- On Monday, IBM launched what it is billing as the “first enterprise-ready” blockchain service.
- The new tool, based on the Linux Foundation’s open-source Hyperledger Fabric, allows developers to build and host secure blockchain networks on the company’s Cloud.
- The new blockchain offering is designed to scale up quickly as new network members join, according to IBM.
IBM also announced availability of blockchain governance tools and new open-source developer tools aimed at shortening the time it takes to build with Hyperledger Fabric.
Interest in blockchain is heating up in healthcare. While adoption rates are still relatively low at around 12%, a recent Deloitte report found 35% of healthcare and life sciences organizations plan to deploy the technology in the coming year, outpacing blockchain adoption in other industries.
Humana CEO Bruce Broussard has suggested that blockchain technology could be the next big advancement in healthcare, with its ability to provide secure and traceable transactions between multiple parties without an intermediary. The suggestion ties in with recent industry interest in blockchain’s potential to improve interoperability in healthcare and ONC’s recent blockchain challenges.
Developed as a means of tracking international bitcoin transactions over the internet, blockchain technology is being touted for its promise of improving data flow between disparate systems and heightened security.
Blockchain could be useful to healthcare organizations in a number of ways, including EHR management, consumer identify management and fraud prevention, Trine Tsouderos, director of PwC’s Health Research Institute, told Healthcare Dive in December. She said it’s time for administrators and managers to bone up on the technology and strategize ways to utilize it to improve their operations.
In January, IBM Watson partnered with the Food and Drug Administration to develop a secure, efficient and scalable means of exchanging health data using blockchain technology. The organizations will look at owner-mediated data exchanges from sources like EHRs, clinical trials and wearable apps and will initially focus on cancer-related data.