Hyperledger today announced the formation of a new working group focused on blockchain applications in the healthcare space.

Unveiled at the Distributed: Health blockchain conference in Tennessee, the working group is composed of healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente; tech giant IBM; professional services firm Accenture; and startups Digital Asset, Gem and Hashed Health.

As a starting point, according to Hyperledger executive director Brian Behlendorf, the group will turn to a collection of over 70 proposals submitted to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a recent competition organized by the government agency.

Behlendorf told CoinDesk:

“The point of the working group is to take the list of use cases from the HHS essay contest, which is where we might usefully put a blockchain into the healthcare system, or use it to support healthcare use cases.”

Specific applications up for discussion include decentralized registries, interoperable networks and associated identities, smart contracts and process automation, among others.

Ultimately, according to members of the new working group, the goal is to hone in on a single project on which Hyperledger can focus its software writing efforts.

Looking ahead

Gem will spearhead the group’s recruiting efforts, according to Behlendorf. He highlighted that companies wishing to join don’t need to be a member of the Hyperledger project.

With the HHS entries as a basis, the working group will seek to identify a use case that will serve as the open-source organization’s minimum viable product for blockchain and healthcare.

Behlendorf calls what they’re looking for the “first delta” upon which other healthcare industry professionals can build.

In addition to expanding its focus into the healthcare industry, Behlendorf says the working group reflects the overall project’s push beyond finance.

Behlendorf concluded:

“It’s always been a part of the vision of the Hyperledger project that we’re building foundational technologies for blockchain that are never necessarily tied to financial use cases. This is as foundational as an operating system, a database, a programming language.”

Image via Shutterstock

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