Blockchain Backers Want to Unleash Tech’s Potential

Advocates say the technology could enable easier, more secure sharing of patient information, among other uses.

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Blockchain, the technology used by Bitcoin for financial transactions, is gaining support as a way for doctors and health-care institutions to share a patient’s medical information.

Currently, electronic health records are used by many hospitals, but they are very difficult to share among physicians — say your primary care physician and your allergist.

And, because the data is stored on centralized servers, it is easily hacked.


Advocates believe that blockchain could end that by connecting those records without compromising privacy, according to a report by KERA.

According to IBM, “Blockchain is a shared, immutable ledger for recording the history of transactions. It fosters a new generation of transactional applications that establish trust, accountability and transparency.”

Dallas-based HealthNextGen CEO Venkatesh Hariharan said while there is a lot of hype surrounding blockchain, it could positively disrupt the health-care industry.

“Blockchain’s going to be game changing. I can’t think of a more disruptive technology on the market at present.”
Venkatesh Hariharan

“Blockchain’s going to be game changing,” he told KERA. “I can’t think of a more disruptive technology on the market at present.”

Blockchain also is gaining interest in the halls of Congress, where a Congressional Blockchain Caucus has been formed.

Co-chairs David Schweikert, R-Arizona, and Jared Polis, D-Colorado, said they hope to educate fellow representatives about the opportunities blockchain could afford.

“Members of Congress are starting to get visits from people that are doing things with the blockchain and talking about it,” Polis told MIT Technology Review. “They are interested in learning more, and we hope to provide the forum to do that.”

Schweikert told MIT Technology Review that it’s important that people understand that blockchain isn’t necessarily Bitcoin, and that it has many applications.

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