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Highways and Toll Roads

I recently gave a talk at a UCL MBA HEALTH webinar about how Blockchains can help solve Electronic Health Record Interoperability.


This short blog post highlights some of the salient points. Included in the article are a few links to some relevant papers that discuss the progress that has been made.

For brevity, these are listed as bullet points.



  1. Blockchains enable multiple entities with diverse economic interests to collaborate where it is natural to cheat or seek advantage. This is a critical point!

  2. Blockchains enable SELF-VERIFICATION of Author and Content. This negates third party intermediaries for Trust.

  3. Just as Bitcoin enables digital financial asset transfer, peer-to-peer across borders in a censorship resistant network without central authority approvals, Blockchain EHRs enable the sharing of INFORMATION ASSETS with the same features.

  4. By joining a network/ecosystem for data exchange, parties are able to share in the GOVERNANCE of the ecosystem and secure the veracity of the data by ensuring consensus is reached before it is added. This 'single version of agreed Truth' is incredibly powerful.

  5. Data is the CURRENCY of Healthcare, and it is critical for CLINICAL OUTCOMES, FINANCIAL EFFICIENCIES, SUPPLY CHAIN INTEGRITY, PUBLIC HEALTH INITIATIVE SUCCESSES, SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH and FOR TRAINING ML/AI ALGORITHMS.

  6. 30% of the world's data by volume is Healthcare Data, but Healthcare IT investment is one of the lowest of all industries.

  7. The UK's NHS Data is worth £9.6Bn per year (EY Research) and Big Data is estimated to be worth $78Bn by 2027.

  8. BIS Research estimated that $100Bn of savings (across IT operations, support functions, personnel, health data breaches) could be realised by 2025 if Blockchain was immediately adopted in Healthcare.

  9. WEF published a FRAMEWORK for achieving a Robust Healthcare DATA ECONOMY. Key features included availability, usability, trust via multi-stakeholder approach, strong GOVERNANCE and INCENTIVISATION for data sharing.

  10. Blockchains are amongst the best tools for achieving these requirements.

  11. When 5 of the 1200 EHR providers own 80% of the Market, interoperability and data sharing barriers are significant (in spite of legislation mandating it!).

Blockchains are NETWORK AND GOVERNANCE TECHNOLOGIES. Through common, shared infrastructure, they enable Co-Opetition to flourish.

Unlike TOLL-ROADS, these data sharing mechanisms are more like PUBLIC HIGHWAYS - everyone contributes to the building and maintenance, but competition can co-exist through use of the transport infrastructure,


For a successful DATA ECONOMY to succeed, we need to consider the Blockchain Foundational Layer as a PUBLIC GOOD. They provide a secure, always accessible, privacy preserving mechanism for data sharing with pre-agreed rules of engagement, smart contracts automating business logic and cryptographic ownership and permission systems.


Links to papers:











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