The current state of Electronic Health Records (EHR) information systems in the United States is due for disruption because of the emergence of Blockchain as it is looming to overhaul EHR’s processing capabilities, therefore granting vital health information to be delivered in real-time, with improved accuracy, and are more secured as well as tamper-proof. This is the promise of Blockchain for Healthcare and Health Information Management.
When it comes to a person’s health information record, it is a sensitive set of records where the data must be updated and be accessed by several providers: doctors, clinics, insurers, pharmacies, therapists and hospitals. The challenge here is keeping a person’s medical records up to date as their health progresses with each checkup, procedure and consultation.
Even with the availability of EHR systems, patient records remain scattered, fragmented and susceptible for redundancy and are at risk for not being stored securely.
If we look at the state of Massachusetts alone, MIT reported that there are dozens of EHR systems being employed – all of which are unable to communicate with one another, meaning these EHR systems cannot synchronize a patient’s record for updating measures. These EHR systems also vary in their state of security where others are more vulnerable to hacking.
The promise of Blockchain for Healthcare is curing the age old problem of health information being delivered in a timely manner when doctors or physicians need it. In the patient’s perspective, imagine his or her health records are updated with each succeeding treatment or consultation as physicians are able to update these records and will have access to the always-updated health records of a patient.
With Blockchain, each patient record is encapsulated under a chain of records that is updated over time. These records are encrypted through cryptography and can be read by trusted entities such as health administrators or physicians.
When EHR is given the capability to progressively update and these updates be reflected across the patient’s healthcare providers, diagnosis improves and the overall experience is enhanced due to the time saved from eliminating elaborate information backtracking.
Across healthcare and going further, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is utilizing Blockchain technology to improve their potency to combat outbreaks by being able to disseminate vital information from pathogens and afflicted areas. On the global scale, global clinical trials can collaborate more efficiently by sharing information about diseases.
For pharmaceutical companies, Blockchain reinforces the medical supply chain with the capability to track all manufactured drugs to their site of distribution. This upgraded control on medical logistics is a huge improvement from the current string of relational databases.
The Movers of Blockchain
When it comes to driving technology to reshape the landscape of industries, organizations and companies are often associated with platforms that define a technology’s maturation. For instance, Google has defined search engines, Microsoft has defined the personal computers while Apple redefined consumer electronics.
With Blockchain, the main movers are the consortiums, partnerships and emerging platforms that are defining Blockchain for healthcare based on verifiable use cases. Below are such examples:
Nebula Genomics – pioneering the opportunities around personal genome sequencing based on Blockchain that will be a groundbreaking economy in the near future.
Doc.AI – Is a platform that uses natural language processing as well as artificial intelligence in securing data through Blockchain technology to generate medical insights.
Iryo – Blockchain health information platform that is building an appropriate model for keeping health records unified.
Patientory – is developing a Blockchain-based platform for securing health records for patients, providers and medical institutions.
Medical Records – is a decentralized, Blockchain-based platform to securely store health records and share these records as collaborators with doctors, hospitals, laboratories, pharmacists – if the patient permits these authorized access.
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