Healthcare Industry Insights

Healthcare rallies for blockchain : Continuing the discussion

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Revisiting my notebook and e-mails from the start of 2016, one thing that struck me was the virtual absence of the word blockchain. Fast forward to January 2017 and my in-box is dominated by e-mails on blockchain. I now ‘get’ blockchain and how it can benefit the industries that I’m passionate about – healthcare and life sciences. So why this turnaround?

Back in the summer I was approached by my IBM Institute for Business Value colleague and blockchain wizard, Veena Pureswaren, about conducting research with the Economist Intelligence Unit on blockchain in healthcare. Together we interviewed 200 healthcare executives – payers & providers across 16 countries. We investigated the state of adoption of blockchain in the healthcare along with what benefits it can bring and how this technology might ease frictions that are holding back growth and innovation in healthcare. And just before Christmas we launched our new paper, Healthcare rallies for blockchains: Keeping patients at the center. One of the findings that we talk about is:


But it wasn’t until last week  that the importance of this really hit home to me. A joint initiative was announced between the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and IBM Watson Health to investigate at how blockchain can be used to secure the exchange of healthcare data in order to improve public health. Initial findings will be shared later in the year with the project expected to take 2 years in total.

So this week we start to intensify the exchange of ideas around this topic by kicking-off a series of blogs from subject matter experts in the field starting with my colleague Dr Nicky Hekster. Please visit this site regularly to read the blog series and share YOUR views on how you see blockchain being used across the healthcare ecosystem.

Visit IBM Watson Health Booth #1809 at HIMSS17  (Feb 19-23, 2017) to learn more about blockchain technology for the healthcare industry and meet IBM experts on it.

To learn more about IBM’s presence at HIMSS17 click here:  

Join us in the conversation at:

IBM Healthcare Twitter: @IBMHealthcare and #IBMHealthcare

IBM Watson Health Twitter: @IBMWatsonHealth and #WatsonHealth

IBM Institute for Business Value, Global Life Sciences & Healthcare Lead

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