In recent years, there has been a flurry of excitement surrounding the use of blockchain technology to improve health care. Despite the buzz, most executives and health service providers are not blockchain experts.
During a discussion in the margins of Becker's 4th annual IT + Revenue Cycle health conference, Chicago-based health technology leaders gave an overview of blockchain technology on September 22nd, describing various opportunities for health care use. .
The speakers included:
- Paul Quigley, principal and CEO of BlocLab Enterprises
- Aaron Symanski, chief technology officer at Change Healthcare
Here are five main points of the discussion:
Editor's note: the answers have been slightly modified due to their length and clarity.
1. Blockchain is not a standalone technology. "Blockchain is an enabling technology, not a technology that stands alone," said Quigley. It works using smart contracts, which is a computer protocol designed to facilitate or digitally verify a contract. These contracts allow a credible transaction without a third party. The transactions are traceable and irreversible.
2. Simple blockchain does not encrypt data from others. "Encryption technology is used in blockchain, but the data stored on the blockchain is not encrypted," said Symanski. "So if you're thinking of this as a way to protect data from other people's sight … Do not go that road with simple blockchain."
3. Blockchain can be used to track a resource. One of the main uses for blockchain is the tracking of an asset, be it a claim, a payment or supplies through the health network. "You can track that good by moving through the network," said Symanski. For example, Change Healthcare took advantage of blockchain technology to enable healthcare professionals and payers to track the status in real time of presentation and remittance of requests.
4. The potential of Blockchain to protect data integrity. By design, a blockchain is resistant to change because it is located on a decentralized ledger, which means that there is no centralized version of data for a hacker's corruption, said Mr. Quigley. As a result, this technology has the potential to protect data integrity.
5. Blockchain has the potential to be great in the healthcare industry, but some articles out there still inflated its value. "A lot of technology goes through this cycle: when it's presented for the first time, people think it will solve all the problems we've ever had, but then everyone gets burnt by saying," Here are three or four things that's good, we add for the portfolio … is another utility … not the technology that will solve everything, "said Symanski.
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