As a physician or administrator, it’s crucial that you keep patient transactions and data easily shareable and totally secure. Blockchain technology may be just the right way for your organization to do it.
In a blockchain system, data is linked in a segmented system that makes for ease of sharing, eliminates the risk of inaccurate data being kept in a patient ledger, and automatically distributes to a set network of recipients, saving communication time, streamlining tasks, and allowing action to be taken concerning pressing matters immediately.
Blockchain technology began life in 2008 but is now truly coming into its own as a complete gamechanger in terms of how it can be applied to the daily healthcare process. What is it, specifically?
According to a study from Hyung Jin Yoon at Seoul National University College of Medicine, blockchain technology distributes info in distinct, ordered blocks that make up a chronological chain, which is then shared with specific members of a network. There is a hash, or digital fingerprint, used with each block to identify and secure all the info within it and timestamped by transaction.
Further securing blockchain contents, Becker Hospital Review reported that the process called “mining” keeps verifying the information in each block, which ensures that a patient’s history is always accurate. The technology stores blocks in a digital file and distributes that file to everyone involved in a patient’s history at the same time — with no communication misfires!
Blockchain is becoming a key component in many companies’ efficiency arsenals. Deloitte reported in its 2019 Global Blockchain Survey that 53% of respondents said that blockchain has become a critical part of how they do business, and 83% see compelling reasons to use the technology to address any number of organizational issues.
Blockchain is currently being used most in healthcare payment applications. However, as it matures further, it is being adapted for virtually every healthcare need, including:
Health plan arrangements: Blockchain can cut the time required to negotiate details in patient plans with individual insurance companies and can empower you to get questions answered fast.
Wellness applications: Putting together wellness strategy campaigns for your staff has never been easier, as data can be reviewed completely and in-depth by your physicians.
Treatment plans: These can be easily shared by specialists and PCPs, cutting down on potential errors with ease.
Overall patient records: One day, blockchain may revolutionize the EHR process, amping up security and, as its security features become even stronger, become an important tool in terms of preventing data breaches.
Read up on blockchain to determine whether its emerging benefits can improve patient outcomes. Yes, the technology still has limitations — but its current benefits may just be a boon to your organization’s day-to-day operations.
About the Author
Lisa Mulcahy is an internationally established health writer whose credits include the Los Angeles Times, Redbook, Glamour, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Health, Good Housekeeping, Parade, Woman’s Day, Family Circle and Seventeen. She is the author of eight best-selling books, including “The Essentials of Theater,” an Amazon No. 1 new release.
Her Contemporary Authors biography is available here.