Blockchain Enabled Health Care as a Solution to Pre Existing Health Information Problems
The modern health care industry has made progress when it comes to efficient processing times of a patient’s medical records that are now in the form of electronic health records (EHRs). The industry is powered by the governance of health information exchange systems where a patient’s health information is stored, managed and shared between medical parties. In keeping the process afloat, its supporting system of administration back-office work consisting of medical transcription, billing and processing of patient outcomes are the inherent cost that hospitals and medical institutions must shoulder in order to maintain the current health governance systems, which are found too essential, and firmly planted within the organization.
With Blockchain, a distributed ledger system that stores records and transaction history, the concept of processing a number of block processes in a streamlined chain has a huge potential when it comes to alleviating the costly practices that health care organizations must endure in order to sustain health governance systems. With the current rate of increasing costs of health care and Blockchain’s trajectory of adoption and test cases deployed, the health care industry and its health information challenges are ripe with the disruptive, yet innovative application of Blockchain.
Integrity of EHRs
A patient’s electronic health record is a continuous case of writing, over-writing and reconciliation in parallel to the related findings found on patient outcomes. Today, maintaining EHR in volume cases has its challenges when it comes to integrity, security and the necessary resource required in processing it, where both medical staff and supporting medical information teams are seeing the strain of processing health information on-demand.
Enter Blockchain and its impending paradigm shift that poses the question: “can Blockchain be used to facilitate patient health record sharing without compromising its integrity?” In concept, Blockchain is a transparent process where in this setup, EHR records are stored across a number of repositories that can be audited in a trail. While transparency is encouraged in Blockchain, it does not necessarily mean that EHRs are readily accessible. Under a Blockchain setup and its use case in the platform known as Medicalchain, a patient’s EHR is encrypted and is distributed to only the affiliated doctors, health care providers and clinics that the patient has agreed to share his or her EHR. In this setup, the patient owns their record and when it comes to reading, writing and consolidation of medical records, the EHR does not necessarily over-write records, but stores the written records in a continuous log that can be audited when the need calls for it.
Medical Audit Trail
When it comes to a patient’s history that is stored n scattered medical repositories that could be scattered across medical exchange systems and small clinic patient databases, a full-medical audit will be a very resource consuming task. While a true, centrally-universal health care information exchange is out of the scope, platforms such as health nexus by SimplyVital, are trying to create a health exchange information network based on interoperability that bypasses the challenge of system incompatibility, health bridge information APIs and the costly measure of maintaining a centralized network of medical databases. The platform aims to bring together a diverse range of medical providers that can safely process incoming patient on-boarding processes through a faster and more efficient way of conducting medical audits that is a prerequisite prior to onboarding.
Distribution and Tracking Prescription Drugs
The medically prescribed medicine is a huge factor when it comes to the continuous tracking of patient outcomes in regards to their medical progress. But when reverse-engineering the process of tracking drug, prescription, to supply chain and manufacturer, the participation of the patient, clinic and medical organization are limited to inquiries and consumption. Often, the availability of highly specific medicine in rural areas is also subject for a lengthy network of inquiries. In bringing patients and physicians closer to pharmaceutical companies when it comes to servicing inquiries on prescription medicine, the MediLedger project aims to bring together pharmaceutical companies and enhance their capabilities to track the shipment of prescription medicines and ambitiously, the patient as end-consumers.
The MediLedger project is based on the requirements set by the U.S. Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) as it creates a foundational outline of building an electronic, interoperable system that is designed to track and trace prescription drugs that not only adheres to governing laws, but also to service the needs of the industry. Started in 2017, the MediLedger is a public Blockchain that is an open-source consortium of medical service providers, pharmaceutical companies and medical technology companies.
Despite the modern IT infrastructure and medical information exchange systems facilitating medical administration, the United States health care costs are ranked the highest in the world according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). OECD stated that poor coordination between health care providers, duplication of tasks and doctors spending too much time on paperwork are the huge factors that are contributing to the high cost of spending on health care.
While a Blockchain enabled system will not instantly remedy the situation, its long term aspiration and implementation is what health care providers are starting to evaluate. Blockchain’s self-executing processes and automated block processing, will help reduce the redundant paperwork associated with filing procedures as patient data, for example will be processed in a secure block. This enables real-time processing capabilities much faster compared to the existing lag where human dependent processes are proving too costly and time consuming.
The Transition to Blockchain
The concept of Blockchain is a massive disruption especially in the case of medical information systems that are essentially embedded into the operations and the organization’s core-reliance with the system, makes it harder to come up with a transition strategy.
Organizations must devote resources on the feasibility and successful deployment of the proposed Blockchain system that will benefit not only their operational efficiency, but also preserve the quality of their medical service delivery to patients.
DynaQuest has decades of experience when it comes to being a trusted partner of medical and health care organizations when it comes to managed medical services involving IT, administration, billing and processing of patient outcomes. When we make a case for Blockchain enabled- health care, we thoroughly study the existing operation framework in order to navigate the implementation of Blockchain within the medical organization’s functions through a clear outline of work, scope, process and platforms to deal with. This ensures a smooth transition that is backed with months of training and simulation drill courses in order to prepare our partners for Blockchain.
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