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The Promise of Blockchain in Healthcare
Episode 377

John Bass, Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Hashed Health

The Promise of Blockchain in Healthcare

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The Promise of Blockchain in Healthcare

Episode 377

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Platform Revolution

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The Promise of Blockchain in Healthcare with John Bass, Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Hashed Health | Convert audio-to-text with Sonix

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Saul Marquez:
Welcome back to the podcast. Today I have the privilege of hosting John Bass. He's a founder and Chief Executive Officer at Hashed Health. A healthcare blockchain innovation firm focused on building the new digital infrastructure for health care. John has over 20 years of experience in health care technology with expertise in shared operating systems that build trust, transparency and incentives across health value chains. In 2015, John has been a leading voice in the development of the Global Health Care block chain market had hashed health. John's team focuses on community development, enterprise services and block chain solutions development. John is an internationally recognized speaker and value-based care, block chain and decentralized health technology. Prior to that, John was CEO at InVivoLink of Care Management startup which sold to HCA in 2015. His experience is broad and I'm excited to dive into some of the things that he's accomplished as well as some of his his ideas around blockchain, the implementation of it, understanding it and inevitably what you could take out of it. So John I just want to welcome you to the podcast. Thanks for being with us.

John Bass:
Yeah. Thank you, Saul. I appreciate you having me on your show.

Saul Marquez:
Absolutely. Now tell me what got you into health care?

John Bass:
Well I actually was planning on going to medical school. Yeah and I was at the University Chapel North Carolina Chapel Hill and came back to Nashville and wanted to do a year at Vanderbilt Medical Center to kind of get to know the what it was like to be in the field and this was in the mid 90s. So I was kind of the whole dot com thing was kicking off and I got pulled into some interesting technical work and research at Vanderbilt and it just the world of going to the dot.com world kind of lit up my brain and I was fortunate to join a startup back in the late 90s that was focused on creating one of the first B2B platforms in healthcare. So I chose that path and I've been kind of on the healthcare technology train ever since.

Saul Marquez:
Wow so cool neat that it took that wine. And then you've stayed on it since so So you've been at it for a while, John in various capacities ultimately in technologies in your DNA. What do you think a hot topic that needs to be on. Health leaders agendas today and how are you guys tackling it at Hashed health?

John Bass:
Well I mean I think the main thing that concerns me and a lot of people is just the the cost of care in the US and the unsustainability of it. And we've kind of been trying to tackle that for a while. That's not a new topic right. We're approaching 20 percent of GDP and we've been saying that for a while and I know a lot of people other people have as well.

Saul Marquez:
You know, I got my birthday recently and I got a gift from my brother and it was one of those New York Times puzzles where they they give you the front page of The New York Times on your birthday and smack dab in the middle: Rising health care costs.

John Bass:
Things like.

Saul Marquez:
Oh my gosh like.

John Bass:
This is not a new thing.

Saul Marquez:
Not at all. I don't want to interrupt you. But that came to mind.

John Bass:
No you're exactly right. And so it's like a car speeding towards a chasm and in the US we tend to only react when things become a crisis. And so there is a crisis coming at some point and more and more of these costs are being borne by patients and by employers and ultimately by Medicare and Medicaid. And at some point that has to stop. And you know I think a lot of the reasons for that are systemic in nature. There's a you know depending on what value chain and health care you think about which one you live in whether it's medical records or the farm a value chain or the supply chains from that surge brought or the claims lifecycle that you've got these trust in transparency and incentive alignment issues that drive tremendous administrative burden and drive a lot of irrationality you know, buy and sell health care services and products. So what I and a lot of people I know think about a lot is how do we get from here where we are today to a more sustainable way of delivering care and in wellness and keeping people well. Right. That looks fundamentally different than the way things look today. And what is it so you can imagine that. But then how do you plan a path from here to there. And so I think those are kind of the themes that kind of sit underneath all the things that we're doing Hashed with this incredible new technology block chain and distribute ledger technologies that allow you to start to take a fresh look at the relationship between commerce and care and all of the underlying systems that help us deliver that to the public so I think those are those are some of the things that we think about here now.

Saul Marquez:
Super super on point John, and you're right. This can't go on forever. And so love that you guys are working on the solution. Maybe you could dive into some examples of how you and your team are working on it and some results you've created early on.

John Bass:
Yeah. So I think you know we've been in the blockchain space for going on three years now. So we were the first to market. So we've we've learned a lot. And honestly we've failed a lot. You know we've tried things and over the years we've worked with a lot of companies a lot of different projects and we've tried a lot of different protocols and technical solutions and tried different business models and we've tried convening different networks and so we've learned a lot about the technical and non-technical characteristics that blockchain and distribute ledger technologies can address today and which ones are going to take us a while to address. So you know we've worked on everything from medical records on the block chain to supply chain track and trace to master data management to payment channels to physician identity and patient identity. And we've done all of that work on a variety of different technical solutions trying to build new innovative business models around those technical solutions and we've we've done a lot of that work with a lot of the world's leading organizations pharma companies insurance companies federal and state ordered organizations, non-profits, and other technology vendors. So we'd like to consider ourselves fast learners and we'd like to try things and fail and learn from those experiences and try again. And so over the last several years we've learned about certain design patterns that we feel are emerging in the market today where the technology checks all the boxes. We've got a reason for the technology. We've got a new business model that is born out of the use of the technology. And it's a business model that's much, much better than anything that exists today we think and we've got a bunch of healthcare enterprises that Haas signed up and saying yes I want to be a part of that collaborative, that solution coming to market and a lot of times these are companies that are traditionally competitive with each other. And so it's really an interesting space. And more specifically the two design patterns the two products that we are really excited about in 2019 that are coming to life as we speak are ProCredEx which is a new business model around physician credentialing and a product called Signal stream which is all about kind of shared business process automation. So multi party business process automation and multi party kind of workflows and contract adjudication which you know you can think of in terms of things like value based contracts for drugs or specialty pharma a new reimbursement rail for things like carty therapy and other expenses gene therapy and other types of specialty farm assets supply chain contracting and other contract vehicles that are new but very complex administratively burdensome and don't currently scale very well. So those are a couple of the specific use cases where we've tried it over the years and now we've kind of figured it out. We've got the technical model now and we've got the business model down and now we've got a bunch of companies who are excited to use these products so those are all the boxes that we've checked and we're now taking those things to market.

Saul Marquez:
Super interesting John. Your aptitude to just get out there and try all things impresses me. It's definitely not an easy task that you and your team took on. Guys have narrowed it down to some very specific use cases and business models and so can you dive into one or two things that you guys have done within those use cases?

John Bass:
Yeah I mean you know right now these are things are still proving themselves so there isn't a whole lot out there in the blockchain space that has a lot of data around it that says here's the value delivered now I think 2019 is the year where Hashed ProCredEx, signal stream at Hashed and then a couple other groups out there will start to really be able to show data that we have solved an old problem in a new way. Yeah and we've been able to bring together a really important community of enterprises around that solution. So you notice that we're talking all about going to be to be infrastructure here. We're not talking about things that touch the consumer. We're not talking about decentralization which is going to let a lot of people think overnight watching. These are mostly consortium blockchain solutions built on top of distributed ledger technologies that have some elements of privacy and confidentiality and centralization in order to optimize for the problems that need to be solved. So we're not solving for cryptocurrency problem.

Saul Marquez:
Right.

John Bass:
We're solving for value chain. Trust transparency confidentiality through those types of things. So I think the most important. So what's happening in 20 90 and that's different from what's happened previously is that you're starting to see big named organizations joining these products. And so for example for ProCredEx, our credentialing platform which really kind of looks like a data market for credentialing artifacts verified credentialing artifacts you've got WellCare and you've got spectrum and you've got Texas Hospital Association, you've got health linked dimensions, you've got anthems NGS, national government services, a bunch of really reputable big names that we're very proud to have as partners in our go to market strategy. And that list is growing all the time. So again that project and other projects like it have a solution, have an innovative business model and now have a growing list of brand name network business partners who are all saying, yeah we're going to help change the world through this product and start doing things differently. And that's the beginning of this incremental change that I think is going to unfold over the next five or 10 years and I think every year as these business models and technical models mature I think we're going to unlock more and more use cases. So these these companies that are coming together around these initial solutions, if successful and I think many of them will be, will start to be able to iterate and add value and grow that network and tackle more and more things. So I think 2019 is a real tipping point in terms of the technology and its maturity and its ability to kind of solve these problems.

Saul Marquez:
Fascinating. Yeah it's interesting you know I mean our world when you could use these technologies to take care of the the cumbersome highly technical or complex items. Folks what are the key things that John mentioned is is the fact that this isn't about decentralization. The common misconception is like the cryptocurrency, bitcoin type thing. What John and his team are working on here is real world business problems as he said a value chain, trust, confidentiality issues, contract execution – things of that sort. So the challenge for you is to think about this more broadly about how can blockchain help you with some of these items. I fear curiosity is piqued. You'll definitely have to check out their website hashedhealth.com to learn more about what they're up to. So definitely highly recommend you doing that. John you said you guys went through a lot. You failed a lot. And so if you had to think of one thing one. One set back that was like wow this was the setback that helped us get to where we are today. Which one was that?

John Bass:
Well I think this is a first use case that I think became kind of a low hanging fruit basket. There was critics with our credentialing solution and the first version of that product was that we built was in twenty sixteen. We demoed it at the 2017 conference. We were I think the first healthcare blotchy demo out there and it was around directories and it was going to aimed at the payer community and we built it on a very early version of a protocol called fabric and we the business model wasn't very thoughtful and it just it was a demonstration that just didn't go anywhere. But we learned a lot through that. We learned about what that specific protocol that could and could not do. We learned a lot about working with certain technology vendors around that protocol. And we learned about that we learned. We got a lot of valuable feedback from the payer community on what they liked and didn't like about that product that we built. And so we iterated again with the state of Illinois on interstate medical licensure reciprocity project and it was on a different protocol that was a little bit better. It was a using a different slightly different business model. And again it has not been a scale for a variety of reasons. And so we stepped back and said here's what we like and here's what we didn't like. And then we land on ProCredEx which is very specifically we feel really good about the reason for the tech. In terms of the provenance of the. And we feel really good about this really innovative business model that no one allows you to solve the credentialing problem as a hospital. That's a huge revenue cycle issue for how long it takes to create physicians to a point where they can treat patients and be paid for that treatment. But also one of the really cool things about it is that you can as a hospital or health system or anyone who has these verified credentials you can start to create value for your organization by offering those credentials to other parties and it's non confidential data. It's non sensitive data. It's non-competitive data. It's currently a cost center sitting idle in a database and so by creating value for yourself and offering that information out to others is a business model the world's never seen before. That has the potential to add value and new ways to health systems and others. And so it took us a while of iterating to get there. You can call it failures. You can call it just being good learners but it took us a year and a half to figure it out. But at this point we have launched ProCredEx. It's it's a new company that we've spun out of hashed stuff. It is it's really taking off quickly. So it's you know it's me that's probably a series of learnings over the last few years that have led us to probably what I think is the first real good use case for the technology in healthcare.

Saul Marquez:
Super cool. Now do you have any examples of timelines for instance with ProCredEx and the traditional wrap?

John Bass:
Yeah. But both signals came in through critics are both being piloted this year. So this is the year where those pilots are designed to.

Saul Marquez:
Get the data.

John Bass:
To get the data into prove the value and prove that we can solve these old problems and new ways.

Saul Marquez:
Man that's super exciting.

John Bass:
Yeah yeah. So 2019 is a really big year for us in the health care community and I think it's it feels a lot like 2019 and 2000 – 2001 in the dot.com stuff. To me it's all about bringing together networks around this new technology and convincing people that if you work together in a slightly new way there's a lot of value on every side of the table.

Saul Marquez:
Super super interesting John appreciate you walking us through that and we'll definitely have to stay in touch. You know the beginning of 2020 to hear how everything went.

John Bass:
I love that.

Saul Marquez:
Me too and I know the listeners will too. So you've done a lot. You were sort of at this debut moment of the company and the companies that you've spun off from Hashed health. What's one of your proudest experiences that you've had to date?

John Bass:
What I really am honored and humbled by IS are the partners that we have. I mean the companies that I've mentioned on this call and others we are at the forefront of this technology and health care and the conversations we have with these big pharma companies and federal and state organizations and technology vendors and health systems and insurance companies that represent a possible kind of incremental solutions towards this really big what I consider a crisis in our country and our society and I just take a lot of pleasure in a lot of pride every day and being able to work with such amazing people really really smart thoughtful people who are trying to do the right thing and trying to understand how we can use this technology to make the world of delivering care more sustainable. So you know I just feel like that's an honor and I just can't tell you I love what we're doing and I love the essential for the company.

Saul Marquez:
That's wonderful, John and congratulations, it's a big accomplishment for sure. So I definitely want to acknowledge you for that.

John Bass:
Thank you.

Saul Marquez:
So getting close to the end of the interview here John let's pretend you and I are building a short syllabus for the listeners a summary on the best on blockchain and healthcare. So I've got a couple of questions for you. Lightning round style. I'll ask them and you'll answer briefly.

John Bass:
Okay

Saul Marquez:
And then we'll leave that with a favorite book you recommend to the listeners. You ready?

John Bass:
Yeah.

Saul Marquez:
All right. What's the best way to improve health outcomes?

John Bass:
Collaboration and value. Yeah it's a collaboration and value based care delivery.

Saul Marquez:
What's the biggest mistake or a pitfall to avoid?

John Bass:
Pretending like the convergence of these technologies block Gene iota machine learning A.I. are not going to affect your business.

Saul Marquez:
How do you stay relevant as an organization despite constant change?

John Bass:
Learn quickly and socialize those learnings to the appropriate community.

Saul Marquez:
What's one area of focus that drives everything in your organization, John?

John Bass:
I'd say that learning mindset is kind of the driver for our ability to be creative and thoughtful and just having a lot of experience people in the healthcare space that can apply those learnings and apply this new technology to these big problems that we all face.

Saul Marquez:
And these next two are a little more on a personal note. What is your number one health habit?

John Bass:
Oh man. For me it's exercise, in my family. I think my family makes me healthier. My wife is definitely makes me a healthier person.

Saul Marquez:
I love it man. That's awesome. And what is your number one success habit?

John Bass:
I got rid of my TV. You got rid of it. I've tried to not to do any media business on then requires me to be creative and thoughtful and so I try to avoid all distractions. I don't do Facebook. I don't do social media. Decent linkedin but it's all kind of business related.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah.

John Bass:
Twitter is business related. So a chat is focused on family and work and exercise. And so you know I feel like distractions make me dream about things that aren't productive, process information that doesn't help me accomplish my goals.

Saul Marquez:
I love it man. I'd get rid of my TV but my son likes his cartoons. That's my…

John Bass:
Having three girls it's not easy to not have screens amounts but I do.

Saul Marquez:
That's good man now. Good for you. Your focus is definitely evident in the progress you guys have made. What book would you recommend to the listeners?

John Bass:
You know the one I can go back to a lot is Platform Revolution. It was originally done in 2016 and it's just an amazing kind of book around kind of two sided markets that are revolutionizing a lot of different industries and setting platform of evolution is probably the book I go back to more than anyone else.

Saul Marquez:
Great recommendation. I just had some folks from Mayo on and and they recommended that one.

John Bass:
Oh yeah.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah yeah good right. It's like all right. Both this week I got to get on it.

John Bass:
It's a good one.

Saul Marquez:
John. Thanks for the recommendation listeners for the entire transcript of today's talk with John Bass from Hashed health, you can go to outcomes rocket that health search. John Bass or type in Hashed health in the search bar and this entire episode will come up with the full transcript and also the shortened syllabus that we've created for you. John this has been awesome, I'd love if you could just leave us with the closing thought and then the best place where the listeners could get in touch with you or follow your work.

John Bass:
Yeah I mean there's a lot of resources out there to learn about the tech you know this market still very much developing and the more people kind of learning about what it can and can't do for health care delivery the more ideas and the faster we will get some of these great ideas into production. And so I'm just thinking you know part of our goal asked is to socialize this information and to get people thinking about it and get people participating in it and get people believing in it and all of that will will help us make it meaningful faster and hopefully make health care delivery more sustainable. So yeah like you said feel free to reach out to us on our website or on Twitter at hashedhealth or on LinkedIn. And thank you for having me on. I really appreciate it.

Saul Marquez:
Absolutely John. Thank you for carving out time for us and you've definitely succeeded in in raising awareness on this topic given an understanding of the listeners about where it's at and where it's going so big thanks to you for doing that for us.

John Bass:
Yeah. Thank you.

Thanks for listening to the Outcomes Rocket podcast. Be sure to visit us on the web at www.outcomesrocket.com for the show notes, resources, inspiration and so much more.

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