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Hyperledger Releases Sawtooth Healthcare Blockchain Standard

Hyperledger's latest framework, Sawtooth 1.0 will further help organizations develop healthcare blockchain solutions.

healthcare blockchain

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Hyperledger announced the release of its second production-ready blockchain framework, Sawtooth 1.0. This new framework can further help the development of healthcare blockchain technology as blockchain continues to gain popularity.

Sawtooth 1.0 is the second available framework out of five. Hyperledger Fabric 1.0 was released late last year, with the remaining frameworks Burrow, Iroha, and Indy still in development. 

"We’re beyond excited to see not one, but two of Hyperledger’s active projects hit 1.0,” Hyperledger Executive Director Brian Behlendorf said in a statement. "This is a huge testament to the strong collaboration of our growing community - I look forward to seeing even more products and services being powered by Hyperledger Sawtooth later this year.”

Sawtooth 1.0 is an open source distributed ledger technology hosted by the Linux Foundation and offers the following features:

  • On-chain governance – Utilize smart contracts to vote on blockchain configuration settings such as the allowed participants and smart contracts.
  • Advanced transaction execution engine – Process transactions in parallel to accelerate block creation and validation.
  • Support for Ethereum – Run solidity smart contracts and integrate with Ethereum tooling.
  • Dynamic consensus – Upgrade or swap the blockchain consensus protocol on the fly as your network grows, enabling the integration of more scalable algorithms as they are available.
  • Broad language support – Program smart contracts in your preferred language, with support including Go, JavaScript, Python and more.

A community of organizations including Amazon Web Services, Ericsson, Huawei, IBM, Intel Microsoft Azure, and PokitDok support Sawtooth 1.0.

Hyperledger intends to create a blockchain framework that can support individual transactions and make it easier for entities to exchange data within and outside of their organization.

"It is exciting and gratifying to see the Hyperledger Sawtooth team publish their 1.0 release," Hyperledger Technical Steering Committee Chair Christopher Ferris said in a statement. "This release demonstrates that the 'umbrella' strategy, that Hyperledger has adopted, is working well and delivering on the promise of blockchain technologies for the enterprise."

Hyperledger has already made an impact in healthcare with its previously released framework, Fabric 1.0.

Change Healthcare became the first healthcare organization to join Hyperledger and recently released its first healthcare blockchain solution.

Earlier this month Change Healthcare released its blockchain solution for claims management to deliver transparent claim lifecycles. The release aims to introduce blockchain into the healthcare industry and increase trust by enabling greater auditability and traceability. This will also create a more secure and manageable revenue cycle management process.

The solution is currently processing around 550 transactions per second through its blockchain, according to Change Healthcare. The solution can also be scaled up as the company expects its baseline performance to improve as more organizations adopt it.

"With this solution, we've demonstrated that blockchain technology can be effective for high-data volume, high-throughput transaction processing in healthcare," Change Healthcare CTO Aaron Symanski said in a statement. "This expands our opportunities for innovative new products and solutions that leverage blockchain—several of which we have already started to explore."

Change Healthcare is also developing other ways blockchain can be used to benefit healthcare. For example, the organization believes blockchain can give visibility into a patient’s entire healthcare encounter.

"Not only could blockchain technology enable accurate tracking because of its immutability, the ability to make that visible to everyone involved in the encounter opens the door to create a more patient-centric experience and streamline processes, which benefits everyone," said Symanski.

New Hyperledger blockchain frameworks make it possible for healthcare organizations to explore different applications for blockchain solutions.

If Change Healthcare’s claims management blockchain solution is successful, healthcare organizations can begin to develop and apply blockchain to other parts of IT infrastructure such as EHRs and data exchange. Access to different frameworks will help organization discover the best way to build these healthcare blockchain solutions.

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