The Wall Street Journal recently noted that the United States “will soon spend close to 20% of its GDP” on healthcare. While it might not be possible to address the rising costs of healthcare in the immediate future, there are steps that can be taken to address issues of customer service and efficiency to improve the overall healthcare experience, while ensuring the protection of customer privacy. In recent months, there has been a flurry of excitement about the role that blockchain technology might play in the long-term transformation of U.S. healthcare.
I recently spoke with a few individuals who are deeply conversant in the challenges facing healthcare and how solutions like blockchain can be brought to bear. John Halamka is Chief Information Officer of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, a Harvard University teaching hospital, a position that he has held since 1998. He also held the position of CIO for Harvard Medical School from 2001 through 2012. Halamka recently assumed responsibility as Editor-in-Chief of the new academic journal, Blockchain in Healthcare Today. In the inaugural issue, published in March of this year, Halamka proclaimed his manifesto, “As the Editor-in-Chief of Blockchain in Healthcare Today, my goal is to publish high-quality opinion pieces and research papers about use cases that really require blockchain”. Halamka continued, “Just using blockchain in healthcare because it’s cool does not make sense”.