It’s not about what blockchain can do in healthcare, but what it’s already doing

It’s not about what blockchain can do in healthcare, but what it’s already doing

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A panel discussion at the upcoming MedCity INVEST meeting in Chicago will look at real-world applications of blockchain technology in healthcare and biopharma.

Much of the focus on blockchain in healthcare and biopharma has been on the theoretical – what the technology could potentially do and where it could potentially be applied. But increasingly, that focus is shifting from potential to reality.

Real-world applications of blockchain in healthcare – not just what it can do, but what it is doing – will be the topic of a panel discussion at the upcoming MedCity INVEST conference, taking place April 23 in Chicago, with KKH Advisors CEO Kimberly Ha as moderator. The panel will bring together Health2047 Managing Director Charles Aunger, vice president for medical and regulatory affairs at drugmaker Boehringer Ingelheim’s Canadian division Uli Broedl, Embleema head of blockchain consortium Alexis Normand and Medable vice president for life sciences Tyler Pugsley.

A timely example of blockchain’s implementation came last week when Embleema, based in New York, announced it would work with the government of Armenia for an effort to use blockchain to modernize digital healthcare in the country. The aim is to offer physicians there better access to health data while connecting Armenia to international research, particularly in areas like oncology, immunotherapy and molecular medicine.

“I think it’s the first proof-of-concept of using blockchain at the national level,” Ha said in a phone interview.

But numerous efforts have taken place in the private sector as well. At the annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society conference in February, Boehringer Ingelheim and IBM announced a partnership that they said would mark blockchain’s first use in clinical trials in Canada. In particular, the US technology giant and German drugmaker said they would test whether blockchain can provide a decentralized framework to enable data integrity, provenance, transparency and patient empowerment, along with automation of processes for clinical trials. The partnership’s aim is to improve trial quality and patient safety, given that current processes are often seen as inadequate, leading to erroneous trial records that threaten safety and interpretability.

Realistically, for now blockchain’s application in clinical trials will likely be in postmarketing Phase IV studies, as opposed to earlier trials used for proof-of-concept or regulatory approval, Ha added.

For the time being, a number of questions remain that Ha and Aunger said they would like to see brought up in the panel. One, Aunger said, is what are the benefits people are seeing from using blockchain. “Everybody asks that question all the time – nobody gives a really good answer,” he said in a phone interview. Additional questions include whether the blockchain platform is being built for the betterment of the patient or organization; whether it truly has privacy; and how to get past the marketing hype, he said. “The other question is who regulates it – should it be government, or should it be someone else,” he said.

Ha said she would like to talk about incentivizing in terms of how blockchain facilitates the creation of a marketplace type of platform enabling patients to provide data and control what is done with it. “After I join a clinical trial, I don’t know where my data is being sold,” she said. “Lack of security around patient data is a massive vulnerability.”

 

 

 

Alexa, What Is Blockchain?

https://www.wipfli.com/insights/articles/aa_alexa-what-is-blockchain?_cldee=aGtvdHVsYUBtc2hvc3Aub3Jn&recipientid=contact-3fde72f1ca28e911a97a000d3a16a9e6-9d947a3bfa4e4003b7370949b112a3ee&utm_source=ClickDimensions&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Accounting%20Wire%20newsletter&esid=222a6d3a-f24f-e911-a980-000d3a16acee

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The last few years have seen a rise in technologies that promise to change the world as we know it. Blockchain is one of the technologies at the center of this universe. We’ve seen headlines like, “Audit dead in a decade?”, “Blockchain isn’t so bad …,” and “Blockchain will start to become boring.” Blockchain is going to change how business is conducted today and into the future, just like any other business application. The billion-dollar questions are how and when. Let’s start with blockchain fundamentals.

Fundamentals

Blockchain, as most know it, is a public, decentralized distributed ledger that can store and confirm all transactions recorded to the ledger. Wait, what? Let’s break down that sentence into what it means to you and my mother. Public simply means available for anyone to use. Decentralized means reducing the power any one party may have over the other and in the end being less likely to find our data being at the mercy of a single institution. Distributed ledger is the avenue used to store and share valuable data and could be anything from a home deed to digital currency.

Public vs. Private

Many think of blockchain transactions as being available to the public, similar to bitcoin. But what happens when I transfer my bitcoin to a public exchange, conduct business on that exchange and withdraw my bitcoin? The business that was conducted on the exchange is not public information, just like stock trades in your brokerage account.

Blockchain provides the opportunity for public and private ledgers to work together and provide the best of both worlds. Imagine paying your employees through blockchain, whereby the transactions are recorded within your private general ledger, and the payroll taxes, retirement funds, and health insurance information are recorded within a consortium (hybrid) ledger. In a case like this, only invited parties would have access to participate in respective ledgers, and then payments would be remitted on a public ledger in the form of bitcoin to those respective vendors.

What Happens to Your Auditors?

I’ve seen the headlines, read the articles and contemplated my career when they say, “Your job will be gone in five years.” Here is a direct quote from an accounting professor: “The distributed ledger reduces the need for audit by 97%. Audits in the future will be competed on the basis of productivity, which will essentially mean who has the fastest hardware and software. And fraud, in the classical sense, will be all but impossible.”

Wow, our professor has overestimated that everyone and every business will be on a gigantic, public, decentralized distributed ledger where anything is possible! That would require an unbelievable amount of trust in a system in less than 10 years that leads to everything being verifiable. I’m not ready to hand over all of my data to a decentralized system where my cash inflows and outflows, including my daily coffee habits, are public knowledge. Are you?

For blockchains to eliminate auditors, there must be a problem within the current state according to the public, a return on investment for the investor and commitment to 100% adoption by all companies. Audits will continue to evolve, as they have over the last several years; that is a statement you cannot argue with. However, the assumption that all transactions are recorded, categorized correctly and authorized is why accounting professionals are still needed. For example, the argument that you didn’t pay your taxes because you were unaware of your obligation doesn’t fly with the IRS; ignorance in this case will be no different.

Data analytics is a great example of a similar “game changer” that has been discussed and highly touted over the last 5-10 years. While some companies have jumped on board, many others are still hesitant to employ these strategies. Similarly, ask lawyers their thoughts on LegalZoom, which first started offering legal service products to the public in 2001. The last time I checked, lawyers haven’t disappeared, right? In fact, a counterargument could be made that they are doing more work than before LegalZoom to help correct their client’s intentions. In other words, blockchain will change how business is conducted; however, it will not be perfect and will not be nearly as fast as many are implying.

This implementation timeline is another concept that many are not fully aware of. There are some significant barriers to overcome, the largest being the sheer computing capability necessary for blockchain to operate effectively. People mine bitcoin, and it takes weeks to make a coin. The more secure the “chain,” the longer it takes to register something on the ledger. That makes sense, right? If the lock is more complex, it will take longer to open it. Currently, without quantum computing, it would take over 100% of the electrical grid capacity to power the computers to do everything blockchain promises to accomplish.

Three Areas Where Blockchain May Make Your Life Easier in the Future

  1. Cash: Bitcoin and others may or may not be the answer to a lot of problems within our current system; however, when you break it down into the simplistic view that it is utilized by independent companies as a secure way of transacting business with nearly instant settlement in comparison with the current banking system, the possibilities start to expand. That is one of the reasons a large bank such as JPM is coming out with its own coin or Fidelity with its own crypto exchange, both in 2019.
  2. Smart Contracts: Why so smart? Smart contracts allow entities to connect multiple inputs to prove contractual obligations are met. Upon those obligations being met, payment would be disbursed and recorded to other blockchains. Put another way, smart contracts in their simplest form are decentralized automation that facilitate, verify and enforce the performance of a transaction. To provide a simple example, a company ships a product to a customer; however, the funds will not be released until the tracking information shows that the product was delivered to the customer.
  3. Supply Chain Management: Wal-Mart is one of the largest and most well-known examples in blockchain supply management, which will soon require lettuce and spinach suppliers to utilize their blockchain database, which will allow rapid location of the source of any contamination. Now let’s take it a step further: Consumers can scan a code from their phone to see the origins of that spinach, including when it was picked. Now imagine that instead of tracking just spinach, you’re able to track the ingredients of your pasta sauce using the same app on your phone. Blockchain will allow large amounts of data to interact with end users in a way we’ve never seen before, and that will only continue to evolve year over year.

In summary, blockchain will change the general concept of how we think of accountants. As routing tasks are automated, the role of accountants will become more and more focused on advisory and analysis, rather than traditional “ticking and tying.”

The burning question is when. Depending on who you ask, you may get a very different timeline, so what is the answer? Generally speaking, we overestimate the amount of technological change that is going to occur in the next 2-5 years, and we underestimate the amount of technological change that is going to occur in the next 10-20 years. Blockchain is no different. Stay tuned.

 

7 blockchain companies to know in 2019

https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/healthcare-information-technology/7-blockchain-companies-to-know-in-2019.html

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Healthcare leaders are all on different pages when it comes to blockchain. Nonetheless, tech companies continue to invest their efforts in blockchain.

Here are seven top blockchain companies to know in 2019, according to digital media website Coindoo.

1. IBM

2. Intellectsoft Blockchain Lab

3. LeewayHertz

4. Innovecs

5. MLG Blockchain

6. Coinfabrik

7. Empirica Software

To read the complete report, click here.

 

 

 

Aetna, Anthem, Health Care Service Corporation, PNC Bank and IBM announce blockchain network

https://www.healthcarefinancenews.com/news/aetna-anthem-health-care-service-corporation-pnc-bank-and-ibm-announce-blockchain-network?mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiT0RJNU16UTNOakl4WlRFNCIsInQiOiJ1WHRTRHREbE5rM1hkZmc1QnRcL3JCSjdxMWdtXC9weGE1OE4yT0tMZ2d0eGVCYnlXbkVDSmVtU09UTzZDaUVSTmE2aVRpT1YzSklCVmVsZ3VaMWVyMDlNa1Z2b25DbXZ2QnpxSUpySWluXC8zSDRoTmkya2JCMU53b1h5YkRQUDlNcyJ9

Network will eventually be open to new members for secure digital sharing of healthcare information.

Aetna, Anthem, IBM, Health Care Service Corporation and PNC Bank have partnered to create a blockchain technology network aimed at improving transparency and interoperability in the healthcare industry. 

The groups intend to use blockchain for more efficient claims and payment processing. Blockchain enables the secure exchange of information. It will also benefit more accurate provider directories.

WHY THIS MATTERS

Collaboration is key in the industry as a more cost-effective alternative to merging to create more competitive and efficient systems.

The current network is expected to add additional health organizations in the coming months, including providers, startups, and technology companies.

Initial members include three of the nation’s largest insurers, Anthem; HCSC,a customer-owned health insurer that includes Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans; Aetna, which is now part of the CVS Health business; IBM, which is a leading blockchain provider; and PNC Bank, which is a member of The PNC Financial Services Group.

Blockchain technology gives health systems an edge because it ideally creates faster, more efficient and secure claims and payment processing.

Insurers are mandated to maintain accurate provider directories, a time consuming and often manual practice involving numerous emails, phone calls and even fax exchanges.

For providers, a new technology that can actually reduce time spent in administrative clicks on a computer is a boon.

THE TREND

Despite major initiatives to digitize healthcare information, improvements in transparency and interoperability are still needed for that data to be shared.

Blockchain is designed to fill that role, reducing administrative errors and costs and ultimately enhancing patient care. The network also enables the companies to build and deploy new solutions.

Walmart last year filed a patent to use blockchain for medical records. A pharmaceutical industry consortium called the MediLedger Project, launched in 2017, is using blockchain to track pills across the supply chain, according to Fortune.

ON THE RECORD

“Through the application of blockchain technology, we’ll work to improve data accuracy for providers, regulators, and other stakeholders, and give our members more control over their own data,” said Claus Jensen, chief technology officer at Aetna

Rajeev Ronanki, Anthem chief digital officer Rajeev Ronanki: “Timely access to medical information has been a stumbling block for creating a seamless consumer experience. With a trusted foundation based on transparency and cryptography, we will provide a faster, safer and more secure way to exchange medical information to transform the  consumer healthcare experience.”

What’s more, blockchain will enable large networks to exchange health data in a transparent and controlled way, according to Lori Steele, general manager for Healthcare and Life Sciences for IBM.

“Using this technology, we can remove friction, duplication, and administrative costs that continue to plague the industry,” added Chris Ward, head of product, PNC Treasury Management.

 

Frost and Sullivan’s 9 healthcare predictions for 2017

http://www.healthcarefinancenews.com/slideshow/frost-and-sullivans-9-healthcare-predictions-2017?p=0

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