The current healthcare IT (HIT) infrastructure holds healthcare data in some type of centralized location such as an EHR system or a repository run by a health information exchange (HIE). Health IT systems notoriously suffer from critical flaws related to privacy and security due to the complexity of sharing troves of medical and financial data from various points of care.
Blockchain technology is a way of organizing data so that transactions can be verified and recorded through the consensus of all parties. Blockchain technology requires each individual participant (i.e. node) to hold a copy of the entire record. Any change to this record must be compared against every node before being approved . The trick for the healthcare sector is to decide how much personal information to actually put on the blockchain (depending on need). The other option is investing in the development of better key distribution systems that could allow individual users to allocate access to each point of care such as Provider X, Specialist Y, Pharmacy Z etc.
Blockchain Technology Impact in Healthcare Innovation
Introduction of blockchain in healthcare will address these matters. The public conversation about blockchain in the healthcare sector is gaining traction. The Distributed: Health conference showcased a strong desire to learn and innovate was palpable.
Control of medical expenditure
Medical care is far too high and continues to rise. Solving this problem is not in sight, even as the health sector moves in to adopt blockchain. As blockchain continues to prove relevant in streamlining cost saving measures in finance, the health sector will in turn address optimizing transaction based operational bottlenecks. Examples include bundled payments and claims remittance. Steady adoption is key to success, taking lessons learned from the rapid adoption in the finance sector.
Updating current HIT infrastructure
As opposed to adopton, some argue that it’s better to upgrade the existing infrastructure as a short term fix. The argument sticks to the fact that the healthcare industry is not yet ready for production-ready technology. While that may be true as of this writing, it most likely won’t stay true for long. The conversation has shifted from tech enthusiast circles to the boardroom in a very short period of time.
HIT Security Concerns
Security of health records and other details are imperative to secure in the healthcare sector. In an article published by Reuters, medical record are worth more to hackers than credit card numbers. Now that HIPPA mandates for EHRs are in full fine mode for non compliance, developing cryptographically secured methods for sharing PHI data is a must win battle for the U.S. healthcare system is to survive.
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