Block Chain Technology and the Potential for Its Use in Health IT and/or Healthcare Related Research Data.

Questions and Answers

Q. What are you announcing today?

A. We are announcing the Use of Blockchain in Health IT and Health-related Research Challenge.  This is an ideation challenge that aims to incentivize participants to develop a white paper on the topic of Blockchain Technology and the potential use in Health IT to address privacy, security and scalability challenges of managing electronic health record and resources.

Q. What is the Use of Blockchain in Health IT and Health-related expected to accomplish?

This ideation Challenge will ask participants to determine whether there is a place in Health IT and/or Healthcare related Research for Blockchain technology and its value to the health-care system. Participants will identify potential gaps in standards created and/or resolved by the use of Blockchain, and examine how Blockchain links to the stated objectives in the Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap, PCOR, precision medicine and other national health care delivery priorities.

We also expect these papers to stimulate and help shape the focus of the upcoming “Blockchain & Healthcare Workshop” co-hosted by NIST and ONC; all winning submissions will be included as part of the workshop’s proceedings. 

Q. Are these grant award programs?

A. The Use of Blockchain in Health IT and Health-related Research Challenge is not a grant.  It is a prize competition run under the authority of the America COMPETES Act, which enables ONC to invest in innovation through research and development.  Challenges are a way for HHS employees to draw on external talent and ideas to solve critical problems.

Q. Who do you expect will submit proposals for the Challenge?

A. We expect start-ups, open source developers, health information technology professionals, health care organizations, and academics to submit proposals. Participants may apply independently or as a team with others that have appropriate expertise related to Challenge.

Q. When are submissions due?

A. The White Paper submissions period opens on Thursday, July 7th. White papers are due no later than August 8th. For more information about submitting a proposal you can visit and search for the Use of Blockchain in Health IT and Health-related Research.

Q. What is the amount of prize money available for this challenge?

A. The Use of Blockchain in Health IT and Health-related Research Challenge winners will be rewarded with a monetary prize between $1,500- $5,000 . Up to 8 winners may be invited to participate in the upcoming “Blockchain in Healthcare” Workshop.

Q. When will you announce the final awardees?

A. Winners of this challenge will be notified on August 22, we will publicly announce the winners on August 29th on

Q. What do we know about the use of Blockchain in Healthcare?

A. Very little beyond a number of blogs, tweets and articles in which cited health IT experts are siding strongly for or against it use. We are using this Ideation challenge as a means to provide more context and substance to the hype. A few examples of actual work in this area are:

  • Government of Estonia – partnering with Guardtime (Estonian founded Amsterdam based company) to integrate KSI blockchain with existing Oracle databases to provide increased security and auditing of changes to patient health records
  • Phillips Healthcare has created a dedicated environment where Philips focused on research and exploration of potential use cases using cryptographic based innovation such as blockchain
  • MIT Enigma project: use of blockchain for consumers/patients to store health information and selectively share for research use.

Q. Will a blockchain solution that does not address patient health data be eligible for this solicitation?

A. Our solution, uses “IT for health”.  It does relate to “health-related use cases.” We do nothing with patient data.  We use IT data from manufacturers, distributors, and dispensers.

B. The goal of this Ideation Challenge is to solicit White Papers that investigate the relationship between Blockchain technology and its use in Health IT and/or Health Related research. The paper should discuss the cryptography and underlying fundamentals of Blockchain technology, examine how the use of Blockchain can advance industry interoperability needs expressed in the ONC’s Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap, as well as for Patient Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR), the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI), delivery system reform, and other health care delivery needs, as well as provide recommendations for Blockchain’s implementation.

Q: What is the format for the White Paper?

A: PDF and Word are acceptable; 12 point font and single spaced; 10 point font for tables/graphs


Blockchain Challenge Webinar

Block Chain Challenge Logo
ONC Logo

Use of Blockchain for Healthcare and Research workshop
September 26-27, 2016

National Institute of Standards Technology (NIST) Headquarters
100 Bureau Drive
Gaithersburg, Md. 20899

Workshop Agenda

Topics to include:

  • Capabilities
  • Distributed Consensus
  • Cryptography
  • Limitations
  • Interoperability Concerns
  • Alternative Technologies
  • Use Cases & Implementations

Registration will open on Thursday, July 21st

Contact Information

Contact [email protected] for questions