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ONC Blockchain Challenge winners show health IT uses

A wide range of possible use cases for blockchain in healthcare are revealed in 15 papers chosen by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology as the top proposals among more than 70 that were submitted to the “Blockchain Challenge” sponsored by ONC and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Some of the ideas will be presented at a workshop at NIST headquarters in Gaithersburg, Md. Sept. 26-27.

“We are thrilled by the incredible amount of interest in this challenge,” Vindell Washington, M.D., national coordinator for health IT, said in a release. “While many know about blockchain technology’s uses for digital currency purposes, the challenge submissions show its exciting potential for new, innovative uses in health care.”

The topics and applications for blockchain technology in healthcare in the 15 winning proposals (whose authors were awarded grants of $1,500 to $5,000) are:

  • Establishing a peer-to-peer network to store and analyze health data with 100% privacy to use the data for precision medicine clinical trials and research
  • Improving interoperability for information exchange, patient tracking and identity assurance and validation
  • Improving healthcare claims processing, including using “smart contracts
  • Opportunities for using blockchain in health information exchange to satisfy national healthcare objectives
  • A prototype decentralized record management system for electronic health records
  • Using Internet of Things and blockchain technology for patient-recorded outcome measures
  • Linking protected health information (PHI) to blockchain identities to verify credential providers to lower healthcare transaction costs and improve PHI security
  • Using blockchain in the pre-authorization payment process and in clinical trials, and to prevent counterfeit drug production
  • Storing patient health data securely
  • Predictive modeling and improving health data interoperability between institutions
  • A blockchain-based access control access control management system for health records
  • Sharing patient data with network consensus instead of a single centralized source
  • Enabling scalability and adoption of accountable care with peer-to-peer authorization and authentication
  • Using blockchain and artificial intelligence to develop new ways of delivering healthcare in Medicaid programs
  • Blockchain-based alternative payment models linking quality and value

All the submissions will be posted on ONC’s web site,, on Sept. 26, the start of National Health IT Week.