Blockchain in Healthcare: Q&A with the CEO of Hashed Health, John Bass

by / Monday, 14 August 2017 / Published in Uncategorized

Next week hundreds of healthcare thought leaders and professionals will gather at the 9th annual TN HIMSS Summit of the Southeast during the Health:Further festival. TN HIMSS is the exclusive Health IT programming partner at the Festival, providing thought-provoking content, exceptional keynotes and expanded networking opportunities.

 On Wednesday, August 23, John Bass, the CEO of Hashed Health will present on the disruptive potential of blockchain. We connected with John to find out more about this presentation on blockchain in healthcare and B2B opportunities, successes and challenges, and tips for what to do or check out in Nashville if you’re visiting out of state and have extra time before or after the Summit.

 Is this your first time attending/speaking at TN HIMSS SOSE?

I presented at SOSE last year.  Memorable moment was Charlie Martin’s presentation last year!  His perspective, history, and stories about the problems we face in healthcare are always informative, interesting.  He always does a good job putting things in perspective and has these amazing, out of the box ideas on how we can unwind the problems we’ve created in health.

  1. At SOSE this year, you’ll be speaking about blockchain. How do you think that blockchain can change healthcare?

Inefficient market structures play a major role in the cost / quality struggles we face today.  Blockchain provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to re-think the complex B2B value chains we have built up over time.  Perhaps even more important though is the consumer-facing platform potential that the blockchain enables.  Healthcare has long-resisted platforms that leverage consumer network effects and I feel like blockchain may be an enabler.

  1. How can blockchain be successfully applied to healthcare?

We can’t change the world overnight.  We need to start with simple demonstrations of value that set the stage for longer-term disruptive innovations.  So the approach we are taking / advocating with our partners is to find and organize around problems we can solve in the short term as we build the technology, confidence, and collaborative networks around those next-generation solutions.  

  1. What are some examples of how healthcare is currently adopting blockchain successfully?

We are typically building solutions on private consortium protocols because that’s what customers are demanding right now.  There is still a desire for control and confidentiality that will take time and new tools to address on open chains.  It’s still very early days and there are very few demonstrations of blockchain solutions in production.  The early demonstrations that will move to production first are generally around supply chain track & trace, audit & compliance, and identity.

  1. What are B2B blockchain opportunities in healthcare or the enterprise?

The leading B2B use cases are in situations where there is a complex, inefficient, costly, or centrally leveraged exchange of data or digital assets across a marketplace.  There are a lot of these in healthcare.  Examples include pharma, supply chain, medical records, claims, and episodes of care. The opportunity is to change market structures to make them more effective and efficient for consumers, similar to how the Bitcoin blockchain allows direct P2P asset transfer without a bank.  Healthcare is a bit more complex in many instances than that Bitcoin example, but that’s the fundamental construct upon which we are building.  

  1. Are there any challenges of blockchain in healthcare?

Are there challenges?  Heck yes… a million of them!  This is an evolving, emerging technology and healthcare constituents are generally very much a fast-follower group.  There is a lot of educating and organizing and expectation-setting to do.  It’s also a technology that requires collaboration and a strong vision of the future.  That collaborative mindset is a paradigm shift and a tough sell in most healthcare enterprises, especially with providers with limited budgets who are covered up in Epic and Cerner; or providers who have a list of projects that they can implement now to make an incremental improvement in patient care.  There are a million reasons healthcare companies can sit around and wait for blockchain to mature and prove itself. But here’s the thing… when you realize that your market structure is changing, it’s a good idea to be a part of that rather than sit back and react once it has happened.  

  1. Nashville is quickly gaining a reputation as a health IT hub, but it’s also knows for its music scene, hot chicken and whiskey. When a friend or family member comes to town what are the spots (museums, hiking trail, restaurants, bars) that you take them to?

 Music, Hot Chicken, Whiskey, Bachelorette Parties, and now Healthcare Blockchain.  We are really serious about working with TN HIMSS, Nashville Health Care Council, the Nashville Technology Council, the mayor’s office, Lipscomb, BTC Media, Change Healthcare and several other thought-leaders in the area to make sure we take the lead in Nashville. Our Nashville Blockchain Meetup It’s happening! But to answer your question, here’s a few of my favorite places:  The Station Inn, Warner Parks, Rolf & Daughters,12 South Tap Room, Barista Parlor, Climb Nashville, Bastion, Little Octopus, Roberts, The Ryman, Live on the Green, Ascend… there seems to be a new addition every few weeks these days!

Don’t miss out on the Summit of the Southeast–register today!

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