Distributed Health Conference in Nashville Delivers on Blockchain in Healthcare

By Don Fortner, CEO and Founder, Valsurity
Twitter: @Valsurity

After attending four Blockchain in Healthcare focused conferences this year, the best one for me so far is the recent Distributed Health Conference held November 5th and 6th at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Over 700 registrants attended this well-run event full of relevant content, engaging and well qualified speakers and panels. This was its third year.

It was obvious the audiences are becoming much better informed with more realistic expectations around the hype and issues and challenges around blockchain use cases and adoption.

In addition to a full agenda of Blockchain in Healthcare topics, the programs included:

  • Investor Pitch sessions
  • Very informative CLE track for attorneys with the latest legal issues and concerns around blockchain, ICOs, and state and Federal legislative initiatives
  • A separate one-day code camp for developers led by the Ethereum Foundation

Along with ongoing conversations around interoperability and medical records, supply chain (manufacturing and Pharma) figured prominently in several great sessions.

Blockchain protocols and standards continued to receive focus and attention including the session Blockchain in Healthcare Global-IEEE/ISTO calling for founding members to join the IEEE’s B.i.H.G. (Blockchain In Healthcare Global) organization. Panelists were:

  • Sean Manion, Science Distributed
  • Ruth Amos, Cogent Law
  • Nicole Tay, Science Distributed
  • Heather Flannery, ConsenSys Health

There were too many other great sessions to include here, but several program highlights included:

  • Synaptic Health Alliance composed of Industry heavyweights Humana, Optum, Multiplan, United Health Care and Quest Diagnostics discussing lessons learned with their initial collaboration on provider directories including the group’s governance issues and the switch to J P Morgan’s Quorum blockchain due to scalability concerns.
  • Change Healthcare and TIBCO Software announced their “collaboration to build the first smart contract system for healthcare, using the Change Healthcare Intelligent Healthcare Network™ blockchain technology and TIBCO’s smart contract developer project, Project Dovetail™. The platform will aim to enable health plans and their financial partners to easily develop and deploy smart contract-based processes that automate events across the healthcare transaction processing lifecycle.”
  • Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Acquisition at U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Jose Arrieta discussing their Federal government sponsored blockchain project to greatly simplify process steps and significantly reduce costs around procurement
  • Dr. Tom Savel – Director of Informatics Innovation Unit at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in two different sessions discussing the CDCs efforts with Opioids as well as a second panel discussing the CDC blockchain project to track and report Tuberculosis using Smart Contracts
  • John Bass CEO and Founder at Hashed Health (the Nashville based co-host) – “Convening and Building Healthcare Networks “included trends and their new market applications
  • The key-note addresses were high energy and informative with speakers including:
    • Lidia Fonseca, Quest Diagnostics
    • Ramu Kannan, Humana
    • John Bass, Hashed Health
    • Charles Aunger, Health2047
    • Vasiliy Suvorov, Luxoft
    • Richie Etwaru, Hu-manity

The final afternoon session on Tuesday included the announcement of the winner of the Investor Pitch competition – ScalaMed, led by Dr Tal Rapke, CEO Founder, with their Smart Prescriptions application took the honors.

All in all the conference was well-organized and managed, and the attendees and speakers and topics reflect the ongoing evolution of the thinking and efforts around Blockchain adoption in healthcare.