MARKNetwork Blockchain Use Case: Healthcare Sector

How is blockchain impacting the healthcare sector?

Short summary of the article:

“Do not get left behind!”

»Rising healthcare costs and regulatory challenges have made the landscape complex and less patient centric. Technological advancement like blockchain are a panacea for plauging issues. Let us understand which soft spots does blockchain address in healthcare.«

A significant climb in the health spending was witnessed across the US in the year 2018. The climb surpassed the estimated rise of 5.3 % and is expected to show an upward trend for the upcoming decade. The prime driver of higher spends is the rising costs of medical services.

 

The health care system is undergoing a change as patient health management is becoming a priority. However, rules and government regulations are resisting this change. The transparency and trust issues between the healthcare service providers, seekers, and insurance providers also plague the existing system.

 

Another area that needs immediate attention is the scattered critical patient data. According to the latest study, almost 50% of the clinical trials in the US stay unreported injecting inefficiencies in the system. As there is no single source of truth of patient data, even appropriate patient care is missing from the system.

 

The existing technology systems are not capable of maintaining the security of patient data. The data is getting manipulated and misused making all the stakeholders to suffer. Healthcare data breaches in organizations are on rising translating into $380 per record in US healthcare system.

 

Problems do not just end here!

 

With outdated and inefficient technology support, the recorded patient data cannot be trusted and the healthcare providers find it time-consuming to diagnose ailments. Same diagnostic procedures need to be repeated increasing the healthcare spend.

 

Other prevailing issues of the current healthcare sector are spread out across the system. The drug counterfeiting is another plaguing issue of the ecosystem. The Global Counterfeit Drug detection device market is expected to reach a market value of US$ 1,368.5 Million by 2021 which will, in turn, increase the healthcare costs.

 

As the supply chain is becoming more complex day by day, end-users are not sure of the authenticity of the drug they are buying.

 

Despite legacy systems in place, the requirement of an advanced trustless system that records data and keeps it accessible to all the stakeholders without the fear of data mutation. 

Recording all clinical trials

Source Data Validation in clinical trials is a quality control measure that does not produce a significant return. It has been noted that only 3% of the data is changed after conducting an SDV. With SDV’s consuming 15% of the overall healthcare budget, they add to the cost of care.

 

SDV is one established risk monitoring process that eliminates the chances of fraudulent clinical data making way to the healthcare system. Blockchain offers an immutable distributed ledger that will record data from all clinical trials along with the timestamps making source data validation process redundant. Companies like Innoplexus are piloting blockchain-based projects to record clinical trial data and make it accessible to the patients as well as healthcare providers without adding to any cost like SDV.

Patient Data Protection

Healthcare data has been a honey pot for cybercriminals. Almost 80 million people were impacted due to stolen healthcare data in the past 5 years and the pool is getting bigger day by day. According to a study conducted in the US, almost one out of every four American citizens have been affected by healthcare data breaches. Around 50% of these data breaches had a monetary impact of $2,500 on an average on each citizen.

 

Such data breaches cost $6.2 billion to the United States healthcare system. Healthcare organizations like Newkirk have suffered HIPAA fines and lawsuits when 3.47 Million patient data was stolen.

 

The alarming rise of data privacy issues in the healthcare sector advocates the need for an efficient data security system.

 

Blockchain technology decreases the data vulnerability as it eliminates centralization and records all patient data on an immutable ledger.

Costly EHR

Even as the Electronic Health Records matured, the health systems continue to battle the security and interoperability issues around it. The cost that accompanies EHR installation is not at par with the productivity enhancement. According to a study EHR burnout the staff with its inefficiencies in workflow management. 

 

Furthermore, the EHR installations are becoming costlier every passing day and the system is full of redundancies. The interoperability challenges in the EHR system has not been able to bridge the data gap between healthcare providers, healthcare seekers, and insurance providers. Blockchain technology adoption ensures the patient health records can be shared and tracked using a distributed ledger on which the data cannot be altered. MIT is utilizing Ethereum blockchain to secure health records in its MedRec project initiative. 

Insurance Frauds

The healthcare insurance ecosystem is way too complex. The stakeholders are juggling with claim processing, handling penalties, managing fees, and fines. According to the latest mandate by IRS, no tax returns will be processed until the American citizen submits proof of healthcare insurance. In 2017 almost 73.5 million Americans enrolled for healthcare insurance to avoid the penalties.

 

The insurance data is recorded on outdated systems which remain fragmented across the system. The healthcare providers and the patient often run into trouble and end up paying penalties due to missing transparency between the insurance organizations and government policies.

 

The blockchain unifies the entire ecosystem with its decentralization. The patient data is accessible by all over a trusted distributed ledger technology to avoid any kind of frauds. Blockchain and IoT are shaking hands to collect real-time patient data so that the claims can be processed faster than ever. 

Eliminate Fraudulent Billing

Fraudulent and duplicate billing accounted for 46 percent of fraud cases recorded in the US in the year 2016. In 2017 healthcare frauds captured surmounted to $3.3 billion. With approximately 75.3 million people enrolled in healthcare, the scale of frauds is higher.

 

Blockchain can act as a combat mechanism to points from where fraudulent bills make way to the ecosystem. All the bills will be recorded on the distributed ledger and cannot be tweaked. As technology is interoperable and secure, it can be implemented across the healthcare system where fraudulent billing is a point of rising concern. 

Track and trace Pharmaceuticals

Drug counterfeiting is a huge global problem. According to WHO reports, at least 72,000 children die of pneumonia every year due to almost 10% fake drugs making rounds. As the entire supply chain of pharmaceuticals is complex, tracking and tracking manufacturing and supply of legit drugs is a big problem.

 

Blockchain assists in this regard by rendering a unique identification number to each raw material and end product. This will bring integrity to the entire ecosystem right from manufacturing to distribution as all the data will be recorded over a decentralized ledger.

 

As the healthcare spending rate rose from 4.6% in 2017 to 5.3% in 2018, it is the right time to replace legacy systems with blockchain solutions. At MARKNetwork we focus on going beyond the innovation trigger and develop solutions that render value to the system. 

We have a lot more coming up to keep you educated and updated. Stay connected! 

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