As the East Coast struggles with a biting cold that’s threatening travel plans and everyone’s collective sanity, we’re keeping warm as we gear up for W2O Group’s 4th Annual Digital Health Luncheon on Monday, January 8, 2018, in San Francisco, CA, in partnership with Squire Patton Boggs. Bigger and better than before—now three hours of discussion and networking, with nearly two hundred of our closest healthcare, life science and biotech friends—we can’t wait to once again kick off what’s many have started calling J.P Morgan Healthcare week, and we want you to join us!

Last year, we looked at the future of digital health investing in a value-driven era. This year, thought leaders will come together to discuss what’s next for some of today’s most disruptive healthcare technologies, including AI, blockchain and genomics. Tony Scott, the senior data privacy and cybersecurity advisor for Squire Patton Boggs and former U.S. chief information officer, will join a panel of experts to discuss if blockchain really is healthcare’s next great disruptor.

Tony was appointed by President Obama as the federal government’s chief information officer in 2015, where he was responsible for management guidance, budget oversight, IT governance, cybersecurity coordination and strategy for the Executive Branch. In addition to implementing an overhaul of federal IT policy, Tony is also credited with creating the first government-wide open source policy, and leading the government’s response to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) cyber intrusions through initiatives that ultimately led to the President’s Cybersecurity National Action Plan.

Ahead of #JPM18, we asked Tony to weigh in on a few questions about the future of blockchain in healthcare, below:

1. Is blockchain worth the hype in terms of its potential to improve/impact healthcare?

There is already strong evidence of the creative use of blockchain based technologies to improve/impact healthcare. Whether these will scale to larger projects, and drive the adoption of industry wide standards is yet to be seen. The fact that billions of dollars of investment is going into this space is one indicator of the potential. Some things will fail, but each of these will result in learnings that will help make the next investment a better one.

2. What areas of healthcare or life sciences are ripest for the application of blockchain, from the clinical to the financial to the administrative?

I think some of the ripest areas are where there are a lot of middlemen and brokers in between the provider and the recipient. It’s likely to be a disruptive technology for those who make money solely on the transaction. Second, there is strong potential for lowering costs if transparency and visibility can help drive greater competition.

3. Best examples in action in either the public and private sectors?

Microsoft and Accenture are building a blockchain based Digital Identity Service that will provide secure and unique identification for over a billion people in underdeveloped countries where no government based identity service functions today. Creating an “identity” is one of the first steps in providing services, whether its healthcare, financial, or basic commerce.

4. What can we expect over the next 2 years? 10 years?

Increased regulation is almost a certainty, but I also expect much greater standardization.   I think it will follow the patterns of the credit card industry where there will be collaborative networks built around segments in the marketplace. I also expect to see much more action in the smart contracts space, where there is a lot of work and investment today. This has the potential to challenge decades old, and even centuries old norms and practices with respect to international trade.

5. Obstacles and challenges with greater adoption in the industry?

I think there are three big challenges:

  1. Cost of service: Today blockchain is a power hungry and compute intense activity. Lots of work needed to bring cost of compute down.
  2. Ease of use/integration: This is not an easy to use/friendly thing today, and lots of investment is going into figuring out how to make “blockchain as a service” more consumable.
  3. Standards: Broad adoption of standards within various industry segments is needed – good news is that many of these discussions are underway and good frameworks will likely emerge.

Be sure to follow #W2ODH18, Tony Scott (@tonyscottcioat), Squire Patton Boggs (@SPB_Global), and @W2OGroup for updates from the 4th Annual Digital Health Luncheon!

Please see below for more information on this year’s event and RSVP here, as space is limited!

W2O Group’s 4th Annual Digital Health Luncheon

In partnership with Squire Patton Boggs

Date/Time: Monday, January 8th, 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Location: The St. Regis San Francisco, 125 3rd Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

Space is limited and on a first come, first serve basis. Please RSVP here.

  • AI: The Key to Freeing Up Healthcare’s Friction?
    • Jonathan Bush, CEO, athenahealth (Introduction by Tamara Fraizer, Squire Patton Boggs)
  • Blockchain: Healthcare’s Next Greatest Disrupter?
    • Tony Scott (Senior Advisor, Squire Patton Boggs)
    • Dr. Albert Chan (Chief of Digital Patient Experience, Sutter Health)
    • Ted Tanner (CTO & Co-Founder, PokiDok)
    • Sarah Buhr (Techcrunch)
  • Is There Space for Consumer Genomics?
    • David Ewing Duncan (Journalist/Author of When I’m 164, Moderator)
    • Jessica Richman (CEO & Co-founder, uBiome, Panelist)
    • Michael Nova (Chief Innovation Officer, Pathway Genomics, Panelist)