Microsoft unveils open source Coco blockchain framework for healthcare, other industries

Hospitals can use the tech to create blockchain networks with governance, security and other transactional capabilities, the company says.
By Tom Sullivan
03:57 PM
Microsoft Coco

Microsoft on Thursday announced Coco, an open source framework it said will enable users to build enterprise-class blockchain networks.

Mark Russinovich, Microsoft Azure CTO, wrote in a blog post that any company, “from ledger startups to retailers to health providers to global banks,” can use Coco’s confidentiality, data governance, scalability and security functionalities.

Blockchain to date has gained the interest of hospital IT shops because of its potential to strengthen security, enable new ways of making health data interoperable between EHRs and other software systems, and other emerging use cases. 

Consultancy Deloitte, in fact, said this spring that healthcare is among the most proactive industries with 35 percent intending to deploy blockchain this year.

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Coco taps current protocols and trusted execution environments, including Microsoft’s Windows Virtual Secure Mode and Intel’s Software Guard Extensions to enable what Russinovich described as “enterprise-ready Blockchain networks,” that perform at database-worthy speeds.

The vendor said that including business-specific models for confidentiality, data governance and support for transactions creates real-world use cases in healthcare and other vertical industries.  

In addition to interoperability and security, healthcare and technology experts have suggested Blockchain could be used for claims adjudication, clinical trials, master patient index and supply chain purposes.

“Coco will be compatible with any ledger protocol and can operate in the cloud and on premises, on any operating system and hypervisor that supports a compatible TEE,” Russinovich said. “We are building in this flexibility to allow the community to integrate Coco with additional protocols, try it on other hardware and adapt it for enterprise scenarios we haven't yet thought of.”

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