Among healthcare professionals, an increasingly common conversation these days centers on blockchain and how it can be used to improve the quality of patient care.
Although finding initial promise in the financial arena, blockchain -- a type of distributed ledger for maintaining a permanent and tamper-proof record of transactional data -- is more and more being seen as technology that can address many of healthcare's patient care, interoperability and medical data security concerns.
One such proponent of blockchain as an antidote to healthcare's problems -- and a way to increase the quality of patient care -- is Ashissh Raichura, founder and CEO of Scanbo, a biotech company whose aim is to digitize every individual's health data.
"We are implementing blockchain for patient identity on the Scanbo platform, which will also be used on a portable, multifunctional medical device," Raichura said. "I strongly feel with blockchain, we can fight counterfeit drugs and fake lab reports, and make all processes transparent, which will transition healthcare from reactive care to proactive care."
Here are three ways Raichura believes the implementation of blockchain can boost the quality of patient care:
- Help patients gain control of their medical data. By using blockchain to store and transfer medical records, Raichura said, a patient can "gain complete control over who can make changes in the data." The patient can monitor the edits made, such as new diagnosis, and limit people who can see sensitive medical conditions like AIDS or cancer health data. In addition, he said, a patient would have an accurate account of his medical history that could be shared with providers, thus leading to better care.
- Ease the management of insurance claims. Currently, the claims process often requires completing a mountain of paperwork. Managing insurance claims through digital blockchain records could improve the quality of patient care, Raichura said, by easing the claims process through greater auditability and traceability. In addition, he said, the technology could lead to greater confidence in the claims process.
- Provide for secure medical data. "More and more electronic data is being scoured across the cyber world," Raichura said, "and health data security must remain a top priority for all organizations." Currently, he said, healthcare providers "don't have the proper infrastructure to secure data." With blockchain, he said, you can "verify transactions by consensus of all parties involved, then validate them against an authoritative ledger of kindred other events in the past."