DC Blockchain Codeathon

In mid March, Ted Tanner (CTO and co-founder of PokitDok) and I took off to Washington, DC to support and sponsor a blockchain code-a-thon organized by the Chamber of Digital Commerce and Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). Ted served as one of the industry sponsor judges for the contest and I spent the day (snowed in!) with the participants to assist with development. Amidst the late season DC snow-pocalypse, the energy remained high and the developers persisted through the storm.

DC Blockchain Codeathon Details

The codeathon challenged participants to build and demo working prototypes in one of the following 3 tracks:

Identity Management and APIs: Demonstrate the use of blockchain to support the identity management requirements for APIs for both provider-to-provider and patient-mediated exchange.

Metadata Tagging and Policy Expression: Demonstrate the use of blockchain for security metadata and tagging to manage access, provide auditing, and provenance information.

Data Aggregation and Linkage: Use of blockchain technology to securely aggregate, link, and share patient data to the destination of their choice.

Winning Teams

This post contains a summary of the solutions presented during this event. To kick off, let's first highlight the impressive winners of the competition:

First Place Winner

Team Name: Health Passport
Track: Identity Management
Solution Summary:
Health Passport is an international patient-centric health portal to put a patient's data in the right hands at the right time with the goal of improving health outcomes. At the event, the Health Passport team created and demoed a proof of concept that uses the public Ethereum blockchain and IPFS to achieve authentication, token initialization, and data management via stored pointers on the blockchain. They demonstrated how to handle shared permissions via their wallet solution to incentivize and facilitate health data exchange.

Second Place Winners

Team Name: TMI (Trust My Identity)
Track: Identity Management
Solution Summary:
The TMI team aimed to create a demo solution for the specific use case of credentialing and privileging within provider and payer systems. This process is a part of the credentialing process that determines if the provider is a legitimate practitioner. According to TMI, the current process takes 3-6 months within any given hospital and the cross-state licensure issues brought to the surface by telemedicine have further complicated the process. The TMI solution merges IPFS, Monax blockchain, and big chain db. Their solution manages identity by looking at attestation via smart contracts and digital signatures for primary source identification for every single piece of credentialed documentation attributed to a clinician. Their solution is essentially a distributed provider directory and they link data using consensus controlled authorities.

Team Name: Nucleus Health
Track: Identity Management
Solution Summary:
Team Nucleus Health presented a solution called "Project Health Genesis." Their solution aims to reduce the number of duplicate exams by utilizing blockchain technology. Team Nucleus Health demoed identity management via public key cryptography, authentication via digital signatures, and authentication via smart contracts. Their demo was completely accessible via cloud-based APIs. Specifically, their demo showcased the moving of images out of the firewalled legacy infrastructure into the public blockchain to create the unified resource of a patient's history of medical imaging exams. They did an end to end demonstration via restful APIs of sharing of medical imaging that is controlled by patient authenticated signatures. Specifically, the hash which they store on the blockchain is a URL that yields access to the medical image.

Third Place Winners

Team Name: Mesh Health
Track: Metadata Tagging and Policy Expression:
Solution Summary:
The Mesh Health Team proposed an interoperability platform that leverages blockchain as a distributed public key infrastructure to facilitate sharing of info between different EMR systems. Their solution establishes a shared permissioned blockchain between the network participants with the user at the center. The key value pair would be issued by a regulatory agency to ensure that each network participant would have a unique identifier. A patient would have a user interface to provide authentication to the service where a regulatory body (or smart contract) would provide cryptographic proof to the data store. At its core, this is utilizing blockchain as the underlying access protocol to access information across different data stores via APIs. The actual data would live off the chain in a data store within the FHIR standard.

Team Name: MCDC
Track: Metadata Tagging and Policy Expression:
Solution Summary:
The MCDC solution aimed to implement a viable OS to connect EMR providers to the blockchain in a way that allows data owners to secure their information through policies. With their solution, they will provide a full audit trail to the key parties who are requesting access to various components within the system. Their system controls the exchange of data and application of the policies created by data owners. They built this on top of the Zcash blockchain; which essentially acts as an access control in this case.

Team Name: D3 Health: Digitally Democratized Data
Track: Data Aggregation and Linkage
Solution Summary:
D3 Health took the approach to build out the concept that your medical data is the asset within the network. The software they demoed showcased how to get data from a
PCP to another specialist. When they looked at the solution, they identified that there are multiple pieces of information to be traded which all function as an asset. Further, each of these pieces of data play different roles, eg: validators. With the persisted transaction, the provider can leverage the persisted information by approving (or denying) the exchange of that data asset.

Some Additional Participants

In addition to the winning teams above, here are some other creative teams to highlight:

Team Name: Team Divvy
Solution Summary:
Divvy proposed using distributed blockchain technology to track and attack the opioid epidemic. They proposed a 2-tier solution to construct a patient-centric blockchain where providers across state boundaries can add to the blockchain and access a patient's opioid history. From a policy perspective, they aim to change macro level behavior to tighten the market around opioid abuse.

Team Name: 2CData
Solution Summary:
2CData's solution, named "Orphans in the Desert," provided blockchain technology to improve the health outcomes of those with orphaned diseases. They built out a blockchain to control the access to health records, which are stored off-chain. Their solution, TaLIa, is a trust layer inversion that can take multiple data sources, merge them into a data lake, and use blockchain technology to control storage of metadata about the medical records. They built this on top of IBM's Hyperledger and their code is available here.

Team Name: MedTechMD
Solution Summary:
Team MedTechMD used Hyperledger to create a process for approving or denying patient and physician access for medical records. With their solution, the patient requests a service and controls the subsequent permissions and sharing of the results of that service. Team MedTechMD Chain proposed to share medical records via a Hyperledger backed blockchain infrastructure by hashing and storing medical records on-chain.

About Denise Gosnell, PhD

Dr. Gosnell, a driving member of the PokitDok Data Science team since 2014, has brought her research in applied graph theory to help architect the graph database while also serving as an analytics thought leader. Her work with the Data Science team aims to extract insight from the trenches of hidden data in healthcare and build products to bring the industry into the 21st century. She also helps organize the local chapter of Charleston Data Analytics, a Meetup PokitDok now sponsors, and has represented PokitDok's Data Science Team at numerous conferences including, PyData, KDD (Knowledge Discovery & Data Mining) and the inaugural GraphDay.

Prior to PokitPok, she earned her Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Tennessee - where she founded a branch of Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In Circle. The goal of this impressive organization is to guide women interested in computer science careers, as TechCrunch noted, and Denise has done that and more.

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About Ted Tanner

Ted Tanner is co-founder and CTO of PokitDok. Ted is an engineering executive with extensive experience ranging from startups to public corporations. Focused mainly on growth scale computing he has held architect positions at both Apple and Microsoft and has held instrumental roles in several start-ups, including digidesign (IPO and acquired by Avid), Crystal River Engineering (acquired by Creative Labs), VP of R&D at MongoMusic (acquired by Microsoft) and Co-founder and CTO of BeliefNetworks (acquired by Benefitfocus). He was also the CTO of Spatializer Audio Labs (NASDAQ: SPAZ), a company specializing in digital signal processing solutions. He is on the IAB for the University of South Carolina Computer Science Department as well as the Center for Intelligent Systems and Machine Learning at the University of Tennessee. Mr. Tanner has published numerous articles in leading technical magazines and holds several patents in the areas of semantics, machine learning, signal processing and signal protection.

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