Change Healthcare and the Hyperledger Healthcare Working Group

March 21, 2018

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What is Hyperledger?

 

Hyperledger is an open source collaborative effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies. It is a global collaboration, hosted by The Linux Foundation, including leaders in finance, banking, Internet of Things, supply chains, manufacturing and Technology.

 

Hyperledger launched in 2016 with a technical and organizational governance structure and 30 founding corporate members. Initially, the Hyperledger Technical Steering Committee welcomed two business blockchain framework codebases into incubation: Hyperledger Fabric, a codebase combining work by Digital Asset, libconsensus from Blockstream and OpenBlockchain from IBM; and Hyperledger Sawtooth, developed at Intel’s incubation group.

 

The governing board of Hyperledger, which now counts 21 members, partnered with Linux Foundation leaders to recruit an executive director. In May 2016, Apache Software Foundation co-founder Brian Behlendorf was appointed to the role. Behlendorf didn’t waste time helping the community determine its strategy. In September, he described the vision for Hyperledger as a business blockchain umbrella.

 

Over the remainder of 2016 and 2017, the Hyperledger Technical Steering Committee added seven more business blockchain codebases. Corporate and Associate membership ranks swelled to nearly 200. Of the 70+ open source organizations the Linux Foundation has launched, Hyperledger holds the distinction as the fastest growing.

 

 

Why Create Hyperledger?

 

Not since the Web itself has a technology promised broader and more fundamental revolution than blockchain technology. A blockchain is a peer-to-peer distributed ledger forged by consensus, combined with a system for “smart contracts” and other assistive technologies. Together these can be used to build a new generation of transactional applications that establishes trust, accountability and transparency at their core, while streamlining business processes and legal constraints.

 

Think of it as an operating system for marketplaces, data-sharing networks, micro-currencies, and decentralized digital communities. It has the potential to vastly reduce the cost and complexity of getting things done in the real world.

 

Only an Open Source, collaborative software development approach can ensure the transparency, longevity, interoperability and support required to bring blockchain technologies forward to mainstream commercial adoption. That is what Hyperledger is about – communities of software developers building blockchain frameworks and platforms.

 

Change Healthcare and Hyperledger

 

Aaron Symanski is the CTO of Change Healthcare and Premier member of Hyperledger. They got involved with the project to take a leadership role exploring the possibilities of blockchain and healthcare.

 

Hyperledger is committed to helping the healthcare industry realize the full potential of blockchain technologies.

 

To this end, Hyperledger formed the Healthcare Working Group. Change Healthcare and other healthcare organizations have come together through this open forum with a mission to further education about appropriate applications for blockchain technologies in the healthcare industry.

 

Through positive collaboration, the group fosters technical and business-level conversations about fundamental distributed ledger applications and how platforms associated with any healthcare solution utilizing a blockchain back-end could be impacted. 

 

 

The Hyperledger Healthcare Working Group

 

Health data sharing, like much of health IT, has traditionally lagged other industries in adoption of new technologies. This is not for bad reason – people’s lives and health privacy are at stake, as is 20% of GDP. The potential of blockchain technology, applied to healthcare, is a shared platform that decentralizes health data without compromising the security of sensitive information. This model lifts the costly burden of maintaining patient’s medical histories away from the hospitals: eventually cost savings will make it full cycle back to the patient receiving care.

 

The HLHC Working Group’s mission is to house and foster technical and business-level conversations about appropriate applications for blockchain technology in the healthcare industry. These conversations will be broad and educational, but will eventually focus on identifying opportunities for near-term collaboration between participants on common software to implement a given application. If appropriately scoped and resourced, these conversations could lead to one or more proposals for new software development efforts to be hosted at Hyperledger.

 

“There are two really important questions to focus on. First, since there are so many use cases where blockchain could be used in healthcare, where will blockchain (plus smart contracts) provide capabilities not readily enabled by pre-existing approaches? Second, as blockchain capabilities and variants continue to evolve rapidly, how do we support parallel initiatives that don’t create forking that introduces friction into the flow of data and services?” said Dr. John Mattison, Assistant Medical Director, Kaiser Permanente. “We are truly sitting on a ‘TCP/IP moment’, and while it’s impossible to declare ‘what’ the solution is to avoiding that forking, we can come together in this workgroup to define ‘how’ we collaborate to minimize the risks of inadvertently introducing friction through forking.”

 

The HLHC Working Group, which does not require Hyperledger membership, will center around discovery and exploration of healthcare-related blockchain use cases that address real world problems. Initially, the group will focus on fundamental Distributed Ledger applications, such as establishing registries, interoperability and identities. Technical opportunities will also be discussed. In time, the discussion will expand to more advanced topics, such as smart contracts and process automation.

 

“The power of Open Source is the power of collaborative ideas. The Hyperledger Healthcare Working Group enables Healthcare enterprises, providers and users to focus resources on a scalable open source project to leverage collaboration, said Dr. Merve Unuvar, IBM Blockchain Product Leader. “The beating heart of the emerging Healthcare Blockchain will be powered by Hyperledger enabling data sharing, privacy and interoperability.”

 

“The healthcare industry needs to be organized in order to realize the potential for blockchain technology,” said John Bass, Founder and CEO, Hashed Health. “The Hyperledger Healthcare Working Group is a destination for those who want to contribute to the development of technical standards necessary for blockchain innovation to be meaningful.  The team at Hashed Health is extremely excited to join the Group as a founding member driving development efforts with our peers.”

 

The HLHC Working Group already includes participants from organizations including Accenture, Gem, Hashed Health, Kaiser Permanente and IBM. If you are interested in participating in the HLHC Working Group, please visit the Healthcare industry pageto learn more and join the mailing list.

 

Source : https://www.hyperledger.org/blog/2018/02/28/video-hyperledger-interviews-aaron-symanski-change-healthcare

 

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