Is healthcare ready for blockchain?

February 6, 2018

Lately, we’ve heard and read a lot about the possibilities of blockchain technology in healthcare. Specifically, industry experts and leaders are looking at ways to leverage blockchain to unshackle siloed systems, and empower patients to own their healthcare information.

A recent article in Becker’s Hospital Review describes a blockchain as a database structure or permanent record of online transactions or exchanges that enables the creation of a digital transaction ledger shared across a distributed network. This transaction ledger consists of a growing list of records or transactions called “blocks”. Each block is part of a chain, ensuring that every block is valid. In short, there is no single point of failure.

For healthcare, the value of all users accessing a network and verifiable data provides obvious value. From a health system perspective, a blockchain-powered health information exchange could unlock the true value of interoperability – and even transform healthcare. With the potential to reduce or eliminate the friction and costs of current intermediaries, it would place the patient in the middle of the healthcare ecosystem. Providers would then have a holistic, 360-degree view into a patient’s history to ensure accuracy, personalization and a better patient experience. These are the hallmarks of true interoperability.

Even more, a healthcare blockchain would expand the acquisition of health data to include information from those currently seen as underserved by the medical community, or those who typically do not participate in research. Finding and engaging these “hard-to-reach” populations gives us the ability to develop diverse, actionable data sets that better represent patients from different ethnic, socioeconomic backgrounds, and from more varied geographies. That is as important to the overall healthcare landscape as it is individuals.

At Infor Healthcare, interoperability standards and investing in our Cloverleaf Integration Suite remains a priority for our organization and our healthcare clients. That’s why we are paying keen attention to blockchain, and how it may help enable continuous access and availability to real-time data that improves clinical care coordination and improve patient care. Is healthcare ready?

Danielle Miller, PHD(c), MSN, RNC-OB Chief Nursing Officer, Clinical Applications
  • Healthcare
  • EMEA
  • North America
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