While there has been a lot of buzz surrounding blockchain technology in recent times when it comes to the mainstream media and the general public, it is something that has been around for some years.
Strengthening Security Standards
The government has already implemented different aspects of the technology in a variety of departments. For example, the Office for the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has been holding a challenge for blockchain since 2016.
This allows people to submit their papers as to how blockchain tech will be able to overcome the concerns associated with the scalability and security issues that are faced by the management of health records that are electronic.
There have already been cases in which sensitive medical data in the United Kingdom’s health service, the NHS was hacked which led to a mass shutdown of their systems and caused havoc for some days in the region. These problems are why a cautious approach needs to be taken and also why blockchain technology could be the vehicle by which the security standards are strengthened.
The CTO for the Veterans Affairs Department is Charles Worthington, and he said that they have been looking to the industry to identify use cases for their needs. If somebody thinks they have a solution to the outlined problems, they should approach the department.
Finding a Role for Blockchain
Worthington was speaking at the Tenth Annual Health IT Day as part of a panel on January 16, 2018, whereby he outlined the approach VA takes when it comes to new technologies like blockchain. They tend to step back from the issue at hand and see if this new technology can help on a fundamental level to iron out any issues.
One of the main issues that are faced by VA is interoperability, as well as the ability to share health information between different entities. These are the same issues that have been present not just in recent years, but for the past couple of decades.
While the distributed ledger signature or an API may help the situation, the problem will still be to determine in what way can VA communicate health information in a standardized manner.
This is the reason why VA is so transparent about the issues they are experiencing and why they are opening the process to the industry to solve these problems.
While Worthington is doubtful that blockchain is the complete answer to their problems, there is still a role for it to fill. As an example, when two entities who do not necessarily trust one another but they need to share information with one another, blockchain technology can act as the medium between these two parties in a safe and trusted manner.