- Blockchain continues to create buzz, with 74% of respondents in a Deloitte global survey citing a "compelling business case" for using the technology in their organizations.
- Of those, 43% say their organization is already deploying blockchain in some capacity, while 41% expect to see blockchain application within the next year.
- Still, while more than half (59%) of early adopters believe blockchain could disrupt their industry, many see few active use cases currently to fulfill that promise.
The survey spanned 10 global industries and three economic regions. Healthcare and life sciences comprised 16% of the respondents.
Organizations that already leverage digital technologies as a business strategy are embracing blockchain faster than traditional enterprise organizations, but the traditional ones are also upping their ante on blockchain in hope it will increase efficiencies and support new business models and revenue sources, according to the report.
Interest in blockchain is high, and companies don't want to be left behind if valid use cases are identified. Nearly 40% of respondents say their organization will invest at least $5 million in blockchain technology over the next year.
At the same time, 44% of respondents feel blockchain is overhyped, up from 34% in Deloitte’s 2016 survey, and there are complaints of "blockchain fatigue," the report says.
And although a majority (78%) of organizations fear losing competitive advantage if they ignore the blockchain craze, a third question whether they will see return on investment in the technology.
The findings are reflective of current actions in the healthcare industry, where companies are forging ahead with blockchain projects despite uncertainty about probable use cases and long-term benefits.
In January, American Medical Association-backed startup Akiri launched a vendor-agnostic tool that uses blockchain technology to securely transmit healthcare information using codes. And recently, Walmart obtained a U.S. patent for a medical records system that would be stored in a blockchain database and retrieved by first responders in the event of an emergency.
And Mount Sinai's Icahn School of Medicine and Institute for Next Generation Healthcare have established a new research center devoted to exploring potential applications for blockchain in healthcare and medical science.
Given its ability to improve interoperability, the Internet Data Corporation predicts one in five healthcare organizations will be using blockchain technology for operations and patient identification by 2020. But other use cases, such as incentivizing patients to exchange data and streamlining administrative data quality and management, are largely conceptual at this stage, Mutaz Shegewi, an IDC analyst and the report’s author, told Healthcare Dive recently.
"Blockchain essentially brings with it certain properties that may … be able to unleash a lot of the untapped value and the logic from these kind of siloed data reserves we see in healthcare systems," Shegewi said. As healthcare increasingly needs to respond more context — patients, families, the demand for consumer-centric experiences — "that is bringing this need to exchange data and to be able to do it through strong, robust methods of interoperability," he added.