Blockchain: 3 charts highlight today's infrastructure, interest and initial use cases

HIMSS Analytics found health facilities more prepared for the distributed ledger tech than many might think, but that doesn’t mean they’re making forward progress just yet.
By Tom Sullivan
08:34 AM
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Blockchain infrastructure use cases

Blockchain is the frontrunner when it comes to hope and hype in healthcare and elsewhere. But what is actually happening with the distributed ledger technology right now?

That’s harder to figure. So Healthcare IT News sister HIMSS Analytics conducted original research to determine what hospitals and non-providers are actually achieving with DLT today.

To kick off our Focus on Blockchain during December, I’ll delve into three key themes in this article: how prepared hospitals actually are for blockchain infrastructure-wise, how long survey participants anticipate early field tests will take to develop, and what the first wave of use cases are most likely to be.

Alright, then, time to go. How ready are hospitals for blockchain from a technology infrastructure standpoint?

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It’s not surprising that fewer than 15 percent of the 159 organizations HIMSS Analytics surveyed consider themselves well prepared for blockchain. This technology is novel, if not new, to the healthcare realm. And it’s encouraging that almost 60 percent are moderately prepared.

Let’s pull some numbers out of that chart — two in particular. The 27 percent who are simply not prepared for DLT… no surprise there. Flip that around, though, and 63 percent are moderately or very well prepared. 

That should be cause for technophiles to rejoice, right? Not so fast, actually.

A surprising percentage of healthcare organizations are ready for DLT but not quite as hefty a number are moving forward with cutting edge proofs-of-concept or even pilot programs at this time, let alone advanced blockchain implementations fired up in production environments.

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A mere 8.8 percent are “extremely likely” to trigger a proof of concept or pilot in the next 24 months. In the same timeframe, 17.5 percent are very likely while 55 percent are somewhat likely, and it dips from there.

When they do start using blockchain, then, how will hospitals and non-provider organizations proceed?

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Interoperability. It’s not just everybody’s favorite health IT word anymore, it’s also the top use case for which research respondents indicated blockchain will earn immediate impact.

Interoperability is followed by data transfer, securing medical records, giving patients more control over their own information and improving claims adjudication efficiency.

Those of us following the emergence of blockchain also know that, as with any other wildly hyped emerging tech, despite so much interest real-world work can take time.

That’s why today we’re kicking off our Focus on Blockchain on Healthcare IT News and its sister sites Healthcare Finance and MobiHealthNews, Healthcare Finance and HIMSSTV.

What to expect in our Focus on Blockchain

During December we’ll dive deep to separate blockchain’s hype from reality, explore emerging use cases, engage our readers on which of those might transform blockchain out into a ubiquitous enterprise technology, breakdown what and when to invest in DLT, shine a light on what payers should know about the tech, and more.

Look for new articles everyday across our information brands between today and New Year’s Eve.

No, this doesn’t mean our blockchain coverage ends come the New Year. Rather, much like we’ve done with our Focus on Innovation, Focus on Cybersecurity and Focus on Artificial Intelligence, you’ll be reading about the topics year-round.

What’s different than the three months prior? This time, we actually have two themes: Blockchain and The Business of Healthcare, aka what the whole C-suite should know about digital transformation. 

 

Focus on Blockchain

For December we’ll dive deep to separate what’s really happening today from the marketing speak.

Twitter: SullyHIT
Email the writer: tom.sullivan@himssmedia.com

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.