Exclusive: Transforming Healthcare Megatrends with Blockchain Healthcare Specialist
Bringing all level of governments together. The membership of Government Blockchain Association (GBA) ranges from student organizations, private sector professionals and government employees and the GBA serve as a catalyst in building blockchain community with professional chapters, blockchain specialists and nurturing blockchain practitioners.
We are delighted to speak with Gerard Dache, Executive Director of GBA in his blockchain journey, the state of professional chapters for GBA and blockchain specialist courses. In particular, Gerard analyzes the uniqueness of blockchain healthcare specialists and its role in transforming the megatrends in the healthcare industry!
Can you share with us how you tapped into the blockchain industry?
Before joining the GBA, I spent some time in the army, infantry and intelligence for 13 years. I went into government contracting and have been in that space for many years.
Bitcoin first caught my attention when I found out my son bought $2.86 worth of Bitcoin. He held onto it, and paid for a motorcycle, a car, his college tuition and his living expenses. I started seeing that blockchain was really the secret sauce and got my attention. This was happening during mid-2016 while I was living in the Washing DC area. I believed that blockchain will have a huge impact on the government, and there was nothing happening in the government.
At the time, I didn’t know much about blockchain technology and I had very little connections with meetups. We scheduled a meetup in August 2016, and two people showed up. Today we have around 15,000 people in about 100 cities around the world.
Can you share with us the story behind the development of the Government Blockchain Association?
In the initial establishment of GBA, we only had $200,000 of capital to build it. We started contacting people all over the world and recruiting chapter leaders to build our community. GBA grew rapidly in a year’s timeframe and today we have over 90 chapters around the world.
I realized in the beginning that this was a technology, and there were a lot of people interested but there weren’t many projects. I thought that if we could create a space where people could just come, connect, communicate and collaborate. If they’re smart enough to figure things out, they will create projects. We have incredible leaders all over the world now and created a fabric of people around the world who connect around blockchain technology.
What is the mission and vision of the Government Blockchain Association?
We use the term, helping the public and private sector come to connect, communicate, collaborate. Currently, there are a few institutional giants that are doing things in blockchain but there’s a whole ocean of small companies that have a lot of innovation and technology. Smaller companies generally cannot compete with big companies. With the community of GBA, we can connect people from smaller businesses with the government so that the government can find very high quality, innovative blockchain solutions from smaller companies.
Is the GBA a non-profit organization and is it supervised by any regulatory authorities?
We are a non-profit association, and we have chapters all over the world including Washington, Beijing, Moscow, London, Cameroon, Puerto Rico and many others. Our chapters work at the local, state, national and international levels. We’ve had events at the United Nations and our Paris lead had written a blockchain policy for the EU. The GBA communicates with governments at all levels.
There are currently 105 active chapters worldwide, but Hong Kong is not one of them. Does the GBA have any plans to set up professional chapters in Hong Kong?
Initially, we picked locations around the world and we started reaching out to people and recruiting them. Currently, anybody who wants to start a chapter can go to our website, fill out the professional chapter application. The most important thing about being a chapter leader is that they need to be the kind of person who can build a community.
We will connect them with working groups around the world because, in working groups, solutions can be developed globally and sold locally. It is about creating that local community of blockchain experts inside the government and outside the government and connecting them with world-class solution providers in the working groups and all over the world. The chapters get a chance in speaking at conferences and blockchain events, which gives them a lot of credibility and responsibility at the same time.
What are the criteria applicants must meet to become a GBA professional chapter?
I would say that is much more of a function of character than anything, as most people that started at GBA didn’t really know anything about blockchain. They were the kind of people that really want a positive impact and they learned about blockchain by researching on the internet.
Can you share with us the latest blockchain use cases for governments in Africa and South America?
In South America, we noticed that governments are launching blockchain initiatives in trade finance. For Africa, the main use case of blockchain is in the utilities sector, such as energy telecommunications and delivery of basic services using blockchain. Africans are currently exploring the use of blockchain in medicine and pharmaceutical supply, but I haven’t seen that come to fruition yet. The active projects are currently more focused on the area of utilities.
Can you explain how blockchain healthcare specialists can contribute to the megatrends of the healthcare industry?
Blockchain healthcare specialists can apply their knowledge on blockchain in area of finance, administrative processes, billing and supply chain.
From my observation, there are a few pain points in the healthcare industry that can be addressed by blockchain.
1. Counterfeit drugs in pharmaceutical supply chain, especially in Africa, Asia and South America;
2. Accountability of doctors overprescribing opioids, in one of the states in the United States
3. False data collected during clinical trials
In addition, I believe blockchain can be applied on various public health issues and genomics. There can be endless use cases with blockchain on healthcare.
Can you also share with us some blockchain initiatives of governments in the healthcare industry?
I can share an example of the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) which is working on public health. The data from public health institutions do not interconnect. The CDC is currently attempting to use blockchain to collect the data from different hospitals, schools and sources. If there is an outbreak of an epidemic, they can quickly identify it and use data analytics, machine learning, and AI to identify a trend in it and essentially address it quickly.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is looking at using blockchain for the supply chain and contract management of healthcare services. What you will find throughout the government is a lot of pilots yet very few large-scale deployments.
What is the future roadmap of GBA?
Anybody in the government can join the GBA for free. Our goal is to have every government employee in every government in the world that is interested in blockchain to become a member of the GBA so that we can fabric across different levels of the government. This will allow for a system where we can bring integrity and transparency to public institutions.