Hey all, happy Thanksgiving if you’re celebrating. I’m thankful for my readers and the many incredible entrepreneurs and innovators driving forward positive change in healthcare using blockchain technology. This week is relatively short as many folks have been away.
Blockchain in healthcare updates
The Ministry signed this MoU with FantomOperations, a firm which I cannot seem to find any details on. Nonetheless, the press released highlighted identifying fake medications and medical records as use cases to be tackled.
In this interview Mike Jacobs talks about the Synaptic Health Alliance and adoption of blockchain. After successful first results with provider data management I am keenly watching to see what the Synaptic Health Alliance’s next move is.
It seems this product has a broad scope and isn’t limited to healthcare, but KPMG’s leaders reference work on going in China with pharma device and medicine manufacturers. I doubt that it is a coincidence that KPMG moved to announce this work a few weeks after President Xi’s announcement a few weeks back.
Dr. Laura Esserman, Director of the UCSF Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center, and her team have been working on a proof-of-concept for how a blockchain can be used to standardize and share clinical trial lab results. It leverages the fairly new Salesforce blockchain and the idea appears to be automating processes that still rely on people to drive down costs. I looked for more details online but couldn’t find any, and I am a bit skeptical given the details shared in the above article. It is generally not a good idea to put any health data on chain because that data will be shared broadly and it is, by nature of using a blockchain, very difficult to revoke.
Previously researchers at UCSF had created a proof-of-concept using a blockchain to prove the integrity of data collected in a clinical trial.
What I’m reading this weekend
In 2014 Vitalik created a list of hard problems in cryptocurrency space. 5 years later he reviews the progress that has been made. Vitalik highlights three categories of problems:
Cryptographic, highlighting scaling, time stamping, proof of computation, code obfuscation, and problems in hash based cryptography
Consensus theory, largely improvements to proof of work and proof of stake, and
Economic, discussing how to properly design systems of incentives to achieve desirable outcome, like stablecoins, public good funding, reputation, “proof of excellence,” sybil resistance, decentralized contribution metrics, and decentralized success metrics.
It’s useful to zoom out for a second and think about these problems. A lot has changed in the past 5 years, and indeed a lot of that change has come in the last two, but the hard problems of today remain largely the same. That being said, these hard problems are very much focused on public blockchains and their consumer facing activities. From an enterprise perspective the hard problems holding back adoption have less to do with technical innovation, and more to do with finding clever ways of creating value as well as governing shared infrastructure.
It should be said that this was a personal venture, not an official Ethereum Foundation activity.
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