Blockchain Consortium Governance

When health organizations are looking to become part of a blockchain-based solution, they often looking to join a group of networked entities that may be using, operating or maintaining the solution. The healthcare space has very specific characteristics that need to be addressed by the network of participants to ensure compliance and safety. Since the solutions depend on not one entity controlling the solution but a network of entities, a robust governance model needs to be developed, managed and maintained. The creation of a consortium to support the governance can be a solution.

When looking to join the best-aligned consortium to tailor to your organizations’ needs in blockchain adoption, it is important to understand the type of governance involved, the flexibility to participate in multiple networks and ease of pilot formation. The information below, as well as throughout this library, addresses considerations when developing or joining a consortium.

Data Stewardship

Governance is accomplished at several levels, making it a common thread to data management. Data stewardship is responsible for the management of data assets at the organization or enterprise and is integral to governance structures. DAMA’s Data Management Body of Knowledge provides a framework for governing data - an enterprise and organizational asset, and is used as an industry standard when developing governance models. Blockchain technology and its associated applications will want to follow and influence these international standard bodies, to modernize and make contemporary new models for reducing vulnerabilities and improving safe, secure data management practices in this decentralized environment.

Establishing Trust

Governance structures like information privacy, data security, and individual consent are central to building necessary trust fabrics that cross organizational boundaries. Information privacy addresses the conditions under which data is kept confidential, while data security provides the technical, physical and administrative safeguards necessary to protect data and information assets. Individual consent is the preference(s) that a person holds for how their PHI is collected, stored, used, aggregated or shared. Together, these three constructs form the framework upon which trust is built in a networked environment. Blockchain can mediate many of the complexities that are inherent to healthcare by improving transparency and building in controls that allow consumers and users of the system more reliable monitoring, tracking and security features.

Today, interoperability across organizational boundaries is difficult to maneuver. Data use agreements and organizational participant legal agreements are typically adopted if there is a centralized, neutral and trusted entity that is facilitating data sharing. A common example of these agreements is the Data Use Reciprocal Sharing Agreements (DURSA). However, the maintenance of such agreements creates increased administrative burden and legal costs. Blockchain’s smart contracts may assist in mediating this issue. As data governance models are developed in the area of blockchain architecture, there likely will be new use cases that can directly support the legal agreement framework that currently underpins the fabric of trust.


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