3 principles for better understanding blockchain

IBM breaks down the much-hyped technology for healthcare and other industry executives looking to better grasp what the tech can do.
By Bernie Monegain
02:49 PM
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understanding blockchain

Blockchain holds plenty of promise for healthcare security and interoperability. But hospital IT leaders and executives are still trying to better understand the technology and how to put it to use. 

That said, a late-2016 report by Accenture projected that healthcare would implement blockchain tools faster than other industries in 2017 and technology vendors, including IBM and Google, are working to meet that demand. 
 
Often described as distributed ledger technology, Blockchain is widely viewed as a change agent akin to the internet in the late 1990’s forever altering communications. 

[Also: Healthcare to rollout Blockchain faster than other industries in 2017, says Deloitte]

Big Blue recommended in a new report that enterprise adopters in healthcare and other vertical industries develop a close understanding of blockchain. To that end, the technology stalwart outlined three overarching themes to be aware of: 

Blockchain will transform business processes, trade and transactions.

The underlying technology enables networks to share information, such as patient or research data and is capable of synchronizing those to enable a shared view for all network members.

The ecosystem and data therein become more valuable as the blockchain network grows.

“The real value for blockchain is achieved when these businesses networks grow,” IBM wrote. “With a strong ecosystem business networks can more easily reach critical mass allowing users to build new models and reinvent the transaction process.” 

Blockchain can improve trust across organizations.

Hospitals can use blockchain to conduct secure transactions, be those financial in nature or health data exchange, much more quickly and less expensively than traditionally done in healthcare. It can also help reduce fraud and illicit payment practices. 

[Also: Google's DeepMind developing blockchain-like tech to track health data]

“The visionaries adopting blockchain today are using the technology to reinvent many fundamental business practices,” Marie Wieck, general manager, IBM Blockchain, said in a statement. “Working with clients to develop open source and permissioned blockchain solutions for the enterprise, we are seeing firsthand how the technology is revolutionizing the way organizations recognize value and do business with one another.”

Twitter: @Bernie_HITN