Past Meetings

Focus on Blockchain in Healthcare

9/15/17  Back

Our September meeting of Health TechNet was held on Friday, September 15, from noon to 2 pm at Nelson Mullins’ offices in Washington, D.C.

The feature topic was the quickly emerging and important topic of the use of new blockchain technology in healthcare. Blockchain primarily relates to data security and interoperability, but it also has ramifications for a master patient index, claims adjudication, supply chain management, and clinical trials. A recent report from Deloitte showed that, while the technology is a hot topic in industries from financial services to telecommunications, healthcare is planning the most aggressive deployments, with 35 percent of health and life sciences respondents saying their company plans to deploy it within the next year. While blockchain holds immense potential, it also can be subject to overheated expectations and, if implemented poorly, could run counter to current law and regulations and create great risk. Parsing through its promise and pitfalls will become critical in the near future.

We had a panel of four speakers to address this topic and lead the discussion.  Nelson Mullins partners Roy Wyman and Jim O’Hare are leaders in the firm’s growing blockchain practice group, and they summarized the various uses of blockchain and the issues they raise.  Joe Bormel added his analysis and impressions and coordinated the discussion. Dr. Bormel is a board certified internist, and NLM fellowship-trained informatics professional.  He has several decades of executive experience with publicly traded EHR vendors (with Cerner, QuadraMed and the EHRA), program officer experience  (with HHS, Office of the National Coordinator for HIT), and start-up experience (with San Francisco-based Healthline Networks and Talix).   He was joined by Linda Segal, an executive recruiter with the McCormick group, who raised questions about possible misuse of blockchain and bitcoin.