There is a revolution unfolding with modern day healthcare information systems (HIS). If you are in the industry you undoubtedly are aware that blockchain technology is the latest buzz for HIS. Blockchain technology has the power to transform how health information systems are managed by working on solutions for many of the problems that has plagued the sharing of healthcare information in the first place.
What is Blockchain?
There is one thing that blockchain technology is not, simple to explain. Blockchain was developed for financial institutions to track deposits and withdrawals. It has allowed financial institutions to create an unamendable list that is time stamped within a cryptographic network. Copies are shared on every node of the network to provide easy, accurate information. The possibilities of what it can do for health care data are tremendous.
Problems with healthcare information systems
Healthcare information management has always been handled by humans that have tried to:
- Manage information accuracy
- Share information securely
- View updated information
Unfortunately for the patient there are three ways that the above is done that does not really work. Each modality of sharing information has its failings that blockchain will solve:
- Push-this modality assumes that information can be “pushed” from one provider to another via electronic records transfer. The problem is that this model assumes that there is the infrastructure on both ends to support this type of information transaction. Additionally, the information transaction is limited to the two parties, so if you have multiple doctors for multiple medical problems, critical information can be excluded.
- Pull-this model assumes that one provider can “pull” information from another, with the same issues that the push model must contend with. It is an ad hoc system that is not managed well and that does not offer universal guidance. In other words, it’s an iffy system at best.
- View-this model assumes that “in network” providers can view other provider’s records, which may or may not be true and again, it is an ad hoc system without any universal agreements.
Blockchain would allow all providers to access your entire health history in a safe secure manner. Health information systems will be able to access community wide ledgers that have up to date patient information always available. It could change how services were provided, make diagnostic easier, manage medications more accurately and even help to provide more accurate treatment plans.
Need to find direction with legacy healthcare information systems? We offer consulting for interested parties looking for blockchain HIS expertise and implementation ROI assesments.