Although applications of blockchain technology are still nascent, all signs point to widespread adoption in the health and life sciences (HLS), for multiple uses. Blockchains offer so much ready-made, battle-tested capability -- time stamps, ledgers, synchronized replication, immutability, non-repudiation, self-executing contracts -- that one can hardly think of an HLS application unable to benefit.
For many HLS applications, blockchains will be far more than just a convenient set of software libraries. They will be transformative. For this reason, industry, academia, and others are starting to re-imagine HLS workflows in a blockchain-y way, i.e. as transaction ledgers, identifying how a blockchain underpinning could make applications simpler, safer, easier, and more reliable.
To that end, and as part of its commitment to furthering this technology, Intel is presenting a series of such HLS re-imaginings. Blockchain application notes #1 and #2 have already been published for public consumption and unlimited distribution.
- Blockchain Application Note #1, “Blockchains for Data Sharing in Clinical Research: Trust in a Trustless World” (March 2017), describes the many advantages blockchains offer for research data-sharing. Because trust is essential when sharing data, and because blockchains are, in large part, a technological method of bringing trust to transactions, we believe that blockchains could offer researchers and human subjects higher data value and better personal information protection than current practices.
- Blockchain Application Note #2, “Blockchains for Physician Credentialing” (April 2017), outlines the natural affinity between the clinician credentialing process and blockchains, ultimately showing how blockchains could greatly streamline this essential, but labor-intensive task.
More application notes are planned, so be sure to watch this space for future posts.
What questions do you have? Tweet them to @IntelHealth or @DavidHoulding.
This post was co-written by Intel Chief Medical Officer John Sotos, MD, MS, and Intel Director of Healthcare Privacy & Security David Houlding, MSc, CISSP, CIPP.