The month of March 2022 finally gave us the opportunity to enjoy sunny Florida and partake in the competition of the largest in-person health conferences in two years. In one corner, the scrappy new competitor, HLTH VIVE, having their first ever conference in the Miami Convention Center. In the opposing corner, the champion, HIMSS, which before the pandemic drew a crowd of over 40,000, and managed to draw almost 28,000 (including a shocking 10,000 last minute, in-person registrations) for a week at the massive Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. It was a busy scene for sure – attended by industry professionals, healthcare leaders, government and start-ups.
These shows cover a huge array of topics, so we were pleased to see that the real-world impact of blockchain and other technologies that support the increasingly decentralized world of medicine were front and center at these events. As we recently highlighted in the post Hyperledger-Powered Solutions Helping to Reshape Healthcare, there has been continuous innovation and investment aimed at breaking down information silos and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of data reporting and sharing. It’s gratifying to see the realization of that work and to gather with colleagues for discussions about what’s been achieved and what comes next.
Read on for five takeaways from the two weeks we spent in Florida getting the latest on open source and blockchain technology in healthcare:
- In person is back! It’s worth noting that after two years the in-person experience is finally coming back. It’s hard not to immediately appreciate the value of face-to-face engagement, and reportedly there were only a few health challenges at either event.
- “First rule of blockchain: Never talk about blockchain.” HIMSS hosted two breakfast panels featuring a range of healthcare industry professionals discussing blockchain applications. It was worth noting that these applications didn’t make Anthem or Humana, for example, “blockchain companies,” but instead demonstrated how enterprise blockchain ledgers support existing business processes and improve workflows. This will probably continue in new adoption models.
- Healthcare gets decentralized. While there is plenty of talk about “Web3” in healthcare on the Internet, it’s probably worth noting first how healthcare as an industry is poised to be decentralized, without the first NFT. The shift to remote patient monitoring (RPM), Hospital at Home, and telehealth demonstrate the shift to healthcare moving away from the centralized hospitals and doctor’s offices as the primary means of healthcare services. The Linux Foundation Open Voice Network (OVON) hosted a half-day summit on voice and AI in healthcare, based on other industry trends for voice-controlled devices making major inroads in customer services and delivery. Distributed ledgers, with their auditable and immutable transaction chains, complement voice-only, AI augmented encounters to tie information back to clinical records and support prescriptions and clinical interventions.
- It’s more than privacy; it’s also consent. While healthcare has been heavily regulated for decades, especially concerning medical privacy, there is growing recognition of the need for consent mechanisms, especially in digital health. During the VIVE event, Linux Foundation Public Health (LFPH) presented twice on eConsent mechanisms and the role Hyperledger Indy and W3C Verifiable Credentials can play in enforcing identity and consent as part of health information exchange.
- Future innovations will drive toward scale, speed, and equity. As LFPH member VMWare notes in its takeaways, digital innovation in healthcare is driving the future, and the healthcare industry is living through major market transitions in digital health and patient-centric care models. There is tremendous room for multi-stakeholder collaboration in open source and leveraging blockchain for decentralized healthcare applications, making engagement more patient-centric.
It’s exciting to see how Hyperledger Foundation, LFPH and other Linux Foundation projects are actively involved in so many facets of new innovations in healthcare. Across the entire Linux Foundation, there’s a tremendous amount of work underway that is driving significant improvements in healthcare, demonstrating the power of open source to advance innovation:
- Hyperledger Foundation hosts a variety of cutting edge solutions to decentralize transactions and integrate with new supply chain models.
- Linux Foundation Public Health builds, secures, and sustains open source software to improve global health equity and innovation.
- The Trust over IP Foundation is almost celebrating its second anniversary and has been pioneering a new model for digital identity that is already being adopted in Canada and the EU. IT’s also laying the groundwork for re-imagining patient identity.
- LF AI & Data is supporting open source innovation in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML), a rapidly growing technology in healthcare.
- There are numerous initiatives in Cloud Computing, which many public health agencies can leverage for system modernization.
- The Linux Foundation is leading the charge in the US mandate on securing software supply chains, and there’s a tremendous opportunity to include LFPH and help to secure medical devices and Internet of Medical Things (IoMT).
Continue to watch this space for more exciting innovations to improve health outcomes in open source that can be realized in 2022.
Cover image: Piqsels