Key Takeaways From Our Blockchain Executive Breakfast
6 November 2017 |
Chris Hampton | About a 3 minute read
The culmination of all of our efforts on our first ever Blockchain project, called MedToken came together at the end of September, when we hosted an executive breakfast at Quaglinos for C-suite executives from a range of different industries. Medtoken is a product that enables patient controlled access to personal health data. We were joined at the breakfast by Will Cooper and Ken Towing, the owners of the MedToken product. The aim of this blog is to provide you with insights into the discussions and debates executives are having on Blockchain and some key takeaways.
Will Cooper kicked things off by talking through his fascination with Blockchain and its possibilities. Given his background as a serial entrepreneur, this did not come as a surprise to many! What resonated and struck a chord with the audience, was how through discovering more about the capability of Blockchain (coupled with his personal frustrations about not being able to have access to his Father’s health data) the concept of MedToken took shape. Reflecting back on the 12 week journey we had to develop the MVP, having that clarity on the vision and mission of the product really helped us to focus on building a patient-centric product. We too often see teams working on initiatives where this has not been clearly thought through, leading to conflicting priorities and misalignment between teams.
The conversation swiftly moved into debating the value of Blockchain and why a decision was made to use a relatively immature technology to solve a complex problem (i.e. securely managing your personal health). This naturally sparked a lot of debate in particular around data compliance, given the recent history of data breaches across a number of high profile companies. For us, the reasons for using Blockchain were clear from the outset which again helped to provide clarity and direction. The reasons were as follows:
- GDPR – New regulations are coming into effect May 2018 which are going to lead to greater security requirements including the right to be forgotten. This was really important to us and during our first couple of sprints we identified three design principles to ensure compliance.
- Audit – There are many nodes in the Blockchain network, all ensuring the same transactions are permitted, recorded and timestamped providing a full audit history.
- Encryption – The Blockchain transactions are encrypted but the Blockchain network does not store patient health information itself which again is paramount in ensuring security.
- Immutability – There are many nodes in the Blockchain network, all ensuring the same transactions are permitted, recorded and timestamped providing a full audit history.
- Security – At a time when there have been a number of high profile security breaches of the NHS, patients are becoming increasingly concerned about the access and maintenance of their health records. Medtoken provides an additional, but secure repository, which is under a patient’s own control.
- Nodes – Following individual patient consent, it is possible to provide various industry participants with access to data which aids compliance and the validation of transactions.
As you can see from the above, we were very clear about why we were using Blockchain, and I would highly recommend before you kick off any Blockchain initiative, that you think what your use case is, as it will have a considerable bearing on how you decide to use Blockchain.
There is still a long way to go to realise the vision for this product and a number of hurdles still to jump. These range from working around the lack of standardised language and medical terms across NHS to the challenge of inspiring the NHS to be part of this journey. These hurdles are not insurmountable and we look forward to sharing more with you as the journey unfolds.
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