区块链,一个首先在金融领域采用的系统,允许 cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin 运营,正在席卷医疗保健行业(以一种好的方式). Many believe it could be the answer to numerous security challenges that have plagued the healthcare industry in the past few years.

随着区块链在金融和医疗行业的不断普及, our cybersecurity team at LBMC is committed to staying on top of this emerging technology solution and providing our clients with relevant information about blockchain and the difference it could make in the cybersecurity industry, and for healthcare in particular. Let’s address some of the most common questions we’ve received regarding blockchain and its impact on the healthcare industry.

What is a Cryptocurrency?

Regulators of all stripes have looked at blockchain technology – and the cryptocurrencies that have proliferated in recent years – and come to their own conclusions about whether and/or how to regulate the industry. 以下是当前游戏状态的概要:

  • Securities and Exchange Commission – Cryptocurrencies issued via Initial Coin Offering (ICO) or Initial Token Offering (ITO) are securities.
  • 商品期货交易委员会-加密货币是商品.
  • Department of Treasury – Cryptocurrencies are currencies and ICOs are subject to FinCEN money transmitter rules and reporting.
  • 美国国税局-加密货币是财产,其销售是应纳税的.

简而言之,四个独立的监管机构认为他们在某种程度上对加密货币拥有控制权.

What is blockchain?

区块链技术已经存在了近10年. 从2009年第一个区块链应用——比特币的推出开始, 监管格局发生了很大变化. Companies operating in this space have begun to rethink and reshape their funding model in response to regulatory pressures. 说这一领域存在监管不确定性是轻描淡写的.

区块链的核心是一个记录和存储交易记录的分布式系统. More specifically, blockchain is a shared, unchangeable record of peer-to-peer transactions built from linked transaction blocks and stored in a digital ledger.

区块链用户只能更新他们有权访问的“区块”(交易记录).  一旦用户提交了更新请求, 参与方运行算法来评估提议的记录更新, and, once approved, 这些更新在整个网络中被复制, 这样所有其他方都知道刚刚进行的事务更新. In this way, interactions with the blockchain are known to all participants and require verification by the network before information is added or replicated. 所有条目都有时间和日期戳,这为所有交互提供了详细的审计跟踪. 数据是加密的,不可更改的,并且在所有参与者的系统上都是最新的.

区块链将如何彻底改变医疗行业?

因为记录分布在复制数据库的网络中, blockchain provides a new degree of potential security benefits for the massive amounts of data healthcare organizations are responsible for managing.

While blockchain provides the healthcare industry with a variety of opportunities for enhanced medical research and simplified financial management, 以下是一些可以利用它来改进数据管理和安全性的具体方法:

  • 增强的数据互操作性和安全性 -在没有国家患者标识符的情况下, 区块链可能是一个很好的机制,可以将个人和他们的记录保存在一起. 因为区块链以无法修改的模式验证和存储数据, it has potential to be a key component of the infrastructure that is needed to keep health data up-to-date, private and secure while facilitating the ability to share information with appropriate parties (as in a health information exchange) and further enable the benefits of connected medical devices. This new level of interoperability could help providers eliminate some IT challenges associated with providing exceptional patient care across the healthcare ecosystem in a cost-effective manner.
  • Fraud Prevention -基于区块链的系统可以帮助减少医疗保险欺诈, 该公司在2016年因欺诈而遭受了超过3000万美元的损失. For example, proactive monitoring of the patterns that cybercriminals use could inform fraud detection systems that rely on machine learning to continually improve their sensitivity.

所得税问题——重新思考ICO模型的结构

区块链公司通常依靠发行代币或硬币来筹集资金. 从本质上讲,ICO/ITO模式是区块链初创企业的众筹. 公司煞费苦心地构建自己的产品结构, 在他们法律顾问的帮助下, 以确保SEC的规定不适用. This was typically done by designing the token or coin to have utility on the network rather than having features of a regulated security.

However, companies are increasingly thinking about leaning into SEC regulations and structuring the offerings as registered securities. The tokens or coins can be offered in private placements to accredited investors and registered with the SEC. 在ICO过程中接受SEC的监督可以帮助减轻未来的不确定性.

The IRS treats cryptocurrency as property and the sale of tokens or coins is subject to federal income tax. 对于发行公用事业代币的公司, this presents a host of challenges for early-stage blockchain start-ups as a substantial portion of the money raised via ICO is earmarked for taxes.

通过区块链发行证券的公司, 必须特别注意发售的结构. There is potential for a worst-of-both-worlds outcome where an offering is subject to SEC regulations while also being subject to income tax according to the IRS.

Under either model, it is essential to have your tax advisor involved from the beginning of the ICO process to help reduce and plan for the potential tax burden.

区块链技术的挑战是什么?

尽管区块链技术可能成为医疗行业变革的催化剂, 有几个挑战需要记住:

  • Transitioning from Current Systems. One of the main obstacles to implementing blockchain technology to manage patient data is the fact that data is already being managed by current systems. 区块链技术需要彻底改变, going from centralized, 高度实体控制的分布式系统, open, and, potentially worldwide systems.
  • 缺乏医生和护士的支持. Transitioning to any new system (regardless of whether blockchain is involved) requires buy-in from the stakeholders. 然而,医生对新产品的第一反应通常是非常谨慎的. For good reason, providers are hesitant to make any changes that could have a negative impact on the efficiency or effectiveness of patient care. Educating stakeholders on the benefits of the new system and the blockchain capabilities (beyond the obvious security enhancements) will be key to getting their buy-in when the time comes.

区块链正在迅速成为一个熟悉的商业术语. It will be interesting to watch as companies collaborate to develop blockchain-based systems and jockey to position them within the healthcare industry as potential solutions. 精明的领导者将密切关注这项技术及其对IT世界的影响, 他们应该寻求保持在链条的“顶端”.

作为医疗保健IT安全领域的领导者, LBMC针对整个医疗保健生态系统中实体的安全性和遵从性问题进行了调整. 如果你想了解更多关于区块链技术, 以及它可能给你的组织带来的潜在好处, connect with our team today.