The current issues with the American healthcare system are well-documented. Spiralling costs and fragmentation in almost every aspect of the sector are significantly impacting the experience of millions of patients on a daily basis. In the last few years, there has been a lot of talk about the role of blockchain in healthcare and the potential for this exciting emerging technology to solve many of the issues being experienced by the sector. And, simultaneously, there has been an almost equal amount of talk from those who doubt the readiness of blockchain to positively impact the sector. However, blockchain is already making a positive impact on the healthcare sector each and every day. While there is no doubting the fact that blockchain is still in its infancy, the technology has proven its ability to cut healthcare costs for patients and reduce the administrative load for healthcare professionals.
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One healthcare organization that is already exploring blockchain’s potential to overhaul its processes and improve the healthcare journey for patients in its remit is Arizona Care Network (ACN), a leading accountable care organization responsible for managing value-based care contracts for its network of more than 5,000 physicians covering 250,000 members. ACN is leveraging blockchain to simplify and decentralize complex processes related to value-based care delivery and payments, something that will have a direct impact on the lives of its members.
Healthcare professionals making progress in Arizona using blockchain
In adopting blockchain technology, ACN is hoping to achieve the goal of improving quality of care using a financial reward system. This system motivates physicians within ACN’s network to provide better care for the patients they serve. All of the rewards are carried out securely using blockchain technology. This allows for the quick and safe distribution of value-based payments. With long term chronic diseases, improving the overall quality of care is essential, and the system ACN employs aims to accomplish this. ACN benefits from having this system performed through blockchain technology because it allows for the payments to be processed quickly and transparently.
The other way in which blockchain is having a significant impact and subsequently impacting the healthcare journey for the better is in reducing administrative duties for medical professionals. The fractured nature of the healthcare sector means that medical professionals still rely on a number of antiquated processes such as faxing patient records between doctors in different practices. Nonclinical administrative duties such as this are filling up doctors’ schedules, resulting in them spending less and less time with their patients and, even when they are seeing them, potentially having to rush through consultations. The adverse effects of such an approach are plain; overworked and time-poor doctors can make mistakes, mistakes which can endanger their patients’ wellbeing. Introducing a decentralized, interoperable network of patient data makes time-intensive tasks like manually entering data received from other healthcare professionals by fax a thing of the past.
The future of blockchain in healthcare
There is no doubting that the future of blockchain in healthcare is bright. The benefits of blockchain-based healthcare extend beyond eliminating waste and cost, and include improved security, drug traceability, and access to non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT). Ultimately, blockchain will create more efficient interactions between the different players in the healthcare ecosystem, including patients, physicians, healthcare providers and insurers, in order to deliver better healthcare for improved patient outcomes.
Right now, however, the technology is already positively impacting the lives of patients and healthcare professionals. Even a simple process such as decentralizing patients’ data has the capacity to create a more efficient healthcare structure — one where the patient is in control. This patient-centric approach puts data in the hands of the customer, which in turn empowers them to receive the care they need and deserve.
About the Author:
Pradeep Goel is the CEO of Solve.Care, a global healthcare company that redefines care coordination, improves access to care, empower consumers with information, reduces benefit administration costs, and helps reduce fraud and waste in healthcare around the world.
The Solve.Care platform creates an ecosystem for patient-centric care based on medical conditions, economic and social needs, and other tailored eligibility criteria. Solve.Care is the first company to utilize digital currency and blockchain technology in healthcare for value-based payments.
Solve.Care has received the Most Innovative Blockchain Project Award at the Blockchain Life 2019 Forum and the "Top 3 Innovative Blockchain Solution" and "Top 3 Outstanding Projects" at the 2019 World Blockchain Awards, among other accolades.
For more information, please visit https://solve.care.