Blockchain- what's the fuss about?

Blockchain- what's the fuss about?
William Nash
William Nash
February 27th 2018

William Nash COO of Dovetail recently did an interview about his thoughts on blockchain, how it is being used by Dovetail and what future it has.

Why are you interested in blockchain?

Blockchains and distributed ledger technology sit at an intersection between the cutting edge of computer science and the needs of business and real consumers. This allows the exploration of problems that are both theoretical and practical; it’s perfect for someone with a wide set of interests. I studied Physics and Philosophy at King’s and enjoyed both subjects; I like being able to solve problems in different ways.

I’m excited to be in a company where we’re using distributed ledgers to solve a problem which is important and blockchain-relevant.

Why are you drawn towards blockchain in healthcare?

Fundamentally, the NHS is a distributed organisation. It appears centralised at first glance but information, decision making and patient services are all highly distributed geographically and organisationally. It’s also very event driven. Since most patients get better, there is a natural flow through the system; a patient enters, has tests followed by treatment and then leaves the system. These two factors (distributed and event driven) mean that healthcare in the UK is full of potential applications for blockchains.

I personally was drawn to this work while working on our proof of concept for medical records on the blockchain. I broke my arm and, after I left A&E, had to return for surgery days later. By then, they’d already lost my records and we had to recreate them from memory; that really intensified my interest in our work!

Tell us about the work Dovetail Digital is conducting in regards to blockchain?

We are a health tech company empowering the secure and accountable sharing of medical data, using blockchain, that patients and practitioners want. We aim to ensure that when people use any health and wellbeing service that practitioners have the up to date and accurate information they need to improve health.

We use a version our distributed ledger to immutably save data sharing events. Each clinic or clinic cluster can see the transactions they are party to and we can perform real-time auditing of events or 'deep dives' into past events.

What does the future hold for blockchain in healthcare?

Globally there have been fantastic developments which are hugely promising and we’re keeping a keen eye on those developments. For Dovetail the future is growth and adoption.

For Dovetail over the coming months, we’re going to launch our product and steadily on-board more and more electronic health records (EHR) systems and clinicians. The adoption of data standards will assist our work and allow us to focus exclusively on the blockchain parts of our application. We’re proud to have received funding from NHS England as this is an amazing signal from the NHS that they’re embracing digital change and share our vision of a technology-enabled accountable healthcare system.