Have you ever been reading an article and come across a term you aren’t familiar with but don’t think anything of it and move on? And then read a completely unrelated article and it uses that same term? And then think “Hmm, this seems like it may be becoming important, maybe I should go look this up.” Well, that happened to me recently with the term blockchain.
According to Wikipedia, blockchain is a distributed database that maintains a continuously-growing list of ordered records called blocks. Each block contains a timestamp and a link to a previous block. By design, blockchains are inherently resistant to modification of the data — once recorded, the data in a block cannot be altered retroactively. Blockchains are “an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way. The ledger itself can also be programmed to trigger transactions automatically.”
It’s that phrase data in a block cannot be altered retroactively that’s interesting. When we are talking about securing healthcare data, as this article IBM and FDA target secure healthcare data describes, using blockchain may be an effective tool for securing patient healthcare data.
Gartner is putting blockchain into their platform revolution trend. This lays the foundation for new business models that are forming the bridge between humans and technology. Organizations must understand and redefine their strategy to adapt to these new models.
So be aware when you are reading, and if a new term jumps out at you more than once, you should probably start researching.