Do you know how much blockchain technology is worth for healthcare providers? I do because I have been working in Healthcare I have worked alongside with programmers to develop digital healthcare solutions, and they all have the same flaws. There’s always somebody who can go back in the records and change them, you are not in control of your own data, and all systems have a hard time communicating with other systems so basically, it needs improvement.
Basic documentation 101
As a certified nursing assistant and consultant on digital healthcare solutions, I am qualified to write about digital healthcare solutions and the basics of documentation. We need to know a little about digital healthcare records before we can understand why blockchain can change the way we do things.
A little of my background is also required for you to understand why I talk about digital healthcare records, so I have worked in Home Care, on somatic Hospitals, and on psychiatric hospitals, so I have been around a lot of different aspects of healthcare. Both physical and mental, and when it comes to the documentation all programs I have tried have a lot of the same flaws.
The first problem I will point out with the current system in use at a big part of Danish institutions, and I know for a fact that the same problem arises in almost any healthcare system that is not entirely centralised. The exchange of data. Right now my patients can see what I write they can even complain about it but they have little to no control over it. If it is needed for treatment, I don’t need to ask permission to exchange data with and other Healthcare provider, but if I am to deliver information to another healthcare provider without being required for an exact treatment, I need to ask permission. And as it is today, we need permission in writing. Of course, it’s a good thing that we don’t just give out the data to left and right. But when I discharge a patient, I am of course needed to inform The local physician, and if they receive home care, I need to tell them, so that the homecare providers staff knows that they need to visit the patient. But I am only allowed to say that they have been discharged. of course my patient can go in on their own profile through the Danish digital joined access to the Healthcare system, which is updated with a 14 days delay. Then they can print out their records and give them to their local physician. But I cannot send the documents directly to the physician not even if the patient allows me to. I can sit down and write a summary of what has happened in the hospital which usually takes an hour to an hour and a half and then send it to the local physician, so a lot of time is wasted on writing this summary. And if you read further on you will see the possibilities of blockchain technology as a way of solving the problem where the individual patient can choose which record to send to the local physician, to the hospital and so on.
The second problem I often run into in Healthcare record keeping is a difficulty because every system tries to be everything. So if I am at the hospital the also system tries to be useful for the local physician besides that the system attempts to supply a viable program for homecare use and it is just not possible to make an efficient system that does it all. But with blockchain technology, we can get specialised systems and still have a joint record I will get more into that later in the article.
The third problem is that Healthcare record keeping is big and complex there’s a lot of aspects to a patient, and there’s more than just what we see and to get a full overview of the patients we have to look carefully through a lot of records. For this, there’s no smart way of getting a summary there’s no intelligent way of summing up the patient into one piece and to solve this problem we need more than just blockchain, but blockchain is the beginning.
The last problem is that no matter how big and complex a systems you make it’s actually possible to go back correct your mistakes without anyone knowing it even though the movement and the computer I’m using is put into a log. There are still people who have back access to the system to correct mistakes, and this back excess can also be misused to change patient records if you know little about blockchain you know this will solve the problem quickly and efficiently.
Government’s need to act
If we want a blockchain to manage our healthcare records why do we need the governments to be a part of it, well I’m not saying they should maintain the blockchain, but to remove the cash incentive from the blockchain we need to have a central authority overseeing the blockchain? We could then demand that hospitals and bigger institutions ho want access to the blockchain also takes part in maintaining the blockchain, and if we can solve the fundamental issue with storage space. We only need one chain, and to say there’s no cash incentive it’s a bit of an understatement even in public healthcare systems we aim to deliver excellent service at the lowest cost and government’s can dictate they take part in maintaining the blockchain. When we move on to look at private healthcare providers, the incentive is to deliver an excellent and quick service with a minimum of work hours so in that way to increase the profit gained from the individual patient.
The government needs to lay the groundwork and outline how the blockchain is to be used which information goes to the blockchain and which goes to local systems. And since the Department of Healthcare in whatever country that chooses to adopt such a system need to take an active role, we will have to wait sometime before we see an excellent nationwide system up and running.
More than one access
Now we know that the system needs to be a decentralised centralised system, so we know that a central authority outlines how the records are kept. So we only have one way of keeping records instead of as it is today where we have a new way for every digital solution, and this also ensures that we can have specialised systems so on their neurological ward they would have a system dedicated for neurological conditions. When it comes to record keeping these records would then be sent to the blockchain. Looking the same way as if it was sent from Any other wards, and if we employ an AI it will be able to find the relevant data in the blockchain without us having to manually look through all the records which are quite large for some patients. We would still have access to look beyond what the system to show us, but an AI system with machine learning would simply just find it for us, and by looking through the entire blockchain this type of smart system might even catch some things that the doctors don’t. Because we have a unified documentation ledger, the artificial intelligence might suggest to the doctor that a neuro patient, might have a urological disorder. We need this because when you work in one specialised field, you tend to miss some of the symptoms relating to another field, we especially see it with psychiatric patients that might have physical disorders that are not getting caught quite in time. Another benefit for the Physicians, nurses and other Healthcare staff is that a specialised system would require you to document less and since it’s a blockchain system we can get monitoring equipment to send the data directly to the blockchain, freeing up time to work directly with the patient instead of doing administrative work.
The patient is in control
By using a kind of token system we can give absolute control over the healthcare records to the patient, So if I don’t want my Primary Care physician to know what has happened while on my last stay at the hospital. I can simply through an app on the phone or on the computer, go in and say and this is not for you to see, or I can specialise it even more so I only block out the things I find embracing. Of cour, there still need to be emergency access to a person’s health records And this emergency exit should only be available to emergency rooms and emergency personnel, we can even make it simple so it only shows what allergies a patient might have, what known conditions patient might have and any ongoing treatments. Because in an emergency situation you don’t need to look through the entire record you just need to know the basics about the patient and one way we can secure the access for it is with fingerprint or retinal scan, only the accessibility of technology sets the limits.
The thing that also needs to be developed is when we take away the legal status of a person to control one’s own treatment, is a system that allows us to access all records of the patient without their consent when it is needed in my mind no doctor should be allowed to do with alone. In Denmark, we have a system where two doctors have to agree when we want to detain a patient in the psychiatric system, and if it’s outside of the psychiatric system a judge needs to approve of it, and that system also needs to be in place for the safety and security of the patient. And that is why it becomes more complicated than just creating a blockchain to create a balanced Healthcare system.
In conclusion, we have only touched the basics of a balanced Healthcare system so I would love to hear your input and what you think of a blockchain based Healthcare system will need. Leave your comment down below and don’t be afraid to speak your mind nothing is wrong even if no one agrees with you, then your opinion still matters.
Also, read our follow up article