Connecting Medical Records Without Compromising on Privacy

Electronic Health Record (EHR) adoption rates are soaring, which is fantastic for an industry that is often criticized for being slow to adopt new technology. Less than a decade ago, nine out of ten doctors in the U.S. updated their patients’ records by hand and stored them in color-coded files. By the end of 2017, approximately 90% of office-based physicians nationwide will be using electronic health records (EHRs).

 

Health records are changing quickly — however, concerns over the privacy and security breaches of EHRs especially electronic protected health information (ePHI) continues to plague the healthcare industry—and the trend shows no signs of abating.

 

Although little evidence exists with which to gauge the vulnerability of electronic health information to outside attacks – the numbers speak for themselves. More than 25 million patient records were reportedly compromised as of October 2016. And then, in November, the cases spiked: There were 57 health data breaches—the highest of all months in 2016, according to the Protenus Breach Barometer. Data breaches stemmed from hacking, malware and ransomware agents as well breaches caused by inside employees – such as theft of a portable device for example.

 

Connecting Medical Records

Health and government organizations spend a significant amount of time and money setting up and managing traditional information systems and data exchanges; requiring resources to continuously troubleshoot issues, update field parameters, perform backup and recovery measures, and extract information for reporting purposes.

 

Federal laws and incentive programs have made healthcare data more accessible, in response to hospital pushback regarding EMR implementation. However, the vast majority of hospital systems still can’t easily (or safely) share their data. You only need to ask your primary care doctor to share information with your allergist or surgeon, to know what a headache this is.

 

As a result, doctors are spending more time typing than actually talking to patients. Physician burnouts jumped from 45 to 54 percent between 2011 and 2014, according to a Mayo Clinic study.

 

The new healthcare paradigm demands the need for effective and optimal care delivery for patients to yield better care outcomes. To do this, the most popular strategy circulating among healthcare technologists is blockchain.

 

There has been a lot of buzz about blockchain transforming healthcare recently. At Patientory, we are building a blockchain powered health information exchange (HIE) that can unlock the true value of interoperability and cyber security.

 

Our system has the potential to eliminate the friction and costs of current third party intermediaries, when considering population health management. There are promises of improved data integrity, decentralization and disintermediation of trust, and reduced transaction costs.  

 

Being able to coordinate patient care via a blockchain HIE essentially alleviates unnecessary services and duplicate tests with lowering costs and improvements in efficiencies of the continuum care cycle.

 

Without Compromising on Privacy

Implementation of blockchain technology to ensure and enhance data security for all the medical records associated with the system can achieve zero health breaches and ultimate decentralization of record ownership. The process of encrypting data when sent to database using different algorithms and decrypting it during the retrieval will be used in our solution..

 

This gives it unprecedented security benefits. Hacking one block in the chain is impossible without simultaneously hacking every other block in the chain’s chronology. This makes blockchain incredibly appealing to the doctors and hospitals that need secure access to a patient’s entire health history.

 

Now is the right time to take a fresh approach to data sharing in healthcare.  A patient-centered protocol supported by blockchain technology, Patientory is changing the way healthcare stakeholders manage electronic medical data and interact with clinical care teams.

 

Through use of our mobile app, Patientory users create an individual profile. Their medical information is then stored on a secure, HIPAA-compliant blockchain platform, allowing them to connect with care providers as well as other patients who have similar health issues or concerns. This allows patients greater control over their overall health across multiple care teams, both inside and outside of the hospital.

 

We’re not only working to fill the gaps in our health system, but we’re looking to play a vital role in the future of healthcare.

 


Also published on Medium.

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