August 13, 2021

Category: Healthcare Industry, Physicians

IN A NUTSHELL:

  • Hashgraph Distributed Ledger Technology has promising uses in healthcare
  • Offers many solutions for data management
  • Provides a high level of cybersecurity in an industry hit hard by ransomware

Despite a global pandemic, the healthcare industry persevered as new drugs are saving lives, patient care models are adapting to demand, and healthcare workers are working longer hours than they have in their entire careers—yet one significant piece of the puzzle is missing.

Healthcare administration operates within a complex spiderweb of data, documents, information, and files which are in dire need of organization and decentralization. Not much has changed over the years—leading to workplace burnout, compliance breaches from human error, and large-scale cybersecurity attacks.

The golden question is how healthcare data management can be improved while maintaining the high level of cybersecurity needed to protect sensitive patient information.

The best solution in the healthcare technology marketplace is Hashgraph distributed ledger technology (DLT). A distributed ledger is a collection of transactions maintained in a decentralized form across multiple computers, called “nodes.”

Each node replicates and stores the ledger and updates itself independently. These ledgers are not maintained by any one person or group. Instead, updates are independently recorded by each node. Nodes vote to achieve consensus, which is when all nodes agree on the order and content of transactions added to the ledger.

Distributed ledger technology is secure, immutable, and easily accessible. It could transform healthcare administration, reduce workplace burnout, increase revenue for facilities, and most importantly improve patient care by expediting many of the clerical workflows which take weeks to complete with standard processes.

These are a few of the ways DLT could transform data management and administrative workflows in healthcare. A real-world example of how DLT can be implemented in healthcare is already used by hospitals and healthcare networks of all sizes across the country.

Ready Doc™ by Intiva Health leverages Swirlds™ hashgraph to provide a more efficient, less expensive method to verify and share medical credentials—expediting the process from months to minutes. The technology enables top-of-the-line document security and immutable time stamps that are faster and more secure than standard credentialing platforms.

When completed using electronic spreadsheets or paper documents, the credentialing process can take several weeks or more than a month. This prevents doctors and nurses from seeing patients and facilities from being reimbursed by insurance companies.

The hashgraph consensus algorithm, developed by Swirlds™ Co-Founder Leemon Baird, is a private permissioned ledger that provides the high level of security and scalability required in the healthcare industry. Healthcare providers and administrators can upload, store, share, and access credentialing documents and applications within Ready Doc™ on any computer.

Hashgraph DLT removes any doubt concerning the validity of all documents uploaded into the system and uses asynchronous byzantine fault tolerance (ABFT) for document security.

There are additional benefits of Hashgraph DLT in healthcare aside from credentialing. Due to the volume of duplicate documents needed for various functions within the healthcare industry, distributed ledger technology is ideal for storing and reusing data for multiple purposes without the need to manually re-enter information.

This saves time, money, and reduces the risk of human error for processes such as payer enrollment, reporting, privileging, and other common administrative tasks in healthcare. The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) is a global advisor, thought leader and member association committed to transforming the health ecosystem. The organization highlights two use cases for DLT in healthcare:

  1. Financials, insurance, and records
  2. Health supply chain management.

A Frontiers in Medicine report found data that supports DLT as a solution for Personal Health Records (PHR). According to the Department of Health and Human Services, a PHR is defined as “an electronic application through which patients can maintain and manage their health information (and that of others for whom they are authorized) in a private, secure, and confidential environment.”

The report found distributed ledger technology could benefit PHR with privacy of information, decentralized ownership, and a strong identity.

The common characteristic among all use cases of distributed ledger technology in healthcare is the level of data security provided by the hashgraph consensus algorithm. Health care facilities, networks, and plans of all sizes are constant targets for cyberattacks due to the value of patient medical records.

The number of healthcare breaches nearly surpassed 600 in 2020, according to the Healthcare Breach Report 2021, released by data security company Bitglass. This is an increase of more than 55 percent compared to the previous year and resulted in the exposure of personally identifiable information (PHI) for more than 24 million people.

While these numbers certainly raise eyebrows, they are not terribly surprising when one considers the monetary value of PHI. On the black market, a single patient health record could sell for around $1,000. The personal data within a medical record makes large scale attacks worth millions.

While the financial toll for the facility and the patients resulting from the attack itself is already high, recovering from such an incident tacks on even more money. Health care organizations spend on-average $1.4 million to recover from a cyberattack.

The most important step any facility or health care network can take is to prevent cyberattacks from occurring in the first place is utilizing the security provided by distributed ledger technology. Learn how Ready Doc™ can benefit providers and facilities by scheduling a demo online today.

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