Blockchain technology projects are in the works for a group of health care organizations in the United States to streamline the disjointed patient information transfers and storage practices that result when patients receive care from multiple providers.
Broken Health Care Data Costs Billions
The United States health care system would boast diversity and a competitive edge by remaining a privately run industry, but the mismatched processes are costing major losses in efficiency and accurate patient data.
It is estimated that “$2.1 billion is spent annually across the health care system chasing and maintaining provider data.”
Primary Blockchain Use-case
There are many potential use-cases for blockchain technology beyond the push for cryptocurrencies, but few have such clear cut benefits as with health care directories.
Five major health care related organizations have developed a program to assess the viability of a universal data network. Blockchain technology would bring optimal security to medical records, reduce total storage space and guarantee accurate information to base medical treatments.
Each individual’s records would exist on a blockchain network accessible to the organizations involved. This also negates any situation where updates to patient data are not applied across every chain of their medical records, because there would only be one history to maintain.
Between the five companies involved in the project, they account for thousands of hospitals around the country, medical research applications and administrative services that are partnered with hundreds of private hospital brands.
- Humana – focuses on health plan development for individuals and communities
- Multiplan – uses field analytics to reduce medical costs to the individual and insurer
- Optum – applies integrated solutions to improve overall care practices
- Quest Diagnostics – processes clinical lab results to improve disease treatments
- UnitedHealthcare – maintains 6,500 facilities throughout the U.S.
These separate entities will be able to apply the shared data to more general administrative or process functions, on top of individual treatments, to work towards a more streamlined and effective health care system overall.