Change Healthcare, the McKesson-backed healthcare technology company created in March, is the first healthcare organization to join Hyperledger as a premier member. Change Healthcare CTO Aaron Symanski will join the its governing board.
Hyperledger is an open-source collaborative effort to advance blockchain. The goal is to collaborate with Hyperledger members to develop an open, distributed ledger technology that makes financial interoperability work better in healthcare.
Hyperledger started a Healthcare Working Group last October that is looking to help the healthcare industry “realize the full potential of open source blockchain technologies.” The group now has more than 425 technologists and executives.
Though blockchain started as a way to track international bitcoin transactions via a distributed electronic ledger, supporters of the technology say it can improve data flow between systems, heighten security and improve patient satisfaction.
Healthcare organizations have seen promise in blockchain. In fact, a Deloitte report in December found that 35% of surveyed healthcare and life sciences organizations said they plan to deploy blockchain technology in 2017, the highest of any industry.
The technology was one of many that PricewaterhouseCoopers' Health Research Institute recommended healthcare administrators should familiarize themselves with this year.
And companies are already getting into the game. Earlier this year, IBM Watson and the FDA announced a partnership to define "a secure, efficient and scalable exchange of health data using blockchain technology." PokitDok recently selected a Linux Foundation tool to record its DokChain transactions, building out a blockchain platform.
As with anything in healthcare, it takes a long time to move a large vessel. Currently, blockchain seems to be more focused on promises and exploration than actual outcomes in the healthcare field. As more partnerships, platforms continue to mature, perhaps the promise of blockchain will become more than a promise.