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Mayo Clinic eyes blockchain for EHRs

Chris Nerney
Chris Nerney, Contributing Writer |
Mayo Clinic eyes blockchain for EHRs

Mayo Clinic has signed a joint working agreement with a U.K.-based blockchain company to explore the benefits of the technology to healthcare providers.
Created in 2008 to track and secure bitcoin transactions, blockchain provides a data structure that can be timed-stamped and signed using a private key to protect digital records from tampering. Its use has spread to the larger financial sector, the insurance industry, non-profits, and more.
Blockchain has drawn interest from healthcare companies because it is seen as a potential way to cost-effectively and securely share and store patient medical and financial data.
But the industry’s slow embrace of technology, new workflow processes, and data management practices – not to mention regulatory considerations – are formidable barriers to blockchain adoption in healthcare. Further, some industry experts believe lack of ubiquitous interoperability is another roadblock to providers' use of blockchain.
Mayo Clinic’s collaboration with Medicalchain, a London startup, could significantly raise the profile of blockchain in healthcare and answer questions about blockchain's value proposition for providers, including what it can do to help patients, whether it can save or generate money, and how much it will cost to implement.
“We are thrilled to be working with Mayo Clinic,” Dr. Abdullah Albeyatti, CEO of Medicalchain, said in a statement. “Mayo Clinic will provide their world-class healthcare and health IT expertise, while Medicalchain will provide our knowledge of blockchain and crypto. Together we will work on several use cases using blockchain-based electronic health records. There’s a lot of opportunity out there, and we feel this working agreement will be of benefit to all healthcare stakeholders.”