How Blockchain Can Rescue the Healthcare Industry

Previously we’ve outlined the four major problems facing healthcare consumers today: lack of accesshigh costsintermediary barriers and low-quality care. By combining a blockchain with a telehealth model, we propose a global patient-centric system designed to enable transparent, secure, effective, and affordable interaction between patients and providers.

An architecturally and institutionally decentralized healthcare system, underpinned by cryptocurrency, will help pave the way toward a decentralized marketplace, connecting transacting parties worldwide with minimal intermediation.

Access

Our proposed solution involves a network designed to provide patients with the ability to access global healthcare providers based on fully transparent and measurable metrics such as cost, location, quality of care, provider experience, and outcomes after procedures. Diagnostics, check-ups, and consultations can take place virtually, with referrals to in-person care providers as needed.

The blockchain will facilitate a common currency to aid the process of cross-border payments, encouraging physicians to provide services globally. Physicians will be able to live and practice wherever they choose, while providing care to those in the most rural areas of their country (and potentially even the world).

Storing Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) on the blockchain will make accessing them anywhere easy and secure, anywhere in the world.

Fair Prices

By adding a price transparency feature to our platform, patients can see and compare prices before using. This will potentially lower costs as patients gravitate toward more reasonable costs for comparable services. This will allow this platform to switch from a membership model to a value-based model, while still mitigating the skyrocketing costs for treatment. A blockchain facilitates transparency because its records are immutable and trustworthy.

A blockchain is necessary to implement a common currency, which will lower costs by reducing transaction and money changing fees using a common settlement layer.

Intermediary Barriers

Imagine a healthcare system where everyone in United States and around the globe is a knowledgeable, savvy consumer of medical services, and plays an active role in purchasing and consuming the services they receive. With a goal toward enabling patients to become wholly involved in their healthcare decisions, we aim to develop more conscientious healthcare users. To achieve this, plans and professionals need to provide the information, financial incentives, and decision-making tools to allow consumers to make educated healthcare purchasing decisions.

Using a blockchain model, patients will have access to and control of their medical records at all times. Interoperable EMRs coupled with AI and IOT can create process efficiencies and improve decision-making necessary to boost quality. Data could be better integrated into daily care, and patients could play a role in curating their own data. The data could include genetic, social, and behavioral patient information, as well as financial, clinical, and administrative records. It could be securely stored in the cloud and accessed on an as-needed basis on a blockchain.

Blockchain technology enables a decentralized health information exchange through a mapping and permission system for patients’ medical records. Most importantly, episodes of care are memorialized on the blockchain and recorded as a pointer to the actual EMRs kept by the provider. Provider access to a patient’s file pathway is granted only after patient authorization is submitted via a key signature.

By creating a decentralized EMRs which is cryptographically safe, secure, and permissioned, a blockchain solution will lay the foundation for a new and powerful global healthcare network. As the architecture develops, the services on the platform will have the ability to grow into a medical service platform with EMRs intuitively interconnected.

Quality of Care

A platform using blockchain technology can augment the quality of care by enabling interoperability of electronic medical records from legacy systems worldwide. The purpose is to empower patients to control their own data and partner with healthcare providers in a way that facilitates higher engagement, higher quality, lower cost, and ultimately the best outcomes in terms of healthcare service.

Patient outcomes, defined as outcomes that are both accurate and lead to the best solution, will be peer-reviewed and the data and stats will be irrevocably recorded on the blockchain. The patient names and details will be anonymous and each physician will have a rating based on their peer-review statistics. This transparency of outcomes will lead to higher quality care as bad actors are weeded out and patients can choose the best doctors to work with.

Additionally, use of the blockchain and a new model of consolidating EMRs will mean patients can more easily access and send their medical records, creating better signals for diagnosis. The addition of wearable devices that send additional health stats will easily integrate for better-informed healthcare.

Finally, a platform including a blockchain can be used to encourage participants to actively engage in their own wellness through a rewards mechanism, where patients earn rewards for reaching goals or partaking in activities that contribute to their overall health.

Other Participants

Other participants in the healthcare ecosystem will benefit from the a blockchain-centered system. Medical researchers can request permission to access patient EMR, aiding their research. Patients who wish to share their EMR will receive compensation in tokens. Signatures on smart contracts will enable the transactions and record the permissions required.

The platform can include a feature where researchers and doctors can present workshops, classes and webinars in exchange for tokens, raising the bar for overall healthcare betterment through collaboration. Mandatory continuing education courses will also be available.

Pharmaceutical companies can request access to research data and also participate by promoting their medications or services. An irrevocable record on the blockchain will force pharmaceutical companies to be transparent and honest in their solicitation, and allow participants to research cost-efficient alternatives of medications.

Additional Benefits of Blockchain

The use of a blockchain to power a healthcare platform’s payment processing means revealing all transactions, making financial incentives known. Ideally, the platform will create a new kind of transparency facilitated by a truly open and contributor-controlled environment for healthcare.

Since the blockchain contains data in time-stamped blocks that chain together which are continuously added and archived, it becomes nearly impossible for outsiders to manipulate existing data or information within the distributed ledger. This means physician peer reviews and EMR records are immutable, and all financial transactions are recorded and verified.

The blockchain is a decentralized authority, which enables healthcare companies to build a self-governed transparent ecosystem. There is no single source that controls or centralizes the published outcome. While the interface enables P2P interaction, the blocks on the chain containing information on transactions EMR, and reputation are not owned or controlled by any entity.

To find out more about the future of HealthSapiens 2.0 (powered by blockchain technology) please visit our website and sign up for alerts, or check us out on social media @healthsapiens

About The Author

Karim Babay is Chairman & CEO of HealthSapiens, a nationwide healthcare provider that delivers on-demand access to healthcare anytime, anywhere, via mobile devices, the internet, video and phone. Mr. Babay is also the founder and Chief Investment Officer of Intrinsic Value Investment Partners, a value-focused hedge fund. Mr. Babay has over 15 years of global investing, entrepreneurial and corporate finance experience allocating capital across the capital structure (credit and equity), angel investing, liquid and illiquid investments in securities. Mr. Babay has published numerous studies and analysis while at Columbia University. Mr. Babay is member of the board of directors and Chairman of the compensation committee of GLYECO, a publicly traded company, principally involved in processing of waste into high quality ethylene glycol. Mr. Babay received a B.S. in finance and economics from HEC Institute and an MBA from Columbia Graduate School of Business.

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