Blockchain an Obvious Use Case for Healthcare, says ASX Executive

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Fresh from implementing its own blockchain prototype for post-trade processes, an Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) executive has called for the use of blockchain technology in the healthcare industry.

Tim Hogben, group executive for operations at Australia’s leading private market operator ASX was speaking at the GovInnovate Summit in Canberra, when he called for the healthcare industry to tap blockchain technology, as reported by ZDNet.

Hogben argued that an immutable record of data and records would help the healthcare industry, one traditionally plagued by erratic and inefficient record keeping. The executive gave an example of how a probable product recall on vital healthcare products such as cochlear implants (a hearing aid) would greatly benefit when organized over a distributed ledger.

 

“[H]ow do you know where and who is using those devices in that point in time,” he reasoned, before adding:

All this information is stored over various databases and they’re not all secure and the blockchain or a ledger such as this is one way of capturing and providing instant identification of those users.

 

The ASX executive’s backing and support for the implementation of bitcoin’s underlying innovation, blockchain, in the healthcare industry is noteworthy, considering its own adoption of the technology in its core processes. The ASX is currently testing a distributed ledger solution, developed by New York-based industry startup Digital Asset, for its clearing and settlement process as a means to “simplify and speed-up post-trade processing.” If successful, the ASX could see the technology replace its existing clearing and settlement system, CHESS, a decision to be made in 2017.

Healthcare Gets a Leg Up with Blockchain Tech

Beyond finance, the healthcare industry is frequently pinned as one of the biggest benefactors of the technology. Governmental agencies are also taking notice. For instance, the US Department of Health issued a call for developers and innovators to theorize blockchain solutions in the healthcare industry in early July 2016. Following a significant response, 15 winners were chosen a month later. A detailed breakdown of one of the winning whitepapers by “big four” services giant Deloitte, titled “Blockchain: Opportunities for Health Care”, can be found here.

Tech giant Philips is among the notable companies to invest in blockchain research for healthcare, having started a dedicated ‘blockchain lab’ at its Amsterdam headquarters to spur research and innovation in the industry.

Blockchain healthcare
Recording and retrieving patient data would be simpler with blockchain technology.

The following month, Philips partnered with Gem Health, beginning an endeavor to form a “blockchain network for global healthcare.” In envisioning a global healthcare blockchain, a unique patient ID can be attested to an individual patient, further correlating with a local hospital or physician records. In such a scenario, trusted participants in a network will be able to access patient records instantly and effectively, beyond boundaries or the inefficiencies of today’s medical record-keeping.

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