Shouldn't the focus be on standardisation of data formats before we start putting patient data on blockchain?


A huge amount of IT effort is spent on unnecessary reconciliation tasks because two business did not agree on a common data format. The power of common data format goes a long way. Some industries realised this early enough during the internet revolution to benefit from this, These industries managed to innovate at speeds never seen before. This is the key to success in the connected world.

There is a lot of buzz about putting medical and health data on blockchain. But I have come across very little literature that focusses on standardisation of terminologies and data formats. Blockchain will allow us to build a hyper-connected world. But this hyper-connectivity is of little value if medical records created in one system cannot be understood by another without human intervention or without building complex software programmes.

There has to be a single universal standard for medical and health records. What does the panel think of this?

Patient Data
Suhas Chatekar
9 months ago

6 answers


Yes, I agree 100%

We have seen the same standardization necessary in other industries.
Case in point. Just think of the hastle it will be if we don't have standardized names and catagories for diagnosis. Then we try to trend data related to specific diagnosis, but they are listed in 100s of different ways. How on earth will that trending analysis be meaningful?

So, Again, I agree. Standardize first, Blockchain second.

John DuBois
9 months ago
Whose standard? - Dr. David E. 6 months ago

Well there is always scope of Data Format Standardization and Optimization in Healthcare sector, however for Blockchain adoption you don't need entire data to be placed on Blockchain Network, you need to have only reference data of the original data for validation purpose only. Hence I don't suggest waiting till all raw data gets standardized and cleansed, as that itself may be time taking and resource hungry project,,

Sumant Parimal
9 months ago
OK - Dr. David E. 6 months ago

Sure, but whose standard? Big bucks is involved on the choice.
Remember the PC operating system wars of the late 70's; how about the word processing wars a bit later. OR - consider that there were over 100 auto companies at the turn of the 1900s - today 3.

Dr. David E. M
9 months ago

Agreed. In this case there may be a significant first mover advantage. If one company gets their internal system working/integrated with block chain and publicizes it, others may just adopt it as standard and follow suit (similar to Microsoft OS for PC or Android for smart phones).

Philip Tuet
9 months ago
But, MSFT won the OS WAR! - Dr. David E. 6 months ago
Capitalism rules! - Dr. David E. 6 months ago

Agree on standardization, but disagree that block chain is viable or required now or in the future because of the computing power requirements to implement throughout. Block chain is not a universal swiss army knife solution for many industries. If it were a "free" add on capability beyond having to create and enforce other methods of standardized data structures and methods of handling then it would be ok.

Sandy Waters
9 months ago
Agree - Dr. David E. 6 months ago


Currently, data gleaned from medical services delivered, or patient health conditions, doesn’t financially benefit the patient in any way. The only people who benefit financially from their health data are people who participate in medical trials, which are often very cumbersome to their health.

Blockchain-based solutions could help patients earn money from their personal medical data. In fact, some say:

By placing that data in a wallet to which only they have the key, patients could share their medical data with approved parties and get rewarded with cryptocurrency for doing so

But, this might only help poor disenfranchised folks and skew data!

Any thoughts?

Dr. David E. M
6 months ago

Have some input?