a standardized format, which could underpin emerging solutions to healthcare information exchange.

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