Currently, the healthcare industry suffers major inefficiencies due to diverse uncoordinated and unconnected data sources/systems. Collaboration is vital to improve healthcare outcomes. With digitized health data, the exchange of healthcare information across healthcare organizations is essential to support effective care collaboration. Traditional health information exchanges have had limited success.
Blockchain offers new capabilities to greatly improve health information exchange. At Microsoft we are working to maximize the benefits of solutions that have the potential to improve patient outcomes, reduce healthcare costs, and enhance the experiences of patients and healthcare workers. With that I’d like to announce a new partner solution and pilot for a better health information exchange that uses blockchain, and runs in Microsoft Azure.
Interoperability and exchanges
Grapevine World, one of the leaders in the application of blockchain technology, make use of the Institute for Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) methodology for interoperability. They employ multiple blockchains for tracking data provenance, and provide a crypto token as means of exchange within their ecosystem.
Grapevine World is a decentralized ecosystem for the seamless exchange and utilization of health data in a standardized, secure manner. In collaboration with the University of Southampton and Tiani Spirit, they have developed a new blockchain-enabled platform using the trusted Microsoft Azure cloud platform to track the provenance of healthcare data. The intent is to break down data barriers, and simplify the access and ability to use health data by professionals.
Data provenance: crucial to healthcare
The need to know the origin and quality of medical data has long been recognized in clinical research. Data provenance is the foundation of data quality and is commonly implemented by automatically capturing the traces of data manipulation over space and time.
This pilot aims to demonstrate the value of combining market-proven interoperability standards in health data exchange (IHE) and blockchain technology (Hyperledger Fabric) for tracking and assessing health data provenance. The pilot will act as a trial run to assess the potential of the solution for clinical trial matching for one of Grapevine’s early adopters, a Forbes 100 pharmaceutical corporation (requesting to remain unnamed at the time of the announcement).
“Following a successful pilot execution with our early adopter, we are excited to receive strong interest from multiple health and life science organisations to subsequently adopt our solution. Benefiting from Microsoft’s global reach and strong support from the interoperability community, we meet a growing market need and will together overcome the current limitations for achieving a truly connected healthcare community.”
Wernhard Berger, Chief Business Development Officer and Co-Founder of Grapevine World.
The clinical trial matching use case serves only as an initial launching pad for Grapevine’s platform, which is designed to facilitate the consented data access for various types of organizations with a need for large-scale health data (universities, med- and biotech companies, etc.).
Blockchain holds great potential for healthcare consortiums to collaborate to improve the quality of care, lower costs, and improve the experience of patients and healthcare workers. Powered by Microsoft Azure, Grapevine can overcome many of the challenges preventing many blockchain-based projects from reaching production stage, and limiting real-world adoption of this emergent technology in healthcare. Azure delivers industry-leading cloud-based security and compliance capabilities to empower healthcare consortiums to leverage blockchain to its full potential to help improve healthcare.
Get a demo, or start prototyping
Find more information about how this joint solution can benefit your organization or request a remote demo. To get started with rapid prototyping your blockchain solution, see the Azure Blockchain Workbench. Once created, you can also deploy it as an Ethereum blockchain on Azure. The Azure Blockchain Workbench will also be adding support for both the Hyperledger Fabric and R3 Corda Blockchain platforms. The Azure Blockchain Workbench enables you to accelerate your prototyping, technical POCs and pilots. It frees you to focus on results, and business value rather than blockchain technologies and deployment complexities.
I post regularly about new developments in healthcare, blockchain, and cloud computing on social media. If you would like to follow me you can find me on LinkedIn and Twitter. What is your take on health information exchange enabled by blockchain? What other use cases and solutions do you see in healthcare using blockchain? I welcome your feedback, comments, and questions.