In 2016, we saw a wave of interest and investment targeted at blockchain applications for the financial services industry. As the year comes to a close, that same momentum is carrying blockchain beyond the boundaries of financial services to drive forward another industry; healthcare.
We are witnessing in real time, healthcare organizations both on the payer and the provider side, diving in to explore blockchain in all of its forms. Specifically, executives recognize both the potential for reduced friction improvements to current operations as well as new revenue streams and business models as a direct result of blockchain technology.
From the study, 70 percent of the Trailblazers identify three areas as the greatest potential to realize benefit from blockchain technology:
Clinical trials data
Medical and healthcare records
Blockchain uniquely benefit clinical trials as transparently recording data can increase trust for patients and doctors. This can dissuade those who selectively report outcomes from clinical trials.
Interestingly, providers and payers are using blockchain distinctively — providers look to reduce information frictions, while payers tackle invisible threats. Providers also expect benefits in medical health records and payers focus on easing regulatory burden. Organizations moving first with blockchain solutions are identifying the area most important to them.
Despite these benefits, it is important to recognize the challenges organizations may face. The healthcare industry is often blamed for being overly risk adverse and executives will point to the immaturity of the technology and insufficient skills of companies offering blockchain technology as main barriers to successful adoption. I am personally impressed with IBM offerings, and am excited every time we have the opportunity to work with partners on roll-outs.
Ultimately, it will be those organizations that move fast by identifying key use-cases, supporting the adoption of standards and leveraging consortium efforts who will benefit most greatly from blockchain technology.
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