loading page

A Case Study in Blockchain Healthcare Innovation
  • Profile pic
  • Thomas F Heston
Thomas F Heston
Department of Medical Education and Clinical Sciences, Washington State University, Spokane, Washington USA
Author Profile
Profile pic

Abstract

Healthcare complexity and costs can be decreased through the application of blockchain technology to medical records and insurance companies. Estonia has taken a leadership role in blockchain based services both in the commercial sector and in government. The Estonian government’s innovation strategy was to create GovTech partnerships to implement blockchain based technologies throughout the country, and become a global leader in the technology. Starting in 2011, just 3 years after Satoshi Nakamoto published the first description of distributed ledgers and blockchain technology, the Estonian Government started partnering with the private technology startup company Guardtime to use blockchains to secure public and internal records. Then in 2016, Estonia once again reinforced its global leadership in blockchain technology when it announced it would use blockchain technology to secure the health records of over a million citizens. Estonia’s systematic method of applying blockchain technologies through GovTech partnerships demnostrates how innovation is a process. Estonia also identified early the value of the blockchain as a disruptive platform innovation. The application of blockchain technology to healthcare is a radical innovation given that nearly all previous applications have been in the financial and legal sectors.