Blockchain

How Blockchain Can Help Healthcare Save Billions

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In simple words, blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize healthcare. By fully deploying blockchain, healthcare institutions and organizations can deliver truly patient-focused care.

For a refresher, blockchain is a distributed ledger system that creates and stores data records. The digital ledger connects blocks of information that show how data is changed, shared or accessed on the peer-to-peer network.

Healthcare blockchain can save the industry up to $100 billion in support, operational, personnel, security breaches, and IT costs by 2025. The development in healthcare today largely depends on advances in the underlying information technology.

Let’s see how blockchain helps the healthcare industry save costs.

Blockchain can solve data silos in healthcare

Healthcare data silos make interoperability a challenge and how. If a patient accesses healthcare from various providers, the data is scattered in that doctors can’t access it all, and patients can’t manage it all.

Since the healthcare industry is highly regulated, it needs to securely share patient data amongst healthcare institutions without violating healthcare data regulations. Blockchain can bring about that shift and make silos unreasonable.

With blockchain, there’s no vulnerable centralized point. Patient data is constantly monitored for any changes, transactions or additions. Blockchain makes data silos outdated in the healthcare industry, thereby introducing more connection, coordination and collaboration in the healthcare industry.

That leads to efficient care delivery, optimized costs and improved patient outcomes.

Blockchain for physician credentialing

Credentialing is crucial in establishing a practice and securing reimbursement from insurance companies and other payers for healthcare practitioners. Physician credentialing tends to be tedious, complicated and costly. 

J.P. Morgan estimates that blockchain can help save up to 80% of the current time and cost invested in healthcare credentialing. Blockchain can help providers maintain control of their data through a private key, sharing access to their credentials to insurers, hospitals and data repositories through a public key.

Blockchain can help institutions access the most current healthcare practitioner data, saving the usual 4-6 months of credentialing via the traditional route. 

Healthcare professionals can upload educational history, licenses, malpractice insurance, certifications and other documents on a blockchain for primary sources to access and verify. Healthcare institutions can then check data using primary source verification, accept or reject the professional and upload their decision on the blockchain as well.

Blockchain and predictive analytics in healthcare

Healthcare organizations can also apply predictive analytics to reduce costs and improve operational efficiency. Add artificial intelligence and blockchain, and you can bulk up healthcare IT infrastructure with effective and innovative data management.

The single most important concern for healthcare institutions in allowing more machine learning and AI to penetrate healthcare is data security. Since ML is a data-hungry technology, there’s always a risk looming over any application in the sensitive area of healthcare.

Blockchain is viewed as an inherently secure space for data for its nature. No bad actor can alter every single copy of a transaction across all blockchain members to erase a transaction or change it.

Moreover, if enough members agree that a transaction is valid, it’s recorded on the blockchain and timestamped – turning the data into a fact that can’t be altered or deleted.

The use of blockchain can further data and analytics to predict patient outcomes and clinical events in healthcare. Predictive analytics can provide insight into operations, break down barriers between departments and even improve the healthcare hiring process.

Other Benefits of Blockchain in Healthcare

Besides helping healthcare institutions save billions of dollars, blockchain can help achieve the following benefits:

  • Value-based care – Blockchain can facilitate the shift from fee-based healthcare to a value-based healthcare model. Blockchain allows healthcare providers and stakeholders to access secure, complete and relevant patient data, yielding better information quality that helps improve outcomes. Moreover, blockchain can help bring in internal improvements to how healthcare institutions operate to ultimately improve care delivery.
  • Growth and innovation – From an organizational growth and evolution perspective, blockchain applications can help healthcare providers assess their resources and align them with the organization’s goals and strategy. Resources include employee capabilities and care delivery processes. Blockchain can also help health care stakeholders to learn, evolve and improve services to enhance their competitive edge and sustainability.
  • Patient-centricity – Blockchain can improve healthcare services to fit and satisfy patient needs. Patient-centric care may include sharing patient EHRs and handing over the ownership and control of patient data back to them with added layers of security through blockchain. Blockchain supports data auditability, tracking and immutability. The technology can improve service quality and, consequently, patient satisfaction.

A shift to blockchain-based applications will warrant significant investments, risks and uncertainties today. However, the future is bright for startups looking to tackle one area of healthcare delivery to impact with blockchain.

At KiwiTech, we help such startups get their ideas off the ground with our blockchain development services. Reach out to us today!

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