Updates on MediLedger, Synaptic Health Alliance, and others
MediLedger's 2019 progress, the Synaptic Health Alliance adds members, Solve.care launches a telehealth exchage, and Owkin raises $25m.
I enjoyed writing more long form analysis on various subjects the past three weeks, and it seems you all enjoyed that too, but I couldn’t find time to do that and put out my usual weekly review of what’s going on in blockchain and healthcare. What I’m going to try to do is write weekly reviews, but make them a bit shorter than before and use the extra time to work on deep dives to be posted in parallel.
Hopefully I can find a tempo that works for them both, e.g. a weekly review posted every Sunday and a deep dive posted every two weeks, or something like that. As always suggestions on content and formats are welcome.
On to the weekly review.
Blockchain in healthcare updates
Each year MediLedger writes a report summarizing their work for the past year and sharing their latest thinking on various related topics. This year’s report went over:
Their product verification and chargebacks solutions
The FDA pilot they participated in
Their technology approach
How the MediLedger network is governed and makes decisions
I found it notable that MediLedger framed their solutions as “protocols” alongside sidebar discussions of other famous protocols that we all use daily, like SMTP. the infrastructure that powers email. That signals an ambition to create a platform for others to build on instead of just creating standalone products. Assuming the platform isn’t ultimately controlled by Chronicled (who convened MediLedger and creates the technology), this is very aligned with what I wrote in Neutral Platforms in Healthcare.
On a related note, MediLedger was recently featured in an HBR article.
It has been awhile since we’ve heard from a member of healthcare’s oldest business network (and a lot of other networks), but I did notice that the Synaptic Health Alliance quietly added five new members: Centene, Cognizant, CorVel, Prime Health Services and Providence. I can remember seeing Cognizant on the website sometime last year, but the other four are new. My guess is they were going to announce this at HIMSS, but that got cancelled, and the Alliance is going to onboard their new members in order to conduct a larger scale pilot.
Solve.Care is a healthcare IT company which raised an initial coin offering in 2019 to build out their platform for the administration of healthcare benefits. This week they announced a telemedicine solution:
[Global Telehealth Exchange] will provide physicians who wish to practice telemedicine the opportunity to be listed on the global blockchain registry. Once listed, they can publish their profiles, rates, availability and readily accept appointments. As it is an open system, third party telehealth solutions will also have the opportunity to utilize this registry.
Solve is creating a sort of “phone book” for physicians, presumably hosted on the Ethereum blockchain, where physicians can publish their information and availability and patient can peruse this information. Solve intends to use this to make a “global exchange” for telehealth.
It’s an interesting announcement but I am left with more questions than answers. How are physician’s verified? How is compliance managed in cross-border telehealth, generally? Why do I need to use Solve’s token, and why doesn’t Ether or a stablecoin do the job instead? How are they gaining access to EMRs?
Owkin is the startup behind a few different healthcare focused federated learning networks that use a blockchain to track how data is used. The startup closed a $25m investment round from an impressive roster of investors, adding to their $30m+ of funding before. If you can get behind the paywall you can see the deck that Owkin used to raise funds, it’s telling that they barely mention the word “blockchain” or even “federated learning” and instead focus on the capabilities they offer and their value proposition.
What I’m reading this weekend
Google was the originator of federated learning, which I recently wrote about. I said “the promise of federated learning is to unlock these insights without compromising on privacy.” This is equally true for federated analytics. Whereas federated learning enables cross-organizational and privacy preserving machine learning, federated analytics does the same for more general types of analytics. It is an equally powerful and important tool. Very exciting. The Google blog is relatively accessible, and the above image is taken from there.
After ~4 years of development PolkaDot is the newest smart contract platform to go live. It was founded by Gavin Wood, a critical cofounder of Ethereum, and is an ambitious attempt to create a new model for decentralized applications. PolkaDot is not fully live yet, but it is in the final stages of launching. For a deep dive into PolkaDot I suggest this breakdown.
And two books that I recently read and would recommend:
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