Federation Of State Medical Boards Launches Blockchain Credential Pilot

Announcements, Blockchain, Education | November 7, 2017 By:

The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) has conducted a pilot project focused on issuing official documents to the blockchain.

FSMB is a national non-profit organization that represents the 70 state medical and osteopathic boards of the United States and its territories and co-sponsors the US Medical Licensing Examination. Medical boards license physicians, investigate complaints, discipline those who violate the law, conduct physician evaluations and facilitate the rehabilitation of physicians where appropriate. FSMB’s mission calls for “continual improvement in the quality, safety and integrity of health care through the development and promotion of high standards for physician licensure and practice.”

During the pilot, FSMB issued sample verifications of undergraduate and graduate medical education credentials using Blockcerts, an enterprise platform that simplifies anchoring official records to the blockchain. Blockcerts is a result of partnership between MIT and Cambridge, MA-based software company Learning Machine, which was first introduced in 2016. The open source application can be used for academic purposes, as well as professional workforce credentialing. One of the key benefits of Blockcerts is that a recipient owns their credentials and that they will be available to be verified by third parties even if an issuing institution or vendor ceases to operate.

Learning Machine explained that verification of medical education has relied upon the maintenance of physician profiles by credential verification organizations such as the FSMB. These profiles are then shared with third parties, such as hospitals and state medical boards upon request, and are often maintained in a redundant manner.

By using blockchain, physicians and other practitioners will be able to maintain their own private profiles of medical competency, which they can share as they see fit. Learning Machine said Blockcerts allows professionals to hold and share their records using a credential wallet, a free mobile app. The Blockcerts wallet serves as a user-owned repository or records that no vendor or issuing institution can access. The wallet seamlessly manages the user’s public and private blockchain addresses so that the process of owning one’s digital assets is radically simplified.

FSMB CIO Michael Dugan said that verification of medical education and related credentials is a critically important endeavor.

“We are hopeful that the continued success of this pilot may provide the level of certainty needed to implement blockchain technologies in the medical licensing and credentialing process,” said Dugan.

Last month, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) also started issuing digital diplomas using Blockcerts. The digital diplomas were rolled out over the summer and offered to 111 students as part of a pilot program.