Today’s healthcare system is upside-down to say the least. Scientists have made tremendous strides in software offering packages like electronic health records to help healthcare providers keep track of files and sensitive information. Other software includes health and safety packages for tracking accidents or patient communications software for automating and improving patient care. On the other hand, many medical institutions still use pagers and fax machines, and a 2016 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report discusses the obsolete healthcare computer systems that lead to the loss of not only money but of lives.
Is there anything that can be done to make hardware more serviceable for software? Or put another way, could blockchain technology eliminate the barriers of delivering effective patient care and promote fast, efficient communication, all while keeping private health information safe and in accordance to HIPAA regulations?
We would like to thank the team at DYNOSTICS for their contributions to the design and implementation of the research and to the analysis of the result.
What Could the Blockchain do for Healthcare?
Most doctors want to help us improve our health and prevent or treat disease, but their efforts are foiled if industry communications are too slow and break down, or if patient data gets scattered across multiple facilities and isn’t available when you need it most, as John Halamka, chief information officer at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston said happens to him.
“We need a new IT system in healthcare to more efficiently service our health and to help researchers progress towards treating disease,” said The Guardian in its 2014 panel.
Blockchain technology, with its virtually incorruptible cryptographic database and its shared ledger for fast efficient communication, may be the solution to this very problem. It keeps medical records confidential, while providing real-time updated patient data that is accessible to all healthcare entities on the network. In this way, it replaces outdated hardware systems, giving us just the benefits of the software technology and enabling us to progress in curing disease.
Three Blockchain-Based Healthcare Solutions
Each of the following companies tries to make the healthcare system more functional in its own way.
Hashed Health works with healthcare enterprises to create and launch blockchain-based solutions for long-standing industry problems.
Users engage with Hashed through:
- Hashed Collective – A free and open community for discussion and collaboration regarding blockchain applications in healthcare.
- Hashed Enterprise – The Hashed advisory arm helps leading healthcare organizations understand the blockchain, use blockchain technology to improve their services, and identify system problems that could benefit from that technology.
- Hashed Labs – Hashed Labs is where blockchain engineers design and build prototypes, proof-of-concepts, and enterprise-scale blockchain solutions to help healthcare improve its efficiency and flow.
Hashed recognizes that the blockchain can solve many inefficiencies in healthcare’s clumsy communication system. It provides the first link in the chain by showing healthcare organizations how the blockchain can eliminate barriers to delivering effective patient care. It also tries to implement blockchain solutions in order to promote and enable fast, efficient communication among various healthcare entities.
MedRec goes a step further in making healthcare communications more effective by doing the following:
- It helps healthcare providers keep track of files and other sensitive information by sharing this data on a transparent peer-to-peer ledger.
- MedRec’s blockchain meets HIPAA requirements since it secures critical medical information on a virtually unhackable chain and needs the owner’s permission for access.
- Accidents may be prevented and health problems can be instantly addressed because patient data is updated in real time and seen by all who share the ledger. In this way, MedRec also helps with direct patient communication.
- Records are securely transferred from one entity to another with no delay or loss of medical transactions, since the blockchain has no breakdowns or inefficiencies in its communication system.
- MedRec connects clinicians, facilities, and entire healthcare systems on one platform, so everyone can collaborate in fulfilling patients’ needs, which includes monitoring patient drugs and meeting regulatory compliances.
In short, MedRec provides an improved healthcare communication system that eliminates the deficiencies of standard communication and allows patient care to proceed unhindered.
How Does MedRec Work?
- Whenever you see a doctor or get a new prescription, you agree to have a reference of that event (or a “pointer”) added to the MedRec blockchain. Doctors (or other permitted parties) can use any electronic system they want without worrying about incompatibility issues.
- These “pointers” build up to an encrypted record of all your medical information on MedRec’s secure, unhackable blockchain.
- It is you – not the healthcare system – who controls the data, thereby ensuring control of its privacy.
DYNOSTICS is the next step up in making healthcare more functional. This blockchain-based marketplace for sports and metabolic data bundles all of its software pieces (i.e. qualities) on its blockchain (which serves as its channel), so you have no break between hardware and software functions.
How DYNOSTICS Works
- DYNOSTICS uses a unique device that determines your current state of fitness in just a few minutes by analyzing the organic compounds of your breath.
- This data is interpreted by the DYNOSTICS algorithm and summarized in real time on its blockchain app.
- The DYNOSTICS app shows you when your body over-acidifies, how your body processes food, and how you burn fat. It also suggests a customized diet and training program.
Blockchain helps DYNOSTICS deliver effective patient care by:
- Providing instant feedback – The real-time rapid communication of the ledger eliminates the bogged workflow and delays found in our regular healthcare communications.
- Providing one location for all data – Since all user activities operate on the same platform, data is not fragmented in different places like in the standard system. This helps users and healthcare providers keep track of files and sensitive information. At the same time, it helps DYNOSTICS automate and improve patient care.
- Data security and privacy – The blockchain is virtually unhackable, so user data is secure. Users get to decide who they want to share their data with.
DYNOSTICS is an improvement in the communication chain, since it not only integrates the software qualities with the hardware, thereby providing effective patient care, but it also moves healthcare forward, giving its users demonstrable (and diagnostic) results.
We’ve created an infographic to better explain this idea to you:
In healthcare, hardware lags behind software, impeding professionals from helping you as best as they can. The result is a loss of profits and sometimes even lives.
Some projects aim to show healthcare organizations how the blockchain promotes and enables fast, efficient communication while keeping private health information safe, while others are improving the actual communication by replacing outdated communication systems with the blockchain, which eliminates all deficiencies as a result. But, DYNOSTICS goes the furthest by showing us what a functional healthcare communication system can achieve: use the blockchain and healthcare professionals can actually make progress in curing diseases.