Change Healthcare — a provider of health IT software that ranges from network data analytics to revenue improvement — announced this morning the acquisition of several key assets from blockchain-focused API startup PokitDok, including its software, IP and employees. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
It’s hard to have a conversation about technology innovations in 2018 without stumbling into the realm of blockchain. Since it first appeared on most people’s radars — thanks to the ever-turbulent bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies — financial organizations, major retailers and even governments have investigated whether or not the trendy technology has something to offer.
For healthcare, blockchain is continually transitioning from an obscure technology to a viable tool for various administrative and data-focused use cases. But while players big and small might be curious about its potential, they’ll also need to put their money where their mouth is when it comes to pilots and partnerships dedicated to the distributed ledger technology.
According to IDC, 20 percent of healthcare organizations will be using blockchain by 2020. So should startups in the healthcare space be using it now? Well, not necessarily. While many digital health startups are putting blockchain to good use, for others it might be premature, or even extraneous.
Ted Tanner is Co-Founder, CTO of PokitDok and a creator of DokChain, PokitDok’s blockchain for healthcare. He has published articles in leading technical magazines and holds patents in the areas of blockchain, semantics, machine learning, signal processing and signal protection.