Interoperability remains the Holy Grail in healthcare, the goal to which all organizations aspire. The particular urgency to remove silos and improve communication between various systems and organizations is paramount, as it promises in order to lead to greater efficiency and improved outcomes while at the same time lowering costs – and not a moment too soon, given the fact that the world’s population is aging plus there will be a growing shortage associated with clinicians.
More and more, blockchain – a secure, decentralized digital ledger most often associated with cryptocurrency – is being viewed as the pathway toward achieving interoperability , or building bridges between “data islands” – i. e., the businesses and techniques where patient data might be stored (but not shared).
That’s how they were described by Sriram Bharadwaj, vice president of electronic innovation and applications in Franciscan Health, a Midwestern organization, on the website Health IT Analytics. More often labeled data silos, the frequent inability to share information between them leaves clinicians in a position where they do not always have a full picture of a patient’s medical history, and thus unable to provide the best care. Blockchain can address this issue, and help create unified patient records (UPRs).
Additionally , wider availability of information would go a long way toward compiling population health metrics , a crucial element in establishing health policy and programs.
Finally, blockchain is a means of boosting cybersecurity plus overcoming issues in areas such as supply-chain management, data administration and transfer and medication adherence.
From a clinician’s standpoint, blockchain makes information accessible in real-time, which goes quite a distance towards eliminating delays in treatment delivery and the duplication of services, improving individual outcomes while also curtailing waste. Duplicate healthcare solutions alone – much associated with it due to difficulty or inability to access test results or procedures – leads to $200 billion within needless spending every year.
Beyond that, blockchain ensures clinician-patient confidentiality.
Small wonder, then, that the exploration of blockchain in the healthcare sector is “very widespread, ” as Sean Manion, chief scientific officer for the blockchain company Equideam Health, told Becker’s Hospital Review in a July 2022 interview . That’s especially true among leading pharmaceutical companies and payer-provider organizations, he added.
Adoption has been much slower than in the particular fintech space, owing to greater regulatory obstacles plus increased risk aversion – the latter not without reason. As Manion put it: “If you mess up something with regard to fintech, money can be lost. But if you mess up something within healthcare, people can die. ”
The healthcare sector has traditionally been slow to innovate , but the pandemic and accompanying surge in patients accelerated digital transformation simply by organizations around the globe. More plus more of these facilities adopted state-of-the-art technology, including blockchain, to meet the needs of their individuals, while from the same time reducing burdens upon staff.
That is only expected to continue. Allied Market Research forecasts that the market for blockchain technology in healthcare, which usually stood at just over $531 million within 2021, will mushroom in order to $16. 3 billion by 2031 , a robust compound annual growth rate of 40. 8 percent. Allied further notes that will while the largest market share by application was in supply-chain management, there will be a shift over the next decade toward data exchange and interoperability.
Giang Tran, founding director of akaChain at FPT Software, informed the website Information Age that blockchain may indeed “solve the problem” of interoperability. As this individual place it:
“To facilitate better wellness outcomes for patients, sharing medical information amongst different health systems is becoming popular. … Through the joint effort associated with establishing an industry standard, blockchain can assist preserve privacy, as well as help the combined coordination amongst health systems at an affordable cost, hence, improving health outcomes. ”
Put simply, there are those who compare blockchain to the highly encrypted digital spreadsheet that can be shared across several computers. Any time any of these parties attempts to make a change, it must be approved by all the others in order with regard to information to be added in the particular form of a new block. That means data will be more secure, a vital consideration in light associated with the fact that health care cybersecurity breaches reached an all-time high in 2021. They impacted 45 million individuals , according to a report by the cybersecurity company Critical Insights, 11 million more than the year before.
Moreover, there were 692 large data breaches (i. electronic., those impacting 500 or even more records) between This summer 2021 and June 2022, according in order to the HIPAA Journal. Blockchain’s decentralized nature makes such cybercrime far more difficult , and creates a level of trust that is not really available via other technological means.
Blockchain could also create the move of a patient’s information, whether from an organization to the consumer or in order to a place associated with the patient’s choosing, more efficient and safe . Such transfers had been mandated simply by the 21st Century Cures Act , which was passed from the U. S. Congress within 2016 plus prohibits companies from inhibiting the flow of this kind of data, which is most often included in electronic health records (EHRs).
Blockchain also makes it possible to identify, verify and track medications at every stage of the supply chain. That could go a long way towards stopping the flow of counterfeit drugs, which cost pharmaceutical businesses as a lot as one hundred dollar billion a year, while furthermore ensuring medications’ quality plus effectiveness and, ultimately, the particular safety from the consumer.
The particular drug’s point of origin is marked in the ledger, plus at each step in the particular supply chain data is usually added – notably who handled the medication and where they did so. Transparency is definitely, as a result, ensured.
Then there is the particular issue associated with medication adherence. It is estimated that 75 percent of Americans perform not take their medicines as prescribed, which prospects to roughly $300 billion in unnecessary expenditures each year, including $100 billion dollars in unneeded hospitalizations. Blockchain-based platforms like MyPCR make it possible to track and verify patients’ usage.
It is important to note that there are barriers to widespread adoption of blockchain in the healthcare field, the first associated with which was mentioned earlier – the particular hesitance to adopt new technologies. There can be also the dearth of vendors that deal in blockchain. But the advantages are because obvious as they are numerous. In an age where the accent is certainly on efficiency and ensuring the best possible results, few systems show a lot more promise.
About Dr. Rekha Bhandari
Dr. Rekha Bhandari is Chief Healthcare Officer for that Allure Team , a coalition associated with six New York City-based eldercare facilities. Doctor Bhandari will be board certified in internal medicine, geriatrics and palliative medicine. Since 2001, Dr . Bhandari has served as the vice chief executive at Glenridge Medical Associates, a medical group of physicians within Ridgewood, Queens, providing inner medicine, family medicine plus geriatric providers. Doctor Bhandari is a member of a number of medical societies such as American College associated with Physicians, United states Geriatrics Society, Center of Advanced Palliative Care and American Association of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.