ANN ARBOR – Healthcare specialists increasingly view blockchain technology as a way to streamline the myriad Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) populating the industry. At present, these HIEs are hindering the development of a more interoperable records system. In essence, they serve as information silos created by vendors hoping to lock-in their customers. As a recent Forbes article put it

“(healthcare) privacy remains challenging…(as there are) no uniform architectures and standards to ensure trusted access to… personally identifiable information and safe data exchange between all stakeholders, including patients. It hinders patient engagement due to patients’ limited ownership of their health data, hurts care cooperation between providers from different networks, and also back-pedals population health management since caregivers can’t effectively exchange their insights in a secure way.

Fortunately, blockchain-based data exchanges may lead to the creation of open data standards, a move that would eliminate this reality (even when country-specific regulations appear to pose an obstacle).

So far, only a few blockchain startups have teamed up with medical institutions.  According to Kamran Khan, CEO of blockchain-startup Transio, hospitals pursuing this path are finding IT vendors reluctant to divulge how their proprietary data systems work. These vendors also recognize a common exchange as a threat to both their technology and business revenues. Moreover, hospitals with different HIEs must contend with different patient codes and even different disease-based systems.

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