Mentioning cryptocurrency and healthcare in the same sentence might make some scratch their heads. They seem like two completely different entities without any relation to one another. However, there is a correlation between the two, as cryptocurrency, like bitcoin, can be used to make purchases or entice service within the healthcare industry. Like blockchain, cryptocurrency is not managed by a central authority, making its ease of use one of its most attractive benefits.
Blockchain provides healthcare organizations and their patients with an alternative method for storing, viewing, and sharing electronic medical or health records (EMR/EHR). Blockchain is a secure digital ledger that is decentralized and usually doesn't have a singular authority. It allows a community, in this case, healthcare providers and patients, to record transactions onto a shared ledger. Each record is known as a transaction, and once a transaction is published, it cannot be changed.
Blockchain technology is changing the way information is stored, shared and viewed. What is Blockchain in healthcare? As described in a Deloitte report, it is a, "shared, immutable record of peer-to-peer transactions built from linked transaction blocks and stored in a digital ledger. Blockchain relies on established cryptographic techniques to allow each participant in a network to interact (e.g. store, exchange, and view information), without preexisting trust between the parties. In a blockchain system, there is no central authority; instead, transaction records are stored and distributed across all network participants."
When patients see their doctors, it is not uncommon for them to be referred to a specialist to better address concerns. For the specialist to assist a new patient, electronic health record (EHR) information must be exchanged between the referring practitioner and the new one. This can be risky considering the threat of EHR security breaches during the exchange process. In addition, in the United States, healthcare practitioners must only exchange EHR information using approved transfer methods outlined by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Failure to do so can result in steep fines for EHR and HIPAA violations.
The healthcare industry will forever be the target of cyberattacks due to the array of information included in the healthcare record.
With this in mind, the need for cybersecurity is not going away. It is becoming a more predominant focal point in the industry, as you will see shortly. If your organization is struggling to justify the financial cost of adding cybersecurity to yearly budgets, consider asking yourself the following questions:
Any break in the standard flow of a business can result in severe financial losses. Where do these losses stem from? According to Bleuwire, the usual suspects that can cause downtime in any business are:
Change management models are a crucial part of any organization. Healthcare settings in particular are known to be resistant to change and have a lot on the line when it comes to implementation. In order to stay competitive, it is important to know how best to implement change management strategies that will keep your organization running smoothly and efficiently. There are many different models for change management frameworks, but which ones work the best for healthcare?
Telehealth can be super convenient, effective, and affordable. With the prevalence of COVID-19, many are now more comfortable with seeking medical advice from the comfort of home, rather than visiting a physical doctor's office. Today, there are many free and confidential telehealth services run by the public health authorities across Canadian provinces and territories. Generally, these services are government-run and match patients with healthcare professionals, all via the phone. Once connected, patients can ask for medical advice on a variety of non-emergency topics. Most of the subject matter will revolve around healthcare professionals advising patients whether or not the particular condition is something that can be managed at home, or something that should be referred to in-person care.
Is your healthcare model using multiple devices or complex applications to manage patient information? This can cause many complications and consume much precious time that could otherwise go towards providing the best possible care for people in need. Instead of having to manage all these different types of pieces, your healthcare team can have more control over patient data in an easier way.
In the United States, healthcare organizations are required to abide by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996. This act provides guidelines pertaining to the handling of patient information across a number of platforms. When healthcare organizations are looking for cloud solutions to manage their data, ensuring that they are HIPAA compliant is a necessity.
The Office for Civil Rights in the United States periodically conducts HIPAA compliance audits on healthcare organizations. Most recently, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) performed audits of 166 covered entities and 41 business associates to check on compliance with selected provisions of the HIPAA Rules. Whether done through ignorance or negligence, HIPAA violations often come with large fines that can range from hundreds of thousands of dollars, to millions, depending on the severity.