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Kalibrate Blockchain, a firm that is engaged in indexing healthcare with blockchain, announced at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Conference (HIMSS) in Orlando, Florida that it will begin an exclusive licensing program for its FormDrop mobile app.
The company, which developed the Universal Patient Index, said it will award an exclusive license to a single hospital in each market allowing that institution to embed the FormDrop SDK in its own mobile app.
Kalibrate Blockchain Chief Executive Officer, Calvin Wiese said exclusive FormDrop SDK licensees will have “unique opportunities to create patient engagement and reach patients in their markets, including patients outside their provider networks.”
In a statement, Kalibrate Blockchain said the FormDrop app allows patients to electronically fill out and submit forms to healthcare providers using their personal smartphones, with no need for clipboards, paper forms, or electronic tablets.
The company further said patients can use FormDrop to index their patient IDs and personal health information on the Universal Patient Index as well as authorize access to that information by healthcare providers — regardless of whether those providers have adopted the Universal Patient Index platform.
Wiese explained that FormDrop is a component of Kalibrate Blockchain’s emergence strategy for rolling out the Universal Patient Index.
Kalibrate Blockchain described the Universal Patient Index as a blockchain platform for resolving patient identity issues across healthcare. The platform requires no initial participation or implementation by doctors or hospitals to achieve critical mass adoption. “It is supported by additional products and services that allow patients to take full control of their personal health information. Ultimately, it solves the root cause of much of what ails the health information world,” the company says on its website.
Blockchain technology is a subject that is igniting interest in the health sector, moreso at HIMSS, where a blockchain task force was set up in 2017.
One of the promising aspects of blockchain is that there is no central authority–records are stored and distributed among all participants–and the network handles verification processes at an extremely reliable level. Blockchain also ensures that all interactions are recorded in an unalterable audit trail.
There are concerns, however, that current efforts leveraging blockchain in healthcare are few and far between, and that more can be done. Speaking at HIMSS, David Houlding, Microsoft’s principal healthcare lead, said blockchain technology allows secure, targeted sharing of healthcare data where it makes business sense, but advised that its best value, at the moment was in reducing healthcare costs.
Houlding projected that 2019 will be a watershed year for blockchain technology in the health sector, as there were a number of pilot projects that were being wrapped up, while there were case studies that were due to be published.
Since blockchain is a relatively new technology in the health sector, experts advise that its potential can best be fully recognized through collaboration and employment of a consortia.
Already, at this year’s conference, Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd. and IBM Canada have announced a collaboration to use blockchain technology to store data from clinical trials. They hope that the technology will give value to patients while improving efficiency. The two companies are set to begin a pilot project that will evaluate the use of blockchain in parallel with more traditional study methods, in a trial that is set to begin in the coming weeks and wrap up before the end of the year.
To show how much interest blockchain is generating, a survey of 1,000 senior executives across the U.S. by Deloitte in 2018 showed that more companies were moving past the blockchain exploration stage and were beginning to identify applications and testing solutions. The survey showed that more than 40 percent of executives view blockchain as a “Top 5” strategic priority. Less than 10 percent of executives surveyed disregard blockchain as irrelevant or are unsure about its relevance, representing an overwhelming acknowledgment of the potential of this new technology.
On the other hand, blockchain has also sparked interest from startups, an example being Embleema, which emerged from stealth mode last year by announcing that it was building a complex platform on top of blockchain that will make sharing medical records a lot easier.