Blockchain Solution Proposals Sought By Department of Veterans Affairs

Blockchain | January 19, 2018 By:

The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is seeking proposals on how blockchain technology can help improve its operations.

The VA is a federal cabinet-level agency that provides near-comprehensive healthcare services to eligible military veterans at VA medical centers and outpatient clinics located throughout the country. It offers several non-healthcare benefits, including disability compensation, vocational rehabilitation, education assistance, home loans, and life insurance. It also provides burial and memorial benefits to eligible veterans and family members at 135 national cemeteries.

During the AFCEA Bethesda’s 10th Annual Health IT Day, VA chief technology officer Charles Worthington said the agency’s approach to blockchain is to take a step back and look at the problem the department wants to solve.

“We really would be looking to industry to surface use cases for us,” said Worthington. “I think we’re going to be coming to industry with the problems we have, and if you think blockchain is an appropriate solution, bring it to us.”

VA’s main problems are inter-operability and the sharing of health information between entities. Worthington said he is not overly optimistic about blockchain’s ability to solve these issues, but they are open to suggestions.

“We’re really looking to industry for the best ideas, and trying to be nimble enough to take advantage of those as this market evolves,” Worthington said.

Worthington added that a strong use case for blockchain is a situation where there is low trust between participating entities but a need to share information. However, there aren’t many use cases like that at the agency.

Even if the agency doesn’t adopt blockchain, Worthington believes its concepts and underlying technologies can be used in other ways. “The end solution could just look a lot like the solution we have today, assembled in a novel way that we were encouraged to think of because of blockchain,” he said.