KUMA Attends the ONC/NIST Workshop on the Use of Blockchain in Healthcare and Research

Authored by Jenn Behrens, Partner and Executive Vice President of Privacy and Scott Shorter, Vice President of Security.

We were excited to be on-site supporting and attending the Use of Blockchain in Healthcare and Research Workshop  , hosted by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) and the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) on September 26th and 27th this week.  Practitioners, government agencies and academics were all in attendance to discuss implications of blockchain as infrastructure or for utilization as a base upon which additional capabilities into the network for a variety of healthcare use cases.  Jenn’s privacy assessment of the usage of blockchain as infrastructure through the DHS Xcelerate pilot was presented. The utilization of pseudonymity coupled with the enforcement of minimalization was found to offset some of the inherent privacy risk of blockchain while the issue of immutability was found to still present potential problems for individuals.  Scott was also on-hand to support ONC’s administration of the event and analysis of the findings.

Many exciting topics and questions emerged from the presentations.  Major themes included the distillation of the technology of blockchain and of hash graph, the application of blockchain across different sectors (i.e., healthcare v financial services), monetization strategies and provenance requirements.  Stakeholders felt that there are several critical tasks to accomplish for the saturation of blockchain in the marketplace, including determining cost avoidance tactics, implementing real-life applications, acting as a disrupter in the marketplace and being careful to accurately limit the scope of blockchain capabilities when pursuing use cases.

We consider a few additional key factors that may support successful implementation of blockchain technologies in healthcare:

  • Standardization of terminology, protocols and models pertaining to blockchain technology
  • Interoperability requirements for privacy and security specifications
  • Clarity around potential roles for blockchain in the healthcare system

Watch the blog for information about the report from the workshop, including summaries of panel discussion and thoughts on next steps.  As articulated by Adam Migus, “blockchain can be leveraged as infrastructure to provide capabilities like highly available key distribution or it can be extended to provide additional functionality by adding capabilities to miners in the network.”

For those with interest in the topic, please view the winning submissions, the submission bank and the presentations, and contact KUMA professionals for additional advice and guidance.

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