Blockchain in Healthcare – The „Future Workshop“ by Jens Spahn

The Federal Ministry of Health is looking for meaningful applications for blockchain technology. Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn launched an ideas competition at the end of October. Participants can still submit their proposals until 10 December on how the new technology can improve the German healthcare system.

One of the most legendary quotes from former chancellor Helmut Schmidt is that those who have visions should go to the doctor. Anyone with visions of how to revolutionise doctor visits can turn to Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU). With an ideas competition, the Federal Ministry of Health is looking for blockchain-based concepts to make the German healthcare system fit for the future. The task is kept very open: „Solutions are sought for applications in the German healthcare system“. As examples of potential areas of application for the blockchain, the Ministry mentions legal and identity management, declarations of consent and the organ and tissue donation register.

Everyone is talking about it – but it is often difficult to find concrete applications, especially beyond Bitcoin code

Spahn said in the announcement video for the ideas competition, in which he calls on (adult) individuals, teams, universities, Bitcoin code start-ups, companies – in short: anyone involved in blockchain technology – to support the Ministry in this search.

Participants can submit their proposals to an independent, interdisciplinary panel of experts by 10 December. The experts will then evaluate the concepts according to their relevance for the German healthcare system, their sustainability, interoperability and data security. The best projects will receive an invitation to the Ministry’s „Future Workshop“ on 27 February 2019. There, the winners of the preselection can present their projects to the panel of experts, which then selects the winners. The winners will receive prize money totalling 30,000 euros. The first prize will be 15,000 euros, the second and third prizes 10,000 and 5,000 euros respectively. The closing date for entries is 10 December 2018.

Sparse details on the Bitcoin code Future Workshop

Further details about the „Zukunftswerkstatt“ are not yet known. „Information will follow“ is the title of the corresponding FAQ under the item „What happens at the Bitcoin code Future Workshop? In June, Spahn was still sceptical about blockchain technology, but recognized the need for action in the area of digitizing the healthcare system. Read more about it: „We have to move faster than before,“ he stated at the Cube Tech Fair in Berlin. There was „a lot of talk and few concrete applications,“ Spahn said at the time. A step towards concrete applications has already been taken with the announcement of the Zukunftswerkstatt. However, it is not without a certain irony if one mocks oneself about the sluggish blockchain adaptation on the one hand and on the other hand does not provide more detailed information about the „Future Workshop“ program even after just one month.