It’s been awhile since we played “lolwut,” where we look at nonsensical things in healthcare. Today’s edition is blockchain applications.
Exhibit A: “Hello, IRS. I know you need money to build out infrastructure and fund social safety nets, but what if I just walked a ton instead?”
Exhibit B: Would you like “cheep” autonomous healthcare? Whatever that means.
Exhibit C: *nods head* *nods head* *does a double take*
Some worthwhile questions to ask when you see a blockchain application:
1) Can this be done without a blockchain? Would this work equally as well if it used cash or existing technology?
2) Is it a big improvement from the existing process?
3) What stakeholders need to be involved for this to work and are they properly incentivized to do so in this system?
4) What’s the impetus for this solution to succeed in the market today?
For example, one blockchain/distributed ledger application I think is interesting is tracking drugs through the supply chain. Thanks to the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA), by 2023 anyone in the pharmaceutical supply chain will need to be a part of an electronic, interoperable system that can identify and trace certain prescription drugs at the individual unit level. In theory, you should be able to scan a serial code on a drug and know where it came from and which entities have touched it from start to finish, which would require the entire supply chain to share data with each other.
In this scenario, there’s a legal impetus, a good incentive for the various stakeholders to be involved, and a blockchain solution makes sense (it’s interoperable, can ensure compliance between entities via smart contracts without sharing vital information, etc.).
We’ll explore this further in future research, but take a look at the Mediledger paper. It’s worth the read.