How Will Blockchain Impact the EHRs of the Future?
One of the most complex areas of healthcare has little to do with actual patient treatment, believe it or not. Instead, it has everything to do with patient data and electronic records management. This is where many experts believe the next frontier for electronic health records (EHR) will be heavily influenced by blockchain.
What is blockchain?
Blockchain was invented to help keep track of financial transactions while securing them using cryptographic techniques. It creates an ongoing “chain” of content that cannot be deleted or modified, but only added to, with each transaction being time-stamped for added security. If you’ve ever heard of Bitcoin, then you have also, by association, heard of blockchain, as it was initially created specifically for tracking Bitcoin.
What is the current EHR challenge that blockchain may solve?
Currently, there is no single, unified way to track patient information across all sources throughout their lifetime. Because of this, attempting to reconcile data from tens or even hundreds of data points is nearly impossible. Over a patient’s lifetime, they will utilize multiple different pharmacies, doctors, specialists, testing labs, hospitals, health systems and health insurance companies — often in more than one state, and sometimes, more than one country. This leads to complications in patient care because there is no single way to view all of this data in one place. There are times when it’s not even clear who recorded the data, or when.
How can blockchain technology be used to strengthen EHRs?
Because blockchain can secure time-stamped patient data all in one central location, there may come a time when it will be integrated into all EHR systems in order to simplify and better secure patient data without requiring manual data entry.
It can also be used to give patients more control over their own information, including what and how much they want to share with whom. And because blockchain encrypted information cannot be modified or deleted, only appended onto, it ensures complete integrity and security of medical records from day one of its use.
Healthcare, EHRs and technology.
While the common use of blockchain technology may still be fairly far out on the horizon, there are other integrations that work with healthcare systems’ and practices’ EHR software to make practices run more efficiently. For instance, Aquina’s Via integration allows providers to be paid immediately when processing claims, decreasing gaps in revenue, and our Curae solution gives patients more options to easily finance their own care as an “invisible” part of the intake process. Both of these integrations utilize currently-available technologies to speed up and simplify revenue collection in distinct ways, strengthening practices’ bottom lines.
Curious to find out more about our Via or Curae integrations for health care providers? Simply visit Aquina Health today to get started.