IBM and VetBloom form veterinary learning credential blockchainIBM will collaborate with VetBloom, the digital learning ecosystem from Ethos Veterinary Health, to form a group focused on the application of blockchain for learning credentials in the veterinary industry. The goal is to create a framework for competency-based medical education using digital badges to support professional credentials.

Patrick Welch, DVM, MBA, DACVO, Chief Knowledge Officer of Ethos Veterinary Health and Founder of VetBloom
Patrick Welch, DVM, MBA, DACVO, Chief Knowledge Officer of Ethos Veterinary Health and Founder of VetBloom

We have worked diligently with IBM over the last year to bring key industry stakeholders into this initiative, creating a veterinary ecosystem that will join IBM’s broader work around learning credentials and blockchain,” said Patrick Welch, DVM, MBA, DACVO, Chief Knowledge Officer of Ethos Veterinary Health and Founder of VetBloom.

Blockchain is a team sport, and the only way this initiative will succeed is through collaboration with likeminded entities in the veterinary space.

Industry changes

As is happening in the overall educational market, the veterinary industry is seeing similar macro-educational shifts to micro-credentialing and competency-based learning. Skills-based credentials allow hospitals to improve the management of labour stratification, scheduling efficiency and recruiting needs. To address these:

  • accredited Colleges of Veterinary Medicine in the US have developed new competency-based learning frameworks
  • larger private hospital groups are exploring skills-based credentials that lead to data aggregation and competency mapping.

Based on its analysis of these needs, the VetBloom group will join a broader consortium of leading academic and professional organisations to apply blockchain technologies to support these learning credentials. While still in early development, learning credentials on a blockchain will use IBM technology to produce a permanent and verifiable record of learning for skills certifications.

The effect should be that:

  • job applicants will be able seamlessly to connect with companies
  • employers will be able reliably to identify verified skills among applicants for available posts.

Participants in VetBloom

Initial collaborators exploring the concept include:

  • the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC)
  • the International Council for Veterinary Assessment (ICVA)
  • the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA).

The participants say they hope that others will join in the coming weeks.

Alex Kaplan, IBM's Global Leader, Blockchain and AI for Credentials
Alex Kaplan, IBM’s Global Leader, Blockchain and AI for Credentials

It has been incredibly rewarding to work with VetBloom and the other collaborating entities in the veterinary learning space over the past year,” said Alex Kaplan, IBM’s Global Leader, Blockchain and AI for Credentials.

IBM sees tremendous potential for the learning credential blockchain to support competency-based learning and digital credentials in veterinary education, and we look forward to continuing our work together in 2020.

The blockchain application

Blockchain will address the challenge of competency-based learning by creating tamper-evident, digital credentials stored on a distributed blockchain network. This will make it significantly easier for:

  • employers to identify promising candidates
  • academic institutions to manage the huge increase in demand for learning credentials
  • jobseekers to improve their education levels and obtain provable online certification(s).

VetBloom has already built a minimum viable product. It is currently working to develop its second iteration.

Moving forward into 2020, the group’s primary goals will be:

  • scaling the network by signing on additional participants
  • fine-tuning an equitable governance structure.

The cloud-based IBM Blockchain Platform should deliver the end-to-end capabilities that VetBloom will need to activate and successfully develop, operate, govern and secure its vetinerary-specific business network. IBM is an early member of Hyperledger, an open source collaborative effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies.

Enterprise Times: what does this mean

VetBloom is a learning ecosystem featuring the expertise of veterinary professionals along with cutting-edge, online instruction. Team members learn through direct and/or virtual instruction, interactive case-based scenarios and 3D simulations. In effect, VetBloom enables veterinary professionals to advance their skills from anywhere in the world.

This VetBloom development is a logical step forwards for improving potential employee/employer interactions. As described elsewhere in Enterprise Times (IBM/Sony, University of Melbourne, SAP’s TrueRec) it is not original. The focus, however, on a specific profession (rather than educational institution) may increase its attractions.


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