Leveraging Blockchain Integration to Meet Information Governance Challenges

Robin Woolen, The Records Guru®

Blockchain integration is one of the hottest technology topics in the business world today, with financial services and healthcare sectors leading the way in exploring how to integrate blockchain into their organizations.

Integration Stats

A recent PwC survey of 600 executives from 15 territories noted that 84% of respondents are actively involved with blockchain in some form, with financial services taking the lead.

One concerning result is that only 28% say interoperability of systems is a key for success. This figure is pretty low considering “interoperability of systems” has pretty much been at the top of the reasons a technology project fails ever since information technology has been around. You would think this concern would be closer to 80%, unless the other 72% of respondents have already mitigated the issue.

The good news is that most blockchain integration projects for these respondents are in the beginning stages, with only 10% in a pilot stage and 15 projects now live, so there is plenty of time to deal with the issue.

A Financial Services Roadblock

Another interesting result from the PwC survey finds that there was a significant drop in blockchain integration projects in the financial services sector last year — 46% in 2018 versus 82% in 2017. This was probably due to the advent of the General Data and Protection Regulation (GDPR), which wants data to be “centralized, restricted and removable,” yet blockchain data is inherently “decentralized, distributed and immutable,” mentions attorney Amy Grant. This is a structural incompatibility that will need to be addressed before those financial services organizations with European clientele can move forward. A potential compromise can be found, given the money involved on both sides of this issue.

Healthcare Hurdles

The healthcare industry faces additional interoperability of systems issues in that there are multiple service providers with hospitals, clinics and pharmacies all with their own systems that, in many cases, do not have an easy data integration path. Add insurance providers with their own systems, along with the recent regulatory requirement mandating electronic health records, and there is a critical need for a solution.

Several healthcare providers have formed research projects such as Mount Sinai Health System’s Center for Biomedical Blockchain Research, which will focus on building a network for healthcare organizations to participate in use cases to explore the possibilities of blockchain when applied to healthcare issues. One such use case is the creation of a single, comprehensive and unified medical record for an individual. Vanderbilt University’s Institute for Software Integrated Systems recently developed a successful proof of concept for a blockchain-based technology that does exactly that.

Protect Your Future with Blockchain

Blockchain integration is quickly moving beyond the conceptual stage in many industries and it is showing great promise in solving some of their most critical business issues. These successes will continue to grow and the pace of innovation will only become faster. It is vital that information governance professionals get involved in these projects to ensure their organization’s information assets are protected and maintained properly.

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