Does Blockchain Have A Place in Healthcare?
Creating underlying trust fabric for transacting healthcare data and value
Blockchain technology provides significant application potential across some of the pressing needs of Healthcare industry such as health data interoperability, cybersecurity, insurance fraud management and drug supply chain provenance. On-going digital transformation of care delivery models towards a much-anticipated personalized and outcome-based treatment paradigm will be the major impetus for blockchain adoption. At its core, blockchain would offer the potential of a shared platform that decentralizes healthcare interactions ensuring access control, authenticity, and integrity while presenting the industry with radical possibilities for value-based care and reimbursement models. Blockchain technology may not be the panacea for healthcare industry challenges but it holds the potential to save billions of dollars by optimizing current workflows and disintermediating some high-cost gatekeepers.
What role Blockchain has in Healthcare Industry’s digital future?
Blockchain Potential to optimize Healthcare digital workflows and improve outcome-based care delivery models
One of the monumental shifts we are starting to see in Healthcare industry is the digital decentralization of care delivery models. Digitization of drugs (therapies), devices, services and commerce models are democratizing current healthcare systems, unlocking new values by displacing high cost gatekeepers and previously inaccessible segments. Despite this utopia around healthcare digitization, current limitations around security, integrity, and access control for personalized health data are creating critical bottlenecks for care delivery innovations. Today, health systems, payers, drug and device manufacturers equally have an urgent requirement for a secure and trusted connected health IT ecosystem to manage healthcare data and promote value-based care. This has made the digital transformation theme a core strategic priority for any healthcare industry participants as they strive to justify value. As the healthcare industry struggles to find a trade-off between the risk and reward of going digital, potential application of blockchain technology provides a timely answer to mitigate some of these pressing needs around digitization of healthcare industry. Further the convergence of blockchain with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, mHealth and Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) provides radical new opportunities to explore digital health economies.
Blockchain in Healthcare—Top 5 Growth Opportunities
A new research from Frost & Sullivan’s Advanced Medical Technologies Growth Partnership Service program, examines blockchain potential exclusively for healthcare industry. By differentiating the hype from reality, the study identified top five growth opportunities for blockchain technology applications across some of the pressing needs of Healthcare industry such as;
• Healthcare Data Exchange and Interoperability
• Claims Adjudication and Billing Management
• Drug Supply Chain Integrity and Remote Auditing
• Clinical Trials and Population Health Research
• Cyber Security and Healthcare IoMT (Internet of Medical Things)
The study also revealed that in the next five to 10 years, successful implementation of blockchain technology in healthcare industry will provide new opportunities to improve existing workflows and introduce new business and monetization models for digital health economy. From an adoption point of view the study suggest that Pharmaceuticals and health insurance payers will to be the early adopters for blockchain systems compared to other healthcare industry stakeholders. For example, Blockchain solutions are expected to have immediate implications for Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) and claim management HIT vendors; could potentially replace claims clearinghouses and decrease the need for prior authorization.
Despite the potential of blockchain in disrupting healthcare workflows, it may not be the universal solution for managing conflicting data standards with disparate terminologies in the healthcare industry. The healthcare industry needs to focus on establishing blockchain consortia to foster ecosystem partnerships and create standards or frameworks for future implementation on a large scale across healthcare use cases. Further, Blockchain systems could be expensive and difficult to manage the network consensus; early movers need to collaborate with innovative healthcare focused blockchain companies to evaluate the deployment trade-off across potential healthcare use cases.