Hashgraph Healthcare Use Case
Discussion: Since the US Federal Mandate of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) in 2014, physicians and hospitals have had to adopt to a completely electronic form of record keeping in order to receive Medicare billing reimbursement from the Federal Government. This has led to a national revision of medical record keeping throughout private practices, hospital-based practices and regional healthcare provider networks. The cost incurred for the transition towards a fully electronic form with internet accessibility of all patient medical records is in the billions of US dollars.
The benefits of having all patients with electronic records is fairly well recognized, however, the security of that information is at greater risk than recognized. An international electronic medical record system would require a very sophisticated and robust security of that system to protect patient and physician information. Current medical databases are centralized to their providers or healthcare networks and are vulnerable to data-breaching due to their siloed placement in single databases that only require a single security breach.
What is needed in the new era of medical record-keeping is a public network that is capable of providing optimal security through cryptography and distributed technology. Hedera Hashgraph is a distributed ledger technology (DLT) that has the performance specifications that can meet the 21st century demands of modern medicine and its record-keeping requirements. What’s more is that Hashgraph technology also permits novel solutions in other issues in healthcare such as licensing certification verification, supply-chain management, clinical trial registries and pharmaceutical source verification.
Healthcare Medical Records: In the current state of medical records, patient data is usually stored in local databases of private offices or in a cloud-based database architecture within a larger healthcare network. Patients must grant permission to any healthcare provider in order for any EMR transfer of information to another individual. This process is usually written, faxed, or electronic, but is usually a time-consuming step for all patients in need of records transfers. If a patient has records from a provider network that they need at an out-of-network hospital, their EMRs may not be compatible or interconnected. Record transfers in those cases usually have to be faxed or printed and sent to the other facility.
What is need in place of this disorganized and poorly integrated patient information system in healthcare is a national public database that can offer the security of information required in the 21st century of sophisticated cyber attacks. Furthermore, this public DLT could be a system that is secure, but also able to offer features such as biometric authentication to patients for their own self-sovereign medical records. If patients were enabled with their own records then privacy could be in the control of the individual and not the centralized services that usually manage them.
If a medical record system was built with the Hedera Hashgraph network, the security of patient record access could be efficiently managed in a cryptographically-secure private key service that patients could allow their providers alone the access to. What’s more is that the patient could also confirm complete deletion of former diagnoses that are no longer experienced and have better control of the accuracy of their records. Physicians and providers could be given special authentication to alter records and leave a clear, transparent record of their actions. Increasing transparency while still maintaining privacy is a remarkable feature of the decentralized Hashgraph network.
Healthcare License & Credentialing: Any licensed healthcare provider, from physicians to nurses, requires an extensive paper trail of certifications of education, achievements, privileges and continuing medical education credits to maintain licensure in the United States. The number of required documents for an average physician to receive privileges to work in a community hospital can be between 15-30 total certificates per application. The process is time-consuming, expensive (~$100-200 USD) and usually takes up to 90 days to process the application and verify the documents. Hospital credentialing is an administrative intensive process of paperwork that includes investigating all documents for authenticity, confirming statements, claims and education as well as current experience. It is a very inefficient process in most community hospitals and takes many providers, physicians and assistants hours per week to complete. In some cases, fraudulent documents have been submitted and accepted by some hospitals, permitting the criminal impersonation of a physician to perform surgery for years.
The US healthcare professional credentialing system is not nationalized, nor decentralized and is independently managed by local hospitals and provider networks. It is inefficient, slow, expensive and vulnerable to fraud.
Intiva Health on Hashgraph: A novel improvement to the physician and nurse credentialing process is based on the public DLT of Hedera Hashgraph, called Intiva Health. This is a startup healthcare provider-centric application that uses the decentralized ledger of Hedera Hashgraph to store physician, advanced providers, nurses and technologists credentials. Intiva Health has licensed providers submit all of their credentialing information to build their profile and use the network to subsequently send to hospitals for instant credentialing certification. The typical credentialing cycle takes up to 90 days to complete for new applicants to a hospital or healthcare center.
With Intiva Health, providers could be approved in minutes with a stateproof, or other secured summary statements from the Hashgraph Network validating their credentials and good standing. The cost would be significantly less in transaction and application fee due to the efficiency. This could reduce months of wasted time for hospital credentialing administrators. The distributed ledger benefits could also extend to providers for monitoring and storing their continuing medical education (CME) credits, which are a separate licensing requirement for all providers. CMEs are also a public verifiable certification that could be hosted in a public DLT for transparency and better public record-keeping. Link:https://intivahealth.com/credentialing/
There are many benefits to be seen in the medical community with the advent of decentralized networks like Hedera Hashgraph. The future of healthcare looks brighter with distributed ledgers permitting a better connected, more secure and rapid information access network for patients and their providers.