If the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “blockchain” is Bitcoin, you’re not alone. Cryptocurrencies were built on blockchain’s system of using distributed, permissioned computing to create a virtual ledger that could be used to confirm and ensure the accuracy and security of transactions.
In the healthcare industry, where the security of patients’ protected health information (PHI) is paramount, blockchain offers an exciting platform for securely sharing that information between multiple partner organizations that cooperate to provide seamless quality and continuity of care.
The concept is relatively simple, but the underlying technology is complex and processor-intensive. In the case of a healthcare network, a blockchain-enabled Master Patient Index is used to securely share the patient’s electronic health record (EHR) between the primary, specialty and emergency providers. The system ensures that the information is not only secure, but absolutely current, since any information updated by a member organization is immediately reflected in—and available to—other partner organizations with permission. The cryptographic nature of blockchain means that the patient’s PHI is absolutely secure and portable as needed, so compliance with regulations such as HIPAA and HITECH is assured.
Because the patient’s EHR is updated and available immediately to participating partner providers, it virtually eliminates not only the risk associated with document handling (both in terms of security and errors that can be incurred by common transfer methods such as faxing or emails) but also the labor-intensive methods of managing paper files and documents.
Watch the video about how Sirius is using blockchain technologies to improve quality of care, enhance security, reduce administrative overhead, minimize the reliance upon paper records, and improve the overall patient experience.
Sirius worked with a major Midwest hospital system to develop a technology proof of concept of blockchain for the representative use case “patient consent management.” The concept and execution are described in a Sirius white paper and case study that provide an in-depth look at the concepts, technologies and workflows involving deployment of blockchain in healthcare networks with multiple partners. The white paper and case study are available for download today.