Given that we expect the next move in health to represent the acquisition of digital technologies – either to improve the patient’s condition, or to improve the efficiency of health care tasks – it is important that we focus the current challenges on the exchange and accessibility of data so as not to become an obstacle to progress. In this context, data blocks can be the main savior of this industry.
There are 26 different medical recording systems used in Boston (USA), each system having its own language for presentation and data sharing. Key information is therefore scattered across multiple objects and sometimes, when you need it most, is inaccessible – this is a situation that plays an important role in the US every day, which means high costs, and sometimes even the life of a patient.
How it can help hospitals?
Similarly, as John Halamaka, a co-editor of information in the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, says that the problem is solvable with customized data blocks, he agrees that his visit is recorded in the data block system – i.e. a decentralized digital book that resembles the one on which the Bitcoin originated. Instead of paying, these data blocks would record important health data in a virtual cryptographic database that would be maintained by a network of computers that are accessible to anyone who runs the software. Any indicator that the physician would put into the data blocks would become part of the patient’s record, regardless of which electronic system the doctor would use – so it could be used by all health professionals without any compatibility problems.
Healthcare professionals can obtain the most from the acquisition of data block technologies. To begin with, “Blockchain” enables the installation of all forms of data. This means that it can include not only prescriptions of medicines prescribed by the doctor and records of treatment, but also information on diet, exercise and records of domestic measurements (eg blood pressure in patients with arterial hypertension) brought in by patients. The presence of such longitudinal patient data in the time of healthcare professionals will enable a better interpretation of the disease symptoms and a regulation of effective treatment adapted to the patient.
How can it help the patient?
Currently, doctors rely on treatment data from different patients when prescribing medicines. The likelihood of success of such medicines is 50%. In many cases, doctors are waiting for the patient’s response when changing the drug. With the availability of longitudinal patient data, doctors would know in advance which treatment is more appropriate for the patient according to his medical history.
If it were to be implemented on a larger scale, data blocks could significantly reduce the cost of healthcare in the world. In addition, it can allow multiple participants to selectively access patient data, thus avoiding the risk of this information. IBM’s research report highlights the following areas of nursing care that can benefit from data blocks: clinical research records, patient records, regulatory compliance, medical device data integration, treatment records, billing and claims, asset management and contract management.