Can the use of Blockchain Technology Save a Failing Healthcare System?

June 12, 2021

According to a report in the New York Times, an 8-year-old girl from Melbourne died from influenza complications in September, 2017. Influenza is not a fatal disease if treated quickly and appropriately. So how this did happen? The New York Times offers three explanations, all tied to a failing healthcare system:

  1. Misinformed personal attitude towards diseases
  2. Ineffective messaging of healthcare providers to the public
  3. Flawed data on disease outbreaks

Likewise, in Rhode Island, during a routine ambulance inspection, the state removed almost half of them from service due to broken equipment and expired medication. Now, just imagine an ambulance rushing to the scene of a heart attack victim with a broken defibrillator. This begs the question, how could they help the victim?

So what is wrong with the American Healthcare System?

Lack of interoperability among different healthcare systems and improper use of data prevent healthcare organizations from providing the best care while keeping costs down. Have a look at these facts:

  1. Almost 40% of all healthcare service provider records contain errors or missing information.
  2. An IBM security and Ponemon Institute study revealed that the cost to prevent data breaches in the healthcare industry is $380 per record and these data security expenses are growing.
  3. Around 50% of clinical trials in the US go unreported.
  4. The United States bear a loss of more than $200 billion every year due to counterfeit drugs.

The list of problems with the American healthcare system go on and on. While we are now using practice management systems and electronic health record software, we continue to face severe problems as they pertain to collecting, analyzing, securing, and exchanging life-saving healthcare data.

Is Blockchain the answer?

Blockchain alone will not solve all the problems of the American healthcare system but it can help in a number of ways:

  1. Irrevocable Data Storage

Distributed ledger technology or blockchain ensures the security of data so that it cannot be altered or accessed in any unwanted way. If the data is edited, then there would be a complete digital trail of the change, leading back to the original entry. This time stamp will also keep doctors from altering the records if they end up accused of malpractice or misdiagnosis, which will in turn cut down on unnecessary lawsuits and related expenses that are a burden.

  1. Patient Privacy

Patient privacy is always a pressing issue in healthcare, and blockchain technology can help to resolve this by keeping one’s identity encrypted and under the control of the patient or primary caregiver. This model can shift the power of access to patient information where it belongs.

  1. Cyber Vulnerabilities

Blockchain technology stores data in distributed ledgers that ensure a single breach would not be catastrophic to the whole hospital or healthcare system.

  1. Supply Chain Management

By leveraging blockchain technology, we can radically improve the supply chain and payments of medicines. We could potentially eliminate counterfeit drugs from the market which would help to save $200 billion every year that are lost due to the circulation of fake drugs in the market.

  1. Access To Complete Medical Record

A number of EHR systems are being used by caregivers out there but they’re not all able to exchange information with each other seamlessly, which is another way of saying there are interoperability issues. Blockchain could be the perfect solution to this problem because it only saves a single version of data that is replicated over the whole network and this single health record can only be accessed by an authorized person. With this model, the provider can analyze the complete history of their patient which will help them make the right clinical decisions and reduce the chances of complications during treatment.

  1. Outbreak Detection

The integration of electronic health record data by way of blockchain technology can give data scientists a single place to precisely detect and predict large scale, or potentially large scale outbreaks, and this timely information can help to us all to manage and limit a health crisis impact before it becomes unmanageable.

So with that, the question arises: is there an EHR available that is technically sound and offers a blockchain-based solution to address the problems we’ve pointed out? The answer to this question is yes. talkEHR is the most advanced EHR software available on the market and it has introduced this solution to the healthcare industry.

Tagged Blockchain