When we hear blockchain, we think Bitcoin, but cryptocurrencies are one of thousands of possible applications for blockchain technology. Outside of the fintech space, the healthcare industry is investigating blockchain and the applications that can be built on top of it as potential solutions for a unique set of digital information management and privacy concerns.
The healthcare industry is ripe for disruption by emerging technologies, including the Internet of Things, AR / VR, wearables with improved sensors and connectivity, and blockchain, which could solve problems that impact healthcare providers, researchers, and patients. An IBM study found that more than 50% of healthcare executives expect to implement commercial blockchain solutions by 2020, with 17% expecting to have deployed blockchain applications at scale in 2017.
It’s important to distinguish blockchain technology from the applications that can be built on a blockchain, such as smart contracts. Blockchain is defined as a “shared, immutable record of peer-to-peer transactions built from linked transaction blocks and stored in a digital ledger”.
Immutable. It means that once data is written to the blockchain ledger, it can’t be removed.
Shared. The entire blockchain is stored on many different nodes. There is no central control. The blockchain can be used as a ledger which …