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New Hyperledger Project Fuels Healthcare Blockchain Development

Hyperledger's latest open source project further supports the interest organizations have in healthcare blockchain.

healthcare blockchain

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Hyperledger announced its latest project, Hyperledger Quilt, offering another potential framework for organizations to develop their healthcare blockchain solution.

Quilt is an implementation of the Interledger protocol (ILP), which makes transactions across ledgers. ILP is primarily a payment protocol and routs shared data across different digital ledgers. It also isolates senders and receivers, protecting them from centralized transaction failure.

The new project is being developed in the open source community, transfering value to both distributed and non-distributed ledgers. It is designed to widely identify accounts and simultaneously complete transactions from all parties involved.

Quilt will be a ledger interoperability system for Hyperledger projects. Regardless of the Hyperledger framework an organization builds its blockchain solution on, it will be able to connect compatibly and complete transactions.

Quilt includes:

  • A set of rules for enabling ledger interoperability with basic escrow semantics
  • A standard for a ledger-independent address format and data packet format that will enable connectors to route payments
  • A framework for designing higher level use-case-specific protocols

“Internet protocols enable information to be packetized, routed and delivered over communication networks,” Hyperledger said in an official statement. “With ILP, money and other forms of value can be packetized, routed and delivered over payment networks and ledgers.”

“Hyperledger Quilt is an enterprise grade implementation of the protocol, developed in Java, and providing libraries and reference implementations of the core Interledger components and in time ledger integrations for other Hyperledger projects.”

Other recent Hyperledger projects that could impact healthcare blockchain include Hyperledger Fabric, which recently released its 1.0 framework.

The Hyperledger Fabric framework leverages container technology to host smart contracts called “chaincode” that make up the system’s application logic.

Hyperledger Fabric was one of eight incubated blockchain projects from the collaboration and the first to enter active status back in March.

"Hyperledger Fabric 1.0 is a true milestone for our community," Hyperledger Executive Director Brian Behlendorf said in a statement.  "After over a year of public collaboration, testing, and validation in the form of POCs and pilots, consumers and vendors of technology based on Hyperledger Fabric can now advance to production deployment and operations."

Healthcare blockchain took a leap forward after the release of Hyperledger Fabric 1.0. Last month, Change Healthcare announced the launch of its first healthcare blockchain solution Change Healthcare Intelligent Healthcare Network using Hyperledger Fabric 1.0.

“We are excited to work alongside our customers and partners to make blockchain real in healthcare,” Change Healthcare CEO Neil de Crescenzo said in a statement.

“As today’s healthcare system becomes more value-based, it’s essential that we aggressively and pervasively introduce new technologies into healthcare at scale—whether they leverage blockchain, artificial intelligence, or other emerging capabilities with the potential to improve outcomes and efficiencies,” he continued. “We are initially introducing blockchain technology to create a distributed ledger that makes claims processing and secure payment transactions work more efficiently and cost effectively for all healthcare stakeholders.”

The solution will use Hyperledger Fabric 1.0 framework for its application design and development. Change Healthcare will also continue to contribute code back to the open source community so other healthcare organizations can improve their blockchain applications.

Hyperledger’s open source frameworks are giving healthcare technology vendors and providers the opportunity to develop a blockchain solution that fit their unique needs. The open source format gives healthcare organizations the benefit of contributing their successes to the source code to improve blockchain in the healthcare space.

Contributing to the open source community gives other organizations a solid foundation to build their own solution on, potentially speeding up the adoption of blockchain in healthcare.