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CHI Facilitates the Uncovering of Technological Opportunities in the Health Sector

How can new technologies be put into play in the health sector? This has been explored by CHI together with public and private partners. The result is 10 concrete use cases on how blockchain can be used in the Capital Region.

The technological development will significantly affect the health sector in the coming years. One of the most exciting technologies on the market currently is blockchain. Blockchain has the potential to disrupt multiple industries by providing innovative opportunities to handle work processes.

In the health sector, technology may for instance offer more efficient and secure information systems or encryption solutions, ensuring that each transaction is unique and non-manipulative. This creates a secure basis for digital interaction between stakeholders without the need for third party verification.

The potentials for blockchain are great, but in the dialogue with CHI’s partners it became apparent that there was a need to uncover and clarify the areas where the technology might best be put into play and add value. At the same time, with the emergence of new technology there was also a need to learn more about the changing competency requirements for health professionals and the organisational changes that arise as a consequence of new work procedures and processes.

”Therefore, in order to identify areas of application in practice, we – in collaboration with partners – have facilitated a two-step process to explore the barriers and the potential in blockchain technology in the Danish health care sector”, says Peter Børker Nielsen, project manager at CHI.

Step 1: Visualising the Opportunies Offered by Blockchain

The first step was to give an introduction of blockchain in the health sector, which was done through a CHI Morning event in collaboration with CBS, the Capital Region and IBM Can blockchain technology improve public health care?  Here, Michel Avital, professor at CBS, and Christian Lassen, the Nordic leader of Blockchain Technology at IBM, gave an introduction to blockchain followed by a presentation of examples of how blockchain is used in the health care area. It was the intention to create visibility about the new technological opportunities and to demonstrate the relevance for the health sector to a wide audience.

Step 2: From Technological Opportunities to Concrete Use Cases

During autumn, a targeted workshop followed for a more narrow circle of relevant stakeholders, especially from the Capital Region. The workshop Envisioning Blockchain Technology at Region H (the Capital Region) was developed in collaboration between the Capital Region, CBS and CHI and aimed at exploring the benefits that actors in the health sector might achieve by using blockchain. Professor Michel Avital of CBS facilitated the workshop, where 40 participants were guided over half a day in devising possible application areas for blockchain and concrete use cases where blockchain might be applied.

“The workshop exceeded all expectations. The participants generated about 10 use cases where blockchain could immediately solve a health challenge. This was for instance within optimised tracking of health records for pregnant women and better tracking and registration of patients aids, either internally at the hospitals or between the hospitals and the municipality”, says Peter Børker Nielsen.

Interdisciplinarity and the Right Actors Ensure High Benefits

The next step in the collaboration is already underway. Here, the parties continue to work with inspiration from the workshop’s use cases to see if it is possible to solve the challenges with blockchain in new collaborations between knowledge institutions, the health sector and private companies or startups.

Peter Børker Nielsen is very pleased with the outcome of the workshop and hopes that CHI may continue the facilitating role and explore the possibilities in other technological areas:

“The process bears witness to the fact that when bringing together the right actors and having a clear mission, you can come up with completely new insights and application opportunities for new technologies in a very short time. In this case, we focused on blockchain, but it might as well be artificial intelligence, augmented reality or machine learning. The most important thing is that you put different skills into play so that together we can become keenly aware of the needs in the health sector, the organisational and skills related changes in connection with the introduction of new technology and the value creation for the citizen and patient”, he says.