Like any emerging technology, blockchain is receiving a lot of attention among healthcare organizations, but some of that attention is grounded in unwarranted optimism or needless fear.
In the last year, much progress has occurred in healthcare to advance the use of blockchain technology. For example, in January the Food and Drug Administration and IBM Watson Health announced a partnership to investigate potential ways that blockchain technology can be used in healthcare. And last August, The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT announced winners of its challenge seeking industry ideas on how blockchain could be used in healthcare to protect, manage and exchange electronic health information.
Proponents of blockchain believe it could have wide applicability in healthcare. It enables the collection of data from a variety of sources, and keeps an audit trail of transactions, thus establishing accountability and transparency in the data exchange process.