Lunch Seminar with Prof. Ana Santos Rutschman – University of Copenhagen

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Lunch Seminar with Prof. Ana Santos Rutschman

Topic: Healthcare Blockchain Infrastructure: A U.S. Case Study.


Blockchain has been hailed as one the most disruptive technologies of the early 21st century. One of the areas of immediate application is healthcare, where different types of blockchain are already being deployed across the world. In 2018, a noteworthy consortium of U.S. healthcare organizations launched a pilot project to apply blockchain technology to healthcare provider data. The consortium members are among the most prominent players in the field: UnitedHealthcare and Optum are part of UnitedHealthcare Group, the largest health insurance company in the US, currently ranked 5th on the Fortune 500 list; Humana is the fifth largest American insurer; Quest Diagnostics is a national medical lab used by roughly a third of adult Americans; and MultiPlan processes insurance claims for large health insurance companies, having a network of over 900,000 healthcare providers.

This paper uses the consortium case study as a lens through which to understand emerging efforts to create healthcare blockchain infrastructure(s) in the U.S.. The paper posits that the breadth of the consortium, and especially the fact that it includes direct competitors (United and Humana), signals a shift from ad hoc initiatives to industry-wide approaches to the development of healthcare blockchain. At a broader level, the paper contrasts the private consortium model with ongoing efforts to build healthcare blockchain infrastructure at the national level, including recent initiatives by the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Using analytical tools from both infrastructure and clustering theories of innovation, the paper analyzes the advantages and drawbacks of the

U.S. experience, with an emphasis on the implications of this model—the layering of private and federally sponsored consortia—on three main areas: precision medicine, epidemiology and telemedicine.


Please register no later than the 29 April 2019 at 24:00 using this registration form


Ana Santos Rutschman teaches intellectual property, health law and innovation in the life sciences law and policy at Saint Louis University School of Law. She is a researcher at the Center for Health Law Studies, which has been ranked first among U.S. health law programs for 14 of the past 15 years.

In 2017, Rutschman was named a Bio IP Scholar by the American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics, and in 2018 she was named a Health Law Scholar by the same institution. In 2019, she was named a Manzo Scholar in Patent Law.

Her academic writing has appeared or is forthcoming in the UCLA Law Review, Arizona Law Review, Yale Law Journal Forum, Duke Law and Technology Review, Miami Business Law Review and Washington University Global Studies Review, among others. Her commentary pieces have been published by Health Affairs blog, The Huffington Post and The Conversation, and reprinted in Scientific American, Newsweek Japan and newspapers around the U.S., including the Chicago Tribune and San Francisco Chronicle.

Rutschman has also worked and written on topics related to blockchain in healthcare, artificial intelligence and e-health. She has spoken on these topics in conferences and panels around the world. In 2015-16, she consulted for the World Health Organization during the development of Ebola and Zika vaccines.

Find out more about Pr. Santos Rutschman research and teaching activities at: