An executive at the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) is signaling his support for blockchain applications in the field of healthcare.

In comments made in a speech delivered at the GovInnovate summit in Canberra today, Tim Hogben, group executive for operations at ASX, issued new remarks on the use case.

According to ZDNet, Hogben stated his belief that blockchain would improve business processes that require requesting and verifying health data.

Hogben said:

“All this information is stored over various databases and they’re not all secure. The blockchain or a ledger such as this is one way of capturing that and providing instant identification of those users.”

While notable, Hogben is not the first to suggest that distributed ledger technology could provide a solution to the problem of medical record storage and access.

Researchers from MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative recently published a paper detailing a prototype called MedRec that aims to solve the same problem, and a use case for medical records has often been floated in blockchain circles (though not without its fair share of critics).

But ASX statements carry weight as it is currently building a blockchain platform as a more efficient mechanism for its equities clearing and settlement process.

ASX has already shown it is willing to invest in blockchain ideas that it believes have potential, as it has emerged as one of the top financial supporters for the Blythe Masters-led startup Digital Asset Holdings.

However, modernizing the sharing and tracking of medical records has proved to be a difficult problem to solve, as medical care often involves multiple agencies in different geographic locations, each of which may log and store data in a proprietary format.

Previous efforts to create a unified system have often failed, sometimes spectacularly. In the UK, for instance, an attempt to modernize and centralize NHS patient records was abandoned in 2013 after incurring project costs of £10bn.

Health image via Shutterstock

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