By Lisa Maki,

Earlier this year, live from the Health 2.0 main stage in Santa Clara, PokitDok's VP of Engineering, Tim Dunlevy, and I demo'd DokChain, PokitDok's implementation of blockchain for healthcare, for the very first time. Our friends at Health 2.0 asked us to give a similar presentation this week at Health 2.0 Japan - and we were honored to oblige. For those of you who missed the original recap of our first ever live DokChain demo, I encourage you to take a look.

Healthcare in Japan

Japan was the first nation in Asia to create a comprehensive social insurance program. All citizens are required to have health insurance, either through an employer-based program or the national program. The national and local governments are required by law to ensure a system that efficiently provides high-quality, well-suited medical care to the nation and which keeps out of pocket costs to a minimum.

That said, like many countries, Japan still struggles with antiquated, legacy software and paper-based systems that do not interoperate. As the government moves forward with its national identity program to connect all financial, government and health records, Japan is faced with the challenge of connecting patient data across disparate systems that were not designed with interoperability in mind.

Japan has a reputation for leapfrogging technologies, skipping costly iterations in between technical breakthroughs to achieve significant firsts, such as internet on mobile phones. As they have done with other technologies, there is great opportunity for them to leapfrog the laborious and costly task of trying to add interoperability, after the fact, to legacy electronic medical record, practice management, and RCM systems, and instead go straight to blockchain.


Blockchain Background

In the simplest terms, blockchains are supremely secure networks coupled with a distributed ledger. At its core, a blockchain records network transactions and runs on standardized rules for writing to the ledger and accessing its information.

We built DokChain to provide a secure network connecting every facet of a patient's care, from EMRs and wearables, to insurance information and remote patient monitors. DokChain records all valid transactions across a secure, distributed network, stores the location of relevant data, and verifies access to that data so that all the transactions necessary for an episode of care can be securely tracked, verified, and shared. It is a technically secure way to connect patient identity and health records to the government's identity system.


Health 2.0 Japan

During the second annual Health 2.0 Japan conference, Japanese presenters and attendees expressed the public's general concern over risks to privacy and identity theft inherent in a government mandated identity system. To speak to those concerns and the opportunity, Tim and I focused our DokChain demo on blockchain's strengths managing identity, regulation, and compliance with strong encryption and automation, reducing the risk of fraud and identity theft significantly. We also emphasized that all stakeholders, from hospitals to insurance companies, can participate and exchange data in the network while retaining control of their assets. Access and permissions are managed through smart contracts hosted on the blockchain thereby removing the need for third party clearinghouses and interoperability solutions.

As always, Health 2.0 provides an exciting and thought provoking forum for emerging healthcare trends and technologies and Health 2.0 Japan was no different. I would like to thank Matthew Holt, Mimi Nishimura, Nami Fujii and the rest of the talented Health 2.0 Japan staff for their hospitality and for giving PokitDok the opportunity to present DokChain to the Japanese community as they evaluate the technologies that will take Japan into the future of health.


Lisa Maki

The opinions expressed in this blog are of the authors and not of PokitDok's. The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice.

  Tags: API, Blockchain, Health Innovation, Healthcare consumerism

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