SimplyVital Health Pioneers Blockchain Healthcare Ecosystem

Reliable access to patients’ medical information is a prerequisite for timely and effective healthcare, but the confidential nature of personal data means that healthcare providers often operate within a siloed world creating unintended consequences where patient outcomes come second to data protection concerns.

These tensions have led the Connecticut-based company SimplyVital Health (SVH) to create a totally new kind of data-sharing solution. Health Nexus is an autonomous, blockchain ecosystem that integrates with existing healthcare systems for lower on-boarding costs. Because it employs a permissioned ledger – rather than an open protocol, like the bitcoin network – it is possible to ensure that all miners maintaining the network are validated entities. The platform is consequently secure enough to deal with data as private and sensitive as healthcare records.

Secure, open healthcare marketplace

SimplyVital Health has created this powerful new platform to allow healthcare providers to roll out innovative new products and services without being unnecessarily hampered by the issues surrounding data storage and sharing. A key pair system is built into the protocol, ensuring safe and robust access to medical records. Health Nexus propels healthcare infrastructure forward and, through the efficient and trustworthy ledger blockchain provides, empowers providers worldwide to transition to better care coordination. The immutable nature of blockchain entries ensures proof of provided care, whilst the simplicity of secure data sharing allows a patient’s entire care team, from surgeons to specialists, to coordinate treatment from first appointment to final check-up.

Their current platform, ConnectingCare, is commercially available, and a number of organisations already employ it to facilitate their business models – making it one of the first practical use-cases for blockchain technology in healthcare. The company’s aim is ultimately to leverage Health Nexus to unite healthcare provision on a global scale, rather than allowing individual providers to remain in their own silos.

HealthCash token sale

SimplyVital Health will hold a token sale for Health Cash (HLTH), the blockchain token that will provide rewards for the miners who maintain the network and help catalyse the growth and security of the ecosystem – bringing the revolutionary advantages of blockchain technology to a new generation of healthcare providers in the process.

The token pre-sale begins on 26 September, with the main crowd sale beginning one month later on 31 October. To learn more, visit

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Everything we know about health care can benefit from blockchain technology. Especially when it comes to medical records, sharing patient information, and making data more interoperable. Right now, there are a lot of intermediaries involved in sharing patient data as very few systems are compatible with one another. The blockchain will effectively create a new model for the exchange of health information. Electronic records are the way forward. However, they need to be made more efficient, secure, and no longer reliant on intermediaries.

Overcoming all of those challenges will not be easy, though. A blockchain-powered healthcare ecosystem would raise the bar as far as interoperability is concerned. Eliminating friction and reducing costs associated with using current systems will create a healthier ecosystem for all parties involved. Now is the time to capitalize on this technology and its momentum.

Additionally, using blockchain will help in generating valuable insights. Being able to see the proverbial bigger picture will benefit both patients and healthcare personnel alike. Moreover, it will help improve the value of care as well. All of this will require a universal blockchain system connecting health care facilities from all over the world. Using private blockchains which only require approved partners to examine and share data is not a viable strategy for the healthcare sector by any means.

Dr. Rhea Mehta, the founder of Bowhead Health, a blockchain-based personalized health platform, spoke to NewsBTC about such possibilities, stating:

Dr. Rhea Mehta, Ph.D., CEO of Bowhead Health

“While digital technology has dramatically transformed the management of our financial information and transactions, most of us have not seen such gains when it comes to our health data. As the world watches the adoption of blockchain as a new model of decentralization and security for financial services, we believe the time has arrived when the health sector can finally offer the freedom to own our health data using a smart wallet to manage private and public keys with different levels of permission. This will enable patients to share data on an as needed basis with trusted providers.”

– Dr. Rhea Mehta

There are indeed economic, technical, and behavioral challenges that are faced by the current healthcare models. No one has built a large-scale blockchain ecosystem for the healthcare sector to date. That situation will come to change sooner rather than later, with companies (like Bowhead Health) working toward bringing blockchain technology to the medical sector as we speak. These unique opportunities need to be taken advantage of with properly developed proofs of concept.



The use of blockchain technology in the healthcare sector is one of the most discussed subjects. Various healthcare providers, pharma industry, and even healthcare technology solutions providers are involved in the research and development of distributed ledger applications to make it a reality. The University of Surrey has joined the list of academic institutions and commercial businesses that are active in the sector by announcing its planned blockchain project for personalized healthcare treatments.

The University of Surrey project, set to begin next month is being funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) as a part of its Distributed Ledger Technology initiative. The project titled Co-operative Models for Evidence-based Healthcare Redistribution is one of the three winning bids from the university, and it has received over $540000 (GBP 420000) towards the development and implementation of the model.

The groundbreaking project is said to combine data collected from wearables using blockchain and machine learning algorithms for secure storage and dissemination to public and private healthcare providers, helping them design “targeted patterns” of treatments.

It is vital to ensure the integrity and security of patient medical records and treatment history, by law with various regulations governing it. The security, transparency, and immutability of blockchain make it ideal for secure data storage, selective access and activity logging in comparison to conventional systems.

The University of Surrey blockchain project is being headed by Professor Alan Brown — Head of Digital Economy at Surrey Business School. The Centre for Vision Speech and Signal Processing will be working in collaboration to make blockchain-based healthcare data collection and distribution a reality.

These distributed ledger technology-based projects are part of the EPSRC’s initiative to promote the use of blockchain technology across various industries. The Director of Strategic Partnerships at the University of Surrey, Atti Emecz believes that the three winning bids on the university’s part will help Surrey position itself as the blockchain leader in the United Kingdom, irrespective of whether the United Kingdom emerges as the blockchain leader among nations or not.

At the same time, these projects will open new avenues for cryptocurrency technology to make inroads into the healthcare sector. In the end, patients stand to benefit from faster medical services, unified records management and confidentiality of their medical records.

Ref: Healthcare IT Central | Image: NewsBTC

Ever since Bitcoin’s underlying blockchain technology became popular, many businesses are trying to find uses for it in their operations. Alphabet, Google’s spin-off holding company is also one such company working on creating a “blockchain-style” system for the healthcare industry.

Alphabet’s DeepMind Health has announced its plans to use a distributed ledger-like system to keep tabs on how every bit of patient data is being used. The blockchain like tool goes by the name – Verifiable Data Audit which will be released sometime later this year.

According to available information, the tool will make it easier for the healthcare institutions and patients to see who is using the data and for what purpose. It will also bring into light any unauthorized access or usage of patient data for purposes other than intended. The confidentiality surrounding medical records, its handling and management make DeepMind’s Verifiable Data Audit a valuable tool for efficient management, and it might also act as a deterrent against misuse.

In its blog post, DeepMind Health describes the process outlined for implementing Verifiable Data Audit tool in its partner hospitals. According to the post, DeepMind will provide secure data processing services to the hospital where the institution remains in full control of the generated health care records. Like blockchain, the tool whenever accessed will create a log of interaction that can be audited when required.

Alphabet doesn’t call Verifiable Data Audit a blockchain tool, but a blockchain-like tool. It borrows many features from Bitcoin blockchain, including immutability. It also offers a certain degree of transparency by making it possible for third parties to verify the data.

DeepMind is going to great lengths to ensure full compliance without any room for conflicts. To achieve that, the company claims to have appointed a panel of unpaid independent reviewers who will be in charge of scrutinizing all the healthcare related work carried out by DeepMind. These reviewers are vested with the power to commission audits and publish an annual report on their findings.

So far, Alphabet seems to be doing things right and by the book. With the implementation of Verifiable Data Audit Tool months away, its efficiency and reliability will soon be known.

Ref: DeepMind | Technology Review | Image: NewsBTC

The use of blockchain technology in healthcare is being mulled upon for a while now. The digital currency technology, with its features like immutability, security, and privacy makes it an ideal candidate to safeguard confidential information.

The healthcare system has so far been using conventional data management and communication methods, provided by a handful of vendors. The vendors of health systems usually follow their own set of information standards, creating challenges when it comes to cross-platform operations.

The emergence of interoperable blockchain platforms for healthcare applications may soon make these challenges a thing of the past. Other potential applications of the distributed ledger technology in health industry include supply chain validation and revenue cycle management.
According to industry reports, the use of blockchain technology for managing patient information and other databases insulates the hospitals and data centers from ransomware attacks. The use-case is especially relevant at the time when Bitcoin ransomware attacks are at an all-time high targeting almost every industry segment.

Companies like Accenture and MedRec are working on creating an additional blockchain layer over legacy systems to ensure interoperability while providing privacy and scalability. Such initiatives have also received the support of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. The institution has recently sponsored an ideation challenge to solve the interoperability issues using blockchain technology.

READ MORE: “Blockchain in Healthcare Code-A-Thon” Witnesses Government Participation

Few applications of blockchain technology in other sectors are also being considered for use in a healthcare related setting. Supply chain management is one such segment. Few startups are already working on creating solutions that make it possible to track goods from the point of origin to the end customer, preventing the possibility of counterfeiting. The same can be implemented to ensure the quality of drugs and also to monitor the maintenance of cold chain during transport.

Insurtech is another segment that can pitch in its digital currency technology based solutions for claims management. It will help reduce the time taken to receive and process insurance claims and more. All these put together can make things a lot easier for the professionals working in these sectors. However, there is a matter of regulations, which are expected to get resolved soon as the awareness of blockchain technology grows among bureaucrats and policy makers.

Ref: CyberMed News | Image: NewsBTC

Four different UK hospitals have been hit by a large-scale malware attack. Several thousands of files across these London hospitals are threatened by this malicious software. Barts, the largest NHS trust in England, is working on addressing the situation. Interestingly enough, it does not appear ransomware is used for this attack Moreover, there is no Bitcoin demand by the cyber criminals either.

The attack against Barts health trust is rather disconcerting, as it is a major cyber attack against the UK hospital sector. Staff members have been urged not to open email attachments from unknown senders. Criminals often use malicious email attachment to spread malware and ransomware. However, it remains unclear which malicious software type has caused the infection, or how it will be addressed.

Malware Shuts Down Several UK Hospitals

Several of Barts’ servers have been taken offline to spread the infection. Contingency plans have been deployed, yet proven to be unsuccessful so far. Preliminary reports initiated the healthcare institution was targeted by ransomware, yet that has not been the case. A Bart spokespersons touted how ransom are is “ruled out as an attack vector”.

For the time being, the bigger question is how much damage has been done. The trust remains tight lipped regarding the amount of data compromised by this malware. Patient records still fetch a good price on the underground marketplaces, even though their value has declined steadily over the past few months. It is more likely all affected data relates to corporate information, though.

Fidelis Cybersecurity Threat Intelligence Manager John Bambenek commented as follows:

“The trouble is that local authorities and governments aren’t very prepared and they have extremely valuable information that simply can’t be lost, so they’re a tempting target for cybercriminals. Cyber defence is essential, but it’s no longer enough; organisations of all sizes need to invest in detecting threats as well. Only then will cyber criminals be caught early enough to expel them from the network before serious damage is done.”

It is not the first time UK hospitals are targeted by cyber criminals. In October of 2016, the Northern Lincolnshire and Goole foundation trust suffered a similar attack. A ransom demand was made at the time, yet never paid for. All patient appointments had to be canceled as a result, due to internal hospital systems being unusable. It is evident the UK healthcare sector remains vulnerable to these types of attack,and action needs to be undertaken sooner rather than later.

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock

Who would have imagined that traditional banks would be buying Bitcoin so soon? The answer is – probably no one. However, the far-sighted theory has come to exist, even it is aimed at protecting banks’ data from ransomware attacks.

According to the CEO of Malwarebytes – Marcin Kleczynski, the malicious ransomware programs have been posing severe security threats to banks. In order to ensure uninterrupted service, the banking industry is even prepared to pay the price demanded by cyber criminals to recover data from ransomware affected devices. He says:

“I talked to a couple of banks and they say they have 50-100 bitcoin ready at all times in a wallet to deploy if a ransomware attack hits,”

Banks rely heavily on computers and network infrastructure for their day-to-day operations, and any disruption to its network will bring the whole operation to a stand-still. In addition, ransomware are becoming better each day. These constant improvements to malware code have made them virtually uncrackable.

While speaking to a leading business magazine, Marcin points out the shift in ransomware targets. Until recently, cybercriminals preferred to target individual computers, but now businesses are increasingly becoming the target of malware attacks. Ransomware are malicious software programs that infect computers by encrypting all files, leaving the user locked out of his/her own computer. In order to unlock, one will need a decryption key possessed by the cybercriminal. The only way to get the decryption key is by paying the ransom demanded by the hacker.

Bitcoin is the preferred currency of cyber criminals demanding ransom. The preference is mainly due to the ease of transaction and a certain level of anonymity associated with the renowned digital currency.  Marcin was quoted by the magazine saying,

“In the last six to 12 months, this has just gone so aggressively to the business environment… We see companies from 25 people all the way to 250,000 people getting hit with ransomware.”

A Malwarebytes sponsored survey conducted by Osterman research has found that over 54 percent of the total 540 companies contacted by them had come under ransomware attack in the past one year.  Finance and healthcare companies were found to be the ones facing a high risk of Bitcoin ransomware attacks. The rise in ransomware attacks on businesses is attributed to low malware development and distribution costs combined with the willingness of these businesses to pay the ransom.

Both Finance and Healthcare industries are highly sensitive sectors where huge amounts of money and lives are at stake. They would rather pay up to ensure uninterrupted service than putting up a fight. Marcin also agrees with their strategy. He says,

“Lives should never be at stake, but if they are, for whatever reason, I would pay the ransom. It’s just money … If you’re a student who has been working on something for four years and don’t have a backup of your PHD thesis, again, it might be appropriate to pay the ransom. But if you have just some family photos that are recoverable from the camera, I would not pay the ransom.”

In the current scenario, the ransomware attacks are expected to continue and it is in the best interest of the businesses to handle email attachments with care and ensure that all important files are backed up in a secure location.

Ref: Business Insider | Image: Kaspersky


The Blockchain technology is going to reach critical mass soon, declares Ernst and Young. The leading global consulting firm has recently published a report outlining the significance of blockchain technology in various industry sectors.

The distributed ledger technology powering digital currencies like Bitcoin has been subject to various experiments, mainly from the fintech industry. The properties of blockchain technology make it quite unique and well adaptable to the increasing requirements of secure bookkeeping and automation in various industries.

According to the EY report, the blockchain technology will make its headway into different industries at different times, bringing in disruption. The advantages of blockchain are recognized across the industries, however being a disruptive technology, it will take some time to sort out its implications on existing regulatory and legal frameworks. Many governments are already working on creating suitable regulatory frameworks to include blockchain technology into the mainstream. Anticipating the increasing importance of blockchain technology in the near future, governments and businesses have already started working on pilot projects to gain a better understanding.

EY Report

The EY report lists few potential sectors where the blockchain technology will attain critical mass in the coming years. Fintech sector leads the way with blockchain based embedded finance which will enable complete automation of markets. The same embedded finance structure will eventually be extended to the automotive ecosystem where all records related to vehicle ownership, financing, registration, insurance, service transactions can be stored and tracked on the distributed ledger.

The applications of blockchain technology in the Internet of Things and autonomous vehicles are also considered in the EY report. Some of the other segments include embedded health, digital rights management, the creation of new credit markets for low-cost assets, pay-for-performance, government tax enforcement, industrial mash-ups and industrial IoT.

A considerable progress has already been made in the embedded health and digital rights management segments. There are already few platforms offering these services. The success of these platforms combined with further development of blockchain-based applications will pave the way for large-scale adoption.

The real estate sector is also increasing exploring the use of digital currency technology for managing property records and also as a pooled investments platform where a large number of people can make small investments into projects.

According to the EY report, the large scale implementation of blockchain technology will take at least 3 to 5 years. Those who are prepared to invest, experiment and adapt to the technology by that time are expected to benefit when the shift happens.

Read the full EY report here.

Ref: Ernst & Young |Image: EY Report


The year 2016 has been quite successful for Bitcoin ransomware developers so far. After crippling two major hospital systems in quick succession, it was a matter of time until new guidelines would be established. The Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was created to address these malware threats.

The vast majority of healthcare organizations is clueless when it comes to understanding and preventing ransomware attacks. This new guideline by the US Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights should provide additional information on how this malware works. More importantly, it will also help institutions understand how they can spot a threat, and ensure no [significant] damage is done.

Tackling Ransomware Requires More Than Technology

Preventing ransomware attacks from happening should be the top priority for every healthcare institution right now. Unfortunately, their limited budgets and less-than-stellar IT staff make that task a lot harder than need be. Providing guidelines is a good way to tackle this situation, albeit it may not yield the desired effect in the long run.

Training hospital staffers to spot a malware threat sounds great on paper, but it’s hard to achieve in real life. Most of the people working at a hospital are already overworked, and the last thing they need is more things on their plate. Limiting user access to account records is another option worth exploring, but it might create friction. If not everyone can access the document correctly, waiting for someone to come by with file access will only slow operations down.

One of the only ways to properly deal with a ransomware attack is by making regular system backups. The HIPAA guidelines touch upon this subject as well, as regular data backups are advised. Developing new security incident procedures, as well as reporting processes, are direly needed.

“Implementing a data backup plan is a Security Rule requirement for HIPAA covered entities and business associates as part of maintaining an overall contingency plan. Additional activities that must be included as part of an entity’s contingency plan include: disaster recovery planning, emergency operations planning, analyzing the criticality of applications and data to ensure all necessary applications and data are accounted for, and periodic testing of contingency plans to ensure organizational readiness to execute such plans and provide confidence they will be effective.”

In the end, technology is not to blame for successful malware attacks. Every single incident stems forth from a human error at some point, allowing malware to be installed on a host computer. It is also doubtful guidelines will do much unless they are actively enforced upon all employees. Ransomware takes advantage of vulnerable people, and no directives in the world will be able to solve that problem.

Source: HHS

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock

IBM is venturing into the world of blockchain and distributed ledgers, as they target Government, financial services, and healthcare through IBM Cloud. A significant vote of confidence for blockchain technology in general and another exciting development to see where this industry will head in the next few years.

IBM Cloud Secure Blockchain Services

There is no denying blockchain technology is a booming market right now, as players from all kinds of industries want to get involved in this ecosystem sooner rather than later. IBM  (NYSE: IBM) is one of those players, as they have started offering blockchain services on IBM cloud as of today, which will be beneficial to a lot of industries all over the world.

What is even more interesting is how the IBM Cloud blockchain service meets all of the existing regulatory and security requirement. There is no point in using a decentralized system if the cloud environment is it hosted on has security vulnerabilities left, right, and center. The company has worked together with various teams of hardware experts, cryptographers, researchers, and security experts to make sure their cloud-based offering can keep all of the information safe.

Addressing these security needs is done through a variety of means, as they aim to offer the blockchain to government, healthcare, and financial players over the coming months and years. Moreover, IBM has taken significant steps to make it easier for developers to use their code, which based on the Hyperledger Project. Building applications has become a lot easier as well, thanks to the offering of services on Bluemix.

Scalability is one of the top priorities when dealing with blockchain solutions, and IBM’s offerings can scale to thousands of users in a matter of mere minutes. There is also an auditable operating environment supporting compliance and forensics if need be. Moreover, all of the IBM Cloud users can run their blockchain solutions in protected environments, removing data leaks from the equation.

NTT DATA Director and Executive VP Eiji Ueki stated:

“Blockchain is a highly innovative and promising technology. However there are a lot of issues to be solved for enterprise systems. IBM’s new blockchain cloud service is directly trying to address those issues. We believe this will help accelerate the maturation of blockchain technology.”

Last but not least, the IBM blockchain on Bluemix gives developers access to the most recent Linux Hyperledger code, which can be applied to various use cases across industries. The company is working hard to not only promote the usability of the blockchain but also making it as accessible as they can to developers all over the world in a convenient manner.

Source: Press Release Via Email

Header image courtesy of TechRepublic