The Austin Blockchain Collective has announced the formation of its Healthcare Working Group. The Collective, launched in March 2018, aims to establish Austin as a center for blockchain innovation and research. To achieve this, the Collective is focusing on nurturing local companies through market education, promotion of Austin’s blockchain credentials and business collaboration. Nevertheless, its membership – albeit with exceptions such as IBM – is drawn mainly from crypto community start-ups like Dash and Kraken.
The Healthcare Working Group taps into these members and has partnered with the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas in Austin. Dell Med’s position as a leading innovator in academic medicine will help the Working Group in its aims of exploring, developing and promoting blockchain applications which could improve medical services.
Aaron Miri, Dell Med’s CIO added: “Austin is a vibrant incubator in the technology sector and I’m glad to see that the city is tapping into this enthusiasm to tackle the challenges in our healthcare system with the establishment of the Collective’s Healthcare Working Group and investment in its blockchain companies.”
“Dell Medical School is excited to collaborate with this endeavor and contribute to Austin’s position as a model health city and global center for innovation in healthcare.”
Blockchain’s potential in the healthcare industry is already being explored. In the past couple of years, several consortia have been established. These include two U.S. groups of big insurers, the Synaptic Health Alliance and an IBM consortium. Additionally, Hyperledger also has a special interest group focused on the sector. There is a range of innovations under development, including the integration of healthcare records, patient monitoring, data privacy and combatting fake drugs.
“It [the working group] allows researchers and clinicians at the University to discuss technical, policy, social, and ethical issues with industry partners for real-world applications of blockchain technology in healthcare,” said Anjum Khurshid, Assistant Professor Dell Medical School, and one of two chairmen of the Working Group. “We would like to see the University of Texas and the City of Austin become a hub of research and innovation in this field.”
The group began to get together – although informally – last year. Meetings have and will continue to center around current healthcare challenges and what blockchain’s role can be in solving them. The Working Group intends to publish its conclusions via “thought leadership, educational workshops and briefings.”