On Twitter I asked whether people thought the tech giants would buy a hospital system. 22 hours in and people seem to think it’s possible.
While the poll says maybe, the comments say probably not or it’ll most likely be a different part of the health system (acquiring primary care clinics, a health insurance plan, or EMR vendors).
The goal of the tech giants is likely to capture and guide patients into the healthcare system as well as they can. IMO they probably don’t need to take on the operational complexity of a hospital to be a formidable part of the health system. Plus that tactic is going to be really hard to scale (imagine buying hospitals in every major geography).
The full blockchain in healthcare report is out. We talk about projects we expect to see in the short-, medium-, and long-term as well as obstacles to adoption. See the full report here.
While researching for the piece, one of the parts that most interested me was cryptographic techniques like zero-knowledge proofs and their applications in areas like cryptocurrencies. In essence, a zero-knowledge proof allows entities to share that they have the answer to a question without actually revealing the underlying data the used to answer it.
In the report we talk about the MediLedger project, which uses a permissioned blockchain (including zero-knowledge proofs) to help entities in the pharma supply chain ensure compliance with the Drug Supply Chain Security Act.
This is very important for entities that want to work together but not reveal sensitive data (either of their business or of their customers). Read this explainer for a better understanding of how zero-knowledge proofs work. These cryptographic techniques are especially important in healthcare, where the data is sensitive and coordination between (somewhat antagonistic) entities is crucial.
Also, as more personally specific data ends up in our health record, full de-identification is going to be more difficult. New cryptography and computation techniques can help us actually use the data in computations without revealing the underlying data itself. For expert intelligence clients, we wrote about how homomorphic encryption can potentially solve some of these issues. Read it here.