Healthcare executives are trying to decide whether blockchain — a distributed ledger that it is durable, time-stamped, transparent and decentralized — has great potential to solve some of healthcare’s intractable problems or is being overhyped. Some health IT leaders are convinced of its promise, including John Halamka, M.D., International Healthcare Innovation Professor at Harvard Medical School and Chief Information Officer of the Beth Israel Deaconess System in Massachusetts. He has just been named editor-in-chief of a new online, peer-review journal called Blockchain in Healthcare Today (BHTY).
BHTY said it would offer rapid, peer-reviewed publication of research, commentary, and proof of concept for blockchain technology and related areas that catalyze a new era in healthcare, and demonstrate bottom-line cost efficiencies that advance value-based healthcare across the care continuum.
Previously, Dr. Halamka was CEO of MA-SHARE (the Regional Health Information Organization), and Chair of the U.S. Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP). He is the author of five books on technology-related issues, hundreds of articles, and thousands of posts on his Geekdoctor blog.
"I am excited Dr. Halamka has joined the BHTY team. His innovative thinking has already disrupted several fields,” said Gil Alterovitz, Ph.D., one of the journal’s editorial board stewards and a faculty member of Harvard Medical School, in a prepared statement. “I have witnessed his unique talent as communicator teaching a biomedical computing class I co-directed. He has novel ways of presenting new and complex concepts, staying relevant and exciting to audiences. As a nationally recognized innovator in the burgeoning blockchain space, he embodies the vision and energy required to move the sector forward. This is an ideal fit for the journal and will, no doubt, leave a far-reaching imprint."
Besides Alterovitz, the journal has many other editorial stewards, including:
• Kevin A. Clauson, PharmD, Associate Professor, Lipscomb University College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences in Nashville, Tenn. Recently, he helped lead the initiative for Lipscomb University to become the first academic organization to join Hashed Health’s consortium. His previous blockchain efforts include roles at Stanford Blockchain Disrupt, White House Precision Medicine Initiative workshop, and IEEE Blockchain Clinical Trials.
• Florence D. Hudson, Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer, Internet2, a not-for-profit consortium of 500 research and education organizations in academia, industry and government leveraging a high speed network and trust & identity solutions to accelerate scientific discovery and develop innovations around the Internet.
• Jim Nasr, Chief Software Architect at the Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology and Laboratory Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He leads a number of initiatives around modernization of CDC’s public health systems, with core focus on building forward-looking and interoperable software based on Microservices, modern DevOps, blockchain and open technology frameworks.
• Tom Savel, M.D., Director, Informatics Innovation Unit, Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology and Laboratory Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
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