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The Benefits of Blockchain Technology in Healthcare

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A blockchain-based information exchange could remove friction and costs presented by intermediaries in existing health information exchanges, according to a Deloitte white paper [PDF] on blockchain’s potential benefits for health care titled, “Blockchain: Opportunities for Health Care.”

hhs-image

The white paper was written in response to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology ideation challenge—The Use of Blockchain in Health IT and Health-Related Research. Deloitte’s was among 15 papers selected from a field of over 70 submissions from a range of individuals, organizations and companies addressing ways blockchain technology could be used in healthcare.

15 Winners Selected

The winning white papers were chosen based on creativity, ability to inform and foster transformative changes in the industry, and their proposed solutions or recommendations for market viability.

The relevance of the government’s call for white papers is that it serves as an official acknowledgment of the technology.

Use cases already demonstrate the benefits of blockchain technology’s decentralization, trust disintermediation, enhanced data integrity and lower transaction costs, the Deloitte white paper noted. The exchange of health records and exchange data using the protocol, Integrating the Health Care Enterprise (IHE), offers a way to address medical records accessibility and system interoperability.

The paper examined the technical requirements for health care systems to meet the standards that will support the envisioned National Health Information Network.

Blockchain Targets Pain Points

Blockchain technology offers a distributed framework to improve the integration of health care information across uses and stakeholders. It addresses existing pain points and provides a more disintermediated, secure and efficient system.

The paper listed six Health Information Exchange pain points and corresponding distrubted ledger opportunities: establishing a trust network, cost per transaction, master patient index, varying data standards, limited access to population data, and inconsistent rules and permissions.

Four Key Questions

Deloitte’s blockchain framework offers a guide for organizations interested in the technology. Four key questions can guide blockchain decisions: 1) when to initiate blockchain pilots, 2) how to design use cases, 3) when to strengthen the system through smart contracts, 4) should they deploy consortium, permissioned or permissionless blockchains?

Not all problems call for a distributed ledger solution, the paper noted. The four conditions in which blockchain helps are: 1) multiple parties create transactions that alter information in a shared depository, 2) the parties have to trust the transactions’ validity, 3) the intermediaries are inefficient or not trusted, 4) improved security is required to ensure the system’s integrity.

Once an organization decides to initiate a blockchain, the next step is to design use cases. The primary uses cases are: 1) authenticate and verify information, or 2) transfer value.

Use Case: Data Access

Prescrypt, a proof-of-concept developed by Deloitte Netherlands in collaboration with SNS Bank and Radboud, provides patients full ownership of medical records, enabling them to revoke and grant provider access to personal data. Providers can then authorize prescriptions on the blockchain. Organizations can verify a patient’s prescription history, genetics data or digital identity.

Healthcare tab

To deploy a blockchain solution, organizations can opt for a permissionless blockchain like bitcoin, a permissioned one restricting access to a select group, or a consortium like R3. Deployment also requires a blockchain protocol, the supportive technology to guide the structure and application development.

The protocol will influence the scope of applications and the number of participating users.

Platforms such as Ethereum offer the means to create decentralized applications on top of the blockchain architecture.

Hyperledger is an open-source initiative to provide a platform for corporate blockchain platforms.

The opportunity also exists to improve the health care information system using smart contracts that execute automatically when conditions are met. The application uses algorithms to customize conditions to determine when value should be exchanged or an event should be triggered.

Not A Panacea

Blockchain is not a substitute for an enterprise database, the paper noted. Its solutions are not suited to high volume data requiring total privacy and immediate access within an organization. Instead, blockchain solutions record specific transaction data to be shared across a network in which collaboration and transparency are critical.

Blockchain technology has potential in the U.S. health care realm, the paper stated. A consortium blockchain could realize national health information interoperability.

Such a blockchain could create a transaction layer for all organizations. It could also advance the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) goals to standardize health care information by creating a transaction layer that stakeholders can securely collaborate on.

Nationwide Interoperability

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information defined critical components for nationwide interoperability. Current technologies do not fully address these requirements since they are limited in the areas of privacy, security and interoperability. The current health care records are disjointed due to lack of common architectures.

The flow of information from the patient to the health care organization every time a service takes place need not end at the individual organizational level, the paper noted. Health care organizations could direct a standardized set of information to a nationwide distributed ledger transaction layer. The information would then be universally available through the blockchain private key, allowing patients to share their information with organizations more easily.

The blockchain’s proof of work, cryptographic public/private key access, and distributed data bring a new level of health care information integrity.

Enhanced Security

All organizations connected to the blockchain can have their own copy of the health care ledger. If a block should be adjusted, 51% of the network participants would need to approve the change, as every copy would have to be updated to reflect the change. This strengthens security and limits the risk of malicious activity.

Healthcare

Patient Care Outcomes Research (PCOR), one of the successful blockchain use case, conducts patient safety event reporting, clinical research, adverse event identification and public health reporting. And because of the blockchain’s security and privacy properties, PCOR researchers can access a single source of information that maintains integrity of the health care information for every patient.

Challenges To Consider

Various organizational, technical and behavioral economics challenges exist before organizations nationwide can adopt a health care blockchain.

A network of interconnected computers (nodes) are required to supply the computing power to create blocks once a transaction is submitted.

The ledger cannot directly store abstract types of data like MRI images or e-rays. Such data requires links to a separate location.

Further support could be required to encourage organizations to adopt the technology and participate in a network. While some organizations are testing the technology to verify and track medical records and claims internally, blockchain will be stronger when the number of users increases.

Forecasting the costs of operating a blockchain within a private enterprise or among a consortium of partners is difficult. To understand the costs to meet HHS and partner needs, targeted experiments and common blockchain guidelines are required to test the technology with a view to scale.

The Case For Experimentation

Experiments with blockchain technology could help HHS determine what it can accomplish. The experiment design should address holistic work stream problem sets with transactions crossing various parties from creation to archival storage.

Following the experiment through complete transaction cycles will allow developers to address friction points and determine areas of advantage before nationwide implementation.

Images from Shutterstock and HHS.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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3.9 stars on average, based on 8 rated postsLester Coleman is a veteran business journalist based in the United States. He has covered the payments industry for several years and is available for writing assignments.




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As Encrypgen Nears The Finish Line, A Competitor Drops Out

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Several weeks ago, I wrote an introductory article on Encrypgen.  Due to several requests and a major development, I feel a second article is warranted.  I will provide a quick summary but new readers should definitely check out the first article.

Background

Encrypgen (DNA) is the undisputed leader in the genomic blockchain security space.  Last month, Encrypgen released a beta version of its Gene-Chain.  Consumers will be able to safely upload and store their genomic data on the Gene-Chain.  In addition, consumers will be able to earn passive income by selling their data to researchers.  Investors and researchers were eagerly waiting for that release which caused a temporary explosion in the DNA token price.  Encrypgen continues to progress and expects to release the working version of the Gene-Chain within the next few months.

Revenue Generation

A few questions were sent to me about how Encrypgen will make money.  That is certainly the end game for all businesses and crypto is no different.  Let’s first remember that the DNA token is a utility token.  Platform usage will determine the value of each token.  In order to purchase data from consumers, researchers will need to first buy DNA tokens.  Although researchers can certainly buy tokens direct from the exchanges, there will be an easier way.

Researchers will have the option of buying DNA tokens direct on the platform (i.e FIAT to DNA).  Encrypgen will set the rate of each token above market.  The tokens will come from a pre-determined supply (roughly 3 million) that the company currently holds.  Since researchers will need to pay an above market rate, Encrypgen can then use the funds to purchase additional tokens on the market to replenish its supply.  In theory, that will drive up the price of the DNA token while simultaneously providing Encrypgen with substantial profits.  The profits can then be used for additional marketing, development, and other essential corporate activities.

Competitor Drops Out

The genomic space is getting a lot of attention lately.  And with lots of attention and relatively few barriers to entry, competition is natural.  Until recently, Nebula Genomics was seen as the primary competitor to Encrypgen in the genomic blockchain space.  Nebula put together a great team and generated a lot of buzz.  In August, the company received a $4.3 million seed round from several VC firms.

Throughout the process, Nebula was claiming to be a blockchain company.  In Telegram (a popular method for companies to communicate with investors), Nebula was telling people that the future plan was to do an ICO.  However, that has all changed and it appears Nebula has said “goodbye” to crypto.

Telegram Chat confirm no Nebula ICO

Telegram Chat

I took a screenshot of the Nebula chat on Telegram.  In that chat, Nebula appears to be confirming that there will be no public ICO.  However, they strangely leave open the option to sell 50k blocks to investors.  I’m not quite sure I understand that.  But what is clear is that Nebula is not a blockchain company.  They never were and they never will be.

Conclusion

I’ve been confident in Encrypgen’s success for a long-time.  One of the concerns I had was regarding the competition that was entering the genomic blockchain space.  Because of the strength of the team and the marketing, Nebula appeared to be the main threat to Encrypgen.  Now that Nebula has raised the white flag and is dropping out of the crypto market, Encrypgen appears to be full steam ahead!

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Analysis

Has Ethereum Lost Its Cache?

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For all of us believers that asset prices are set by fundamentals rather than fantasy, these are perplexing times.  Crypto prices are not only way off their January highs, they are at the lowest level this year. Progress in addressing issues like scaling and security may be slow, but they are taking place.  The cooperation between crypto and government regulators is improving in big chunks.

Yet, while all this is going on crypto technicals look terrible. Everyday technical analysts use words like downtrend and overhead resistance.  When prices have rallied, the joy is short lived, lasting only for a day or two. Even on good days, the moves are weak on low volume.  This is never a good sign. Long gone are the kind of investor fears about missing out (FOMO) that we saw last year.

There are fundamental reasons for skepticism for long term believers, as the data has not been going in the right direction.  True, projects are progressing a slow pace. This maybe good for avoiding problems with security etc., but for investors who want immediate gratification, right now crypto isn’t ringing any bells.

But truth is, crypto markets appear to be unresponsive even to seemingly good news. Take for example this recent Cryptovest headline: Cardano (ADA) Releases New Version, Price Remains Stagnant.   Today, crypto exchange Coinbase announced it was increasing daily trading limits sevenfold, changing settlement times from days to instantaneous and finishing its beta before accepting Ethereum Classic.

At the time of this writing, Bitcoin had fallen over 8% in the previous 24 hours while ETH was off almost 10.5%.  This marks on of the worst days for crypto in quite a long time.

Drilling down a bit into ETH reveals some core softness.  Since virtually the entire crypto pricing stinks there is more than a single cause to Ethereum’s weakness, but here is a start.

Using DappRadar To Measure Ether Demand

According to Business Insider, there were over 930 ICOs last year that raised anywhere from $3-$5.7 billion depending on which resource you listen to.  In the first quarter of 2018, there were roundly another 200 raising over $6 billion. These numbers make for great headlines but there is one problem.  They have not translated into higher prices for Ether, or any other crypto either.

The Ethereum platform can claim that somewhere between 70%-80% of ICOs that have Dapps built on the ETH platform.  If logic were applied, this should result in greater demand for Ether. But as the truism goes, if everything were logical, men would ride sidesaddle!

One of the clues to unlock this contradiction may rest in the use cases for the most active Dapps.  What I an getting at is this: when the top five Dapps function as exchanges to buy and sell Ether or any other ERC-20 token, that is not a sign of mass adoption. Nor is it good when almost 75% of the activity in the top five is accounted by three Dapps and those are exchanges. And finally when volume on nine out of the top ten are trending down, it is not what investors want so see.

To keep some balance to these observations, there are some positive use cases.  Three of the ten most active Dapps are for gamers, and that is a use case worth it weight in any currency. Also, usage levels tend to be quite volatile from hour to hour so we may have checked on an atypical moment.  But what we want to see are use cases like marketplaces or even gambling where user demand trumps speculators and where activity is growing.

What Is Happening With Augur

And speaking of gambling, Ethereum big gun Augur, which allows users to create prediction markets for just about anything by buying shares and staking ETH in the outcome of an event.  When launched in early July nearly 1,200 were traded in a 24 hour period. At the time Augur appeared to be one of Ethereum’s most promising Dapps.

To be clear, 1,200 is just a benchmark and not proof of success or failure. However, when Augur, one of your most promising Dapps, is being used less than 100 a day with a huge valuation of over $300 million, that is a disappointing moment.

What Ethereum Needs

So what is missing here?  From the insights offered by DappRadar, the answer is that ETH, and for that matter crypto in general, is hungry for valid signs of a breakthrough in mass adoption. In other words, developments in the payments side of crypto could well provide the needed solution. There is no shortage of projects like Bitcoin Superstore and TenX.  And there is always the possibility that the critics of Augur are premature in claiming this potentially game changing Dapp is a disappointment. But so far all of the flashy new whitepapers and highly valued ICOs aren’t connecting with investors. It is time for proof that actual crypto users are getting into game.  And obviously, what is good for ETH is also needed by other players as well.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.4 stars on average, based on 106 rated postsJames Waggoner is a veteran Wall Street analyst and hedge fund manager who has spent the past few years researching the fintech possibilities of cryptocurrencies. He has a special passion for writing about the future of crypto.




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MB Technology and GoChain Partner to Accelerate Innovation on the Blockchain

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MB Technology has recently announced that it is committed to bringing $500 million USD worth of ICOs to the GoChain platform. MB Technology is an expert ICO advisory firm that has advised blockchain projects with a combined valuation of over $2 billion in several industries. Some of the companies that they advised include Fantom, Origo, GoChain, QuarkChain, CoinSuper, Icon and other top ICOs.

The company is committing $500 million to GoChain because it has already launched it’s mainnet functioning at 100 times the speed of Ethereum while being 1,000 times more energy efficient. GoChain is fully compatible with existing Ethereum wallets, smart contracts, dApps, etc. Two companies have already chosen GoChain to launch their ICOs: Solaster Health and Etherprise with a combined value of $63 million.

GoChain has hit the ground running. While many blockchains are still trying to finish up their technical whitepaper or have yet to launch their mainnet, GoChain is way ahead of the curvey. Although blockchains are competing to deliver the fastest Transactions-Per-Second (TPS), they nothing without the dApps that build on them. While speed is important, most blockchains releasing now are more than capable of handling sufficient TPS for production dApps. The dApp ecosystem built on top of a blockchain is just as important, if not more, than the speed of the blockchain itself.

ICOs struggle to build on new blockchains as there are not many well-defined standards. GoChain’s codebase is 100% compatible with Ethereum so any dApp that can or has been built on top of it will easily port to GoChain. This makes it easy for existing Ethereum apps to move over to GoChain and immediately work 100 times faster. A few blockchains build amazingly fast transacting software yet have no use cases or a dApp ecosystem building strategy.

With MB Technology bringing half a billion dollars to GoChain, the coin is extremely undervalued. Compared to other projects on CoinMarketCap, GoChain should be at least in the $100 million market cap range. Competing blockchains talk about overtaking Ethereum, yet GoChain has a working mainnet with dApps being added at a blinding rate. GoChain is one of the most underestimated and undervalued blockchains at this time. Look for GoChain to grow to five to ten times in the next few months from its current market cap of $19.4 million. GoChain is currently only on Kucoin. Look for it to list on other exchanges as it gains daily trading volume.

MB Technology offers advisory services to bring specific solutions designed to boost a project’s outcomes. They also create global investor awareness through their network of partners, influencers, and media outlets.

Disclaimer: Writer does not own GoChain. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 51 rated postsKent Hamilton - Co-Founder of CryptoDayTrader.io, where we are building Pro Crypto Tools




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