Decentralization in Healthcare is beyond Data Security and Ownership

Patients, Physicians, and Stakeholders all benefit from Blockchain Technology and Decentralized Operations

Adam Tabriz, MD
Apr 11 · 9 min read
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

ecentralization of data encourages transparency, culpability, and, most of all, efficient stewardship. A Myriad of stakeholders, including physicians, nurses, and administrators, are involved in the patient care synopsis. They all need to benefit from accurate medical records while confident that their personal information is private, secure, and abuse-resistant. It is feasible by ensuring each user can maintain their data block along the chain of patient care. Whenever desirable, all users must be able to connect to the “block” of others. Hence, everyone can promptly get admission to all the necessary data and adequately deliver quality care. Blockchain merely does just that!

The Decentralized System of Governance is essential to sustain Efficiency in large scale Healthcare Delivery

Greater autonomy empowers constituents. Decentralization is a model of organizational structure where individual members are assigned. The daily operations and decision-making responsibilities in a decentralized organization are authorized by top management to middle and lower-level managers. Those above free up top management to focus more on significant developments.

Hands can be empowered by having more autonomy to make their judgments, providing them with a sense of status, and making them feel as if they have more input in the organization’s direction. It also allows them to use their knowledge and experience better and implement some of their ideas. A decentralized organization requires transparency, accountability, and, most of all, decentralized data management systems. Blockchain technology provides just that! It is a structure that stores transactional records, also known as the block, in several databases, known as the “chain,” in a network connected through peer-to-peer nodes or ‘digital ledger.

Decentralizing takes any of the business owners’ daily business operations workloads by allowing others to perform such tasks; this frees her up to spend more time on big-picture items, such as planning for expansion meetings with important clients. Though it can be challenging for some leaders to allow this type of suppleness, the awards can be ample for both employees and business owners via decentralized organizations proxy decision-making and operational duties to the managers of each segment subunits the system. They often do so out of necessity as they unfold.

Using Decentralized Organizations to Control Operations has many advantages. By default, it promotes improved expertise. It means, rather than having one handler, or a group of handlers, trying to make decisions for a wide range of responsibilities, decentralized organizations delegate decision-making authority to local managers who have expertise in a particular service or product.

In a decentralized system, decisions are made much faster without waiting for the organization’s approval of the uppermost authority. In that way, the system refocuses the top management’s responsibilities to focus on broader company-wide issues, such as long-range strategic planning.

Managers who are given more ability and the control needed to bring about their duty tend to be more inspired than those who simply follow the commands allotted by top management.

A Decentralized System requires Blockchain for Optimal Efficacy

Blockchain is a secure and reliable platform for secure data sharing in application areas, including healthcare systems. Moreover, this work also formulates numerous workflows in the healthcare ecology using Blockchain for improved data management. Different medical roadmaps have been premeditated and implemented using the Ethereum blockchain platform, which involves complex medical procedures like surgery and clinical trials. It also includes accessing and managing a large amount of medical data.

For decades, the increasing socioeconomic globalization has been perpetually changing the governance landscape. Increasing technical domain and functional differentiation seem to be the major players in that transition. However, the authority also needs to adjust to the digital realm’s technological novelties in a broader sense and increase blockchain know-how. Due to the use of and reliance on digital networks, decentralization and blockchain technology are increasingly shaping our societies and power relationships. The impacts of technologies as administration tools are increasingly substantial. That pertains to all contemporary power affairs characterized by private players’ prevalence that provide communication networks for other private players.

Today our society is moving towards something called Datafication and Blockchain Technology. The latter pertains to the creation, collection, dissemination, and dispersion of all sects of information in the digital realm, which no longer relies exclusively on social processes. Instead, it relies more on technology. Distributed Ledger System promises to reform and improve logistics and help manage digital identity in a decentralized manner.

While information is crucial for social coordination, i.e., digital data are the modern epitome of health information for governance. That means that the conditions of the digital domain substantially affect management.

Constructing the digital domain’s governance requires conceptualizing the relevant aspects of authority affairs within the healthcare domain.

This new perspective on governance as networked but decentralized opens up new policy mechanisms such as creating new platforms for counterbalancing emergent digital performers. The healthcare management structure in technology networks displays the fluid characteristics that depict decentralized network administration.

Photo by panumas nikhomkhai from Pexels

Blockchain benefits Patients and Doctors alike

Blockchain’s advancement through revolutionizing data accession, storage, and sharing has laid a scientific foundation for better medical treatment, personalized healthcare, and precision medicine. Blockchain has facilitated the process of medical procedures faster and the delivery of services economically. It identifies new ways to share distributed views of health data and to test whether or not mobile devices engage individuals more in their healthcare, thus promoting the preference of precision medicine, enhanced health, and disease prevention.

Blockchain potentially engages millions of individuals, healthcare providers, medical research institutions, market research companies, doctors, patients, insurance companies to share health data ledgers. In recognition of Blockchain technology, especially in encryption keys via node addresses interoperability hurdles that we have faced for decades since the advancement of Software as a service solution (SAAS).

Today, all stakeholders can share vast amounts of genetic, diet, lifestyle, environmental, and health data securely and privately using a decentralized data system. Wellness applications of Distributed Ledger Technology will help health professionals put together wellness strategy campaigns for their staff that was hard to implement before. It will enable physicians to review data in real-time quickly and recommend treatment plans easily shared by other experts, cutting down on potential errors.

Furthermore, Blockchain offers substantial potential to advance how patient health records are handled in data security, traceability, and automation by smart contracts. With particular attention to the latter, i.e., intelligent contract computer application (or a transaction protocol) will enable a stakeholder-oriented Blockchain system to execute automatically, control, or document legally relevant circumstances and actions conferring to the footings of a contract or an agreement. Smart contracts’ objectives are reducing the need for trusted intermediaries, negotiations, and enforcement expenses. It will help reduce fraud losses, as well as the decrease in ill-disposed and unintentional exceptions.

Blockchain and decentralization go beyond merely managing patient data to trailing drugs through the supply chain; thus, Blockchain in healthcare could solve some of the healthcare industry’s biggest obstacles. For instance, Billing- and insurance-related losses are an estimated 18% of total national health expenditures.

The American Medical Association (AMA) has indicated that more than a quarter of physician practices had to wait over three business days for prior authorization permission from a patient’s insurer to cover a medication. Blockchain, aligned with data standards, potentially speeds up some of these processes and lessens expenses. One expanse where this might be conceivable is in claims management, where several intermediaries are focused on regulating data, following complex and variable schemes. Another example; Chronicled, the MediLedger project owner, adopted a closed blockchain system to track who touched what drug at what time.

Top 5 Growth Opportunities for Blockchain Technologies in Healthcare Domain by Use Case

Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) and Claim Processing

Blockchain reduces the administrative burden through Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT-based) transparency and traceability for better claims adjudication process. Integrating DLTs with smart contracts and Deep learning tools can empower payers and clinicians with real-time data to design value-based records and increase data liquidity to support a decentralized health insurance marketplace.

Adopted from Global Blockchain Technology Market in the Healthcare Industry, 2018–2022; Healthcare Industry Assesses Blockchain Potential to Optimize Healthcare Workflows and Improve Outcome-based Care Delivery Models K31A-52 October 2019. Global Transformational Health Research Team at Frost & Sullivan. https://www.changehealthcare.com/content/dam/change-healthcare/corporate-site/about/innovation/blockchain/frost-and-sullivan---blockchain-report.pdf

Physician and Clinician Credentialing

Blockchain technology helps the healthcare industry by eliminating redundancy workload while improving coordination and concurrency of data. One can expedite physician onboarding cycle time while reducing revenue Losses for hospitals and clinics. More so, the physician credentialing marketplace model will revolutionize the emerging virtual care delivery paradigm. It will enable direct recruitment and remuneration for new pre-credentialed healthcare professionals.

Adopted from Global Blockchain Technology Market in the Healthcare Industry, 2018–2022; Healthcare Industry Assesses Blockchain Potential to Optimize Healthcare Workflows and Improve Outcome-based Care Delivery Models K31A-52 October 2019. Global Transformational Health Research Team at Frost & Sullivan. https://www.changehealthcare.com/content/dam/change-healthcare/corporate-site/about/innovation/blockchain/frost-and-sullivan---blockchain-report.pdf

Drug and Device Supply Chain Management

Blockchain systems improve the pharmaceutical drug supply chain’s derivation and reduce counterfeits, ensuring compliance with sterilization ordinances. Integration of DLTs with smart contracts Internet of Things (IoT) will increase quality compliance and visibility for temperature-sensitive biologics drugs’ logistics.

Adopted from Global Blockchain Technology Market in the Healthcare Industry, 2018–2022; Healthcare Industry Assesses Blockchain Potential to Optimize Healthcare Workflows and Improve Outcome-based Care Delivery Models K31A-52 October 2019. Global Transformational Health Research Team at Frost & Sullivan. https://www.changehealthcare.com/content/dam/change-healthcare/corporate-site/about/innovation/blockchain/frost-and-sullivan---blockchain-report.pdf

Patient Health Record and Health Data Exchange

Blockchain-based longitudinal health records improve clinical care coordination. It increases patients’ control over their health data; provides better data integration and reliability for patient engagement initiatives. Decentralized health data networks improve data liquidity to empower Artificial Intelligence technology (AI) to digest a large amount of data to validate further and scale up their insight platforms.

Adopted from Global Blockchain Technology Market in the Healthcare Industry, 2018–2022; Healthcare Industry Assesses Blockchain Potential to Optimize Healthcare Workflows and Improve Outcome-based Care Delivery Models K31A-52 October 2019. Global Transformational Health Research Team at Frost & Sullivan. https://www.changehealthcare.com/content/dam/change-healthcare/corporate-site/about/innovation/blockchain/frost-and-sullivan---blockchain-report.pdf

Research and Clinical Trials

Distributed ledgers source data verification and notarization, reduce the time of clinical trial outcome switching, data snooping, and selective reporting. It also presents a secure platform for storing and managing patients’ consent to share personal health information with researchers. DLT and smart contract-based federated research marketplace enable the trade of Research and development (R&D) assets under research commons.

Adopted from Global Blockchain Technology Market in the Healthcare Industry, 2018–2022; Healthcare Industry Assesses Blockchain Potential to Optimize Healthcare Workflows and Improve Outcome-based Care Delivery Models K31A-52 October 2019. Global Transformational Health Research Team at Frost & Sullivan. https://www.changehealthcare.com/content/dam/change-healthcare/corporate-site/about/innovation/blockchain/frost-and-sullivan---blockchain-report.pdf

Decentralization is giving the Power back to its Stakeholders

Unfortunately, today, when we talk about Blockchain and decentralization, most mainstream draw Bitcoin’s image and most data security. However, Blockchain is more than just data security. It is about ownership, control, motivation, sovereignty, flexibility, and option. Decentralization, be it for static data storage or organizational operations, is becoming more than ever fundamental, amid increasing corruption and inefficiencies across all industries. That is even more noteworthy concerning Healthcare and socioeconomic globalization efforts by large corporations.

The larger the administration system will render the centralization of information and operational hierarchy more vulnerable to meddling and error. Previous to technologies such as Blockchain, the implementation of decentralized ledger and operations carried challenges of its own. But, today, we have overcome that obstacle. So, it is time to ensure our patients’ safety, place physicians at the top rank of their industry and empower stakeholders whose visions and missions are aligned with those who genuinely want to make high-quality healthcare affordable for everyone. And until we don’t achieve that harmony in collaboration by utilizing Blockchain Technology, we will continue failing those who depend on us.

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Adam Tabriz, MD

Written by

“Peace of mind would come to all people through the universal respect for the basic human rights of everyone”

ILLUMINATION-Curated

Outstanding stories objectively and diligently selected by 40+ senior editors on ILLUMINATION

Adam Tabriz, MD

Written by

“Peace of mind would come to all people through the universal respect for the basic human rights of everyone”

ILLUMINATION-Curated

Outstanding stories objectively and diligently selected by 40+ senior editors on ILLUMINATION

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