3 key areas of health care that could improve with blockchain technology

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Chuck DeVries, vice president of strategic technology and business architecture at the Vizient health improvement improvement company in Irving, Texas, shares what he believes health IT leaders need to know about the blockchain.

The answers have been slightly modified for clarity and length.

Question: where is now the blockchain in the health sector and how will it develop in 2019?

Chuck DeVries: At present there are not many uses of live blockchain in healthcare; however, there are several organizations that drive it, including Visir. Feasibility and applicability are still under test and 2019 will be crucial for this exploration. We plan to start seeing some of these that will soon come into real use this year.

Q: What do you think will be the most significant blockchain applications in the healthcare sector over the next five years?

CD: Transaction processing – with the necessary contract, data management, price matching between hospital distributor and group-supplier purchase organization, purchase order processing, confirmations and billing-payment – is ripe for improvement. It requires significant cooperation today and most organizations stumble on many points of that process. Blockchain can be a solution that works to simplify the process and align all the parts.

Trace and trace, by pharmaceutical chain of custody, is another area where blockchain can be effective. This is an area with many handoffs and an application that simplifies these transfers and maintains a solid, secure information feed, solving many challenges.

Patients are becoming increasingly involved in their record keeping, and having a patient-based, blockchain-based clinical file would allow portability and confidentiality. Going a step further, it is not outside the realm of the possibility of seeing a standardized patient-centered exchange of patient records driven by legislation. Consumption in space would be assisted by facilitating this level of control and sharing of records.

Q: What do the blockbenches of blockchain hospitals and healthcare systems know today?

CD: They should know the basics of what the concept is, so that they can see the potential for what it is and what it is not. Blockchain is simply a distributed ledger with some integrated features for security and transparency. This understanding can be used to cut the confusion of public relations and guide their thought processes around where a multi-participant ledger would benefit their business. They should look for areas of their business where there are needs for secure transaction flows. Those are ripe for its use, and if they want to learn more or join the pilots, many are welcome.

To attend the future Becker question and answer session, contact Jackie Drees at [email protected]

Other IT health articles:
The role of Blockchain in the digital transformation of health care: Jeff Fochtman of Seagate Technology shares his views
3 key thoughts on the potential of blockchain for health data management
How health care will benefit from the blockchain: 3 answers to key questions

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