We have known for quite some time now that the healthcare system was facing a looming crisis and an aging population that would tax our health delivery system. A silver Tsunami as it had been referred to and discussed, a basic fact we had all been preparing for that many older Americans would be leaving the workforce and entering Medicare placing a greater strain on our Hospitals, staff, budget, and resources. A silver Tsunami with perhaps a bit of a silver lining we thought we might just have time to prepare for that influx.
Rethinking and replanning business as usual in the healthcare system as many understand for quite some time needed to be done and was part of the preparation at hand. Opening our minds and scope of care to Healthcare IT innovation like remote monitoring of patient’s conditions from home, telemedicine connecting with your clinician by a video, mobile health for remote residents, and healthcare Dapps were all being carefully planned and executed across the globe with integrations of Blockchain Technology keeping many of these innovations safer and more secure, as we knew such a tsunami of innovation would certainly produce massive data needing handling and security by sophisticated technology like Blockchain. We were certainly beginning slowly but surely to get the bigger picture. Thinking we only needed time, slow careful preparation and trickle-down awareness.
Little did we know in December 2019 a Tsunami of much greater magnitude than the silver one was brewing in China. A Tsunami leaving no time for careful preparation a Pandemic that has instead ripped the bandaid off our healthcare system and exposed our deepest inefficiencies and vulnerabilities. What might be lessons unfolding that we need to pay attention to once we can exit crisis mode?
Lesson 1- Centralize Your Medical Data via highly encrypted decentralized and distributed protocols to Manage, Share And Track Your Healthcare Data. Telemedicine and The Pandemic exposed this vulnerability. Find out how Patientory is leading the way and preparing us for lessons learned
Patientory Association has already begun the challenging work. Patientory Association a global nonprofit healthcare member organization facilitating the adoption of emerging technology in the Healthcare Industry. Connecting healthcare industry adopters of the PTOYMatrix Blockchain network which comprise the PTOYMatrix consortium. The PTOYMatrix Blockchain network securely stores healthcare information in real-time. Technology perhaps on our wish list today but what will certainly be on our standard of care list tomorrow, a lesson learned!
Covid-19 Blockchain Use Cases
Telemedicine- As mentioned we knew we would need to be expanding in that direction and we were slowly preparing for that inevitability. But as the pandemic grew and preparation needed to take a less cautious back seat the Trump administration and the Health and Human Services Department announced unprecedented steps for Americans to access healthcare through telehealth. Essentially waiving HIPAA penalties for good faith use of services during the crises via teleconferencing, skype, Facebook for access to care. Now don’t get me wrong I understand we are in full-blown crises that are requiring some desperate measures. But let’s not forget these drastic measures expose our vulnerabilities and our inability to protect patient PHI in a crisis. Skype, Facebook with exchanges of unprotected PHI coupled with siloed ineffective, inefficient healthcare advice is certainly to have far-reaching consequences.
Telemedicine was just one example of vulnerabilities and cracks exposed in our healthcare system in implementing technology that we have not properly prepared for. The pandemic brought a sense of urgency for technology rollout without proper preparation. This must not be a lesson lost as we assess the damages once the fight to survive has ended. As we turn that corner globally may we all have that same sense of urgency felt now and be on the same page for raising our healthcare system to a higher standard of care allowing the implementation of innovation protecting us tomorrow from mistakes and vulnerabilities of today. A paradigm shift that will require strong leadership, broad awareness and community building.
These are additional examples of the need to impose a decentralized and distributed system to efficiently manage medical data in crisis situations:
- Logistics – Supply chain management for limited stock items: Test kits, Ventilators, PPE
- Information Exchange – Allow for data sharing across different hospital systems to enabling coordinated collaboration (Case numbers, resource availability, staff availability)
- Credentialing – Tracking and verifying credentialing information and provider availability
- Public Health – Tracking COVID19 cases, updating preventative recommendations, closures and testing information.
Lesson: Decentralized medical data in one place to access your information in a crisis to safely, and securely exchange with your physician, pharmacy, a hospital for efficient coordination of care. Because whether we are in a crisis or not we ideally want to maintain access to our data and to keep it secure.
Aftermaths of Technology & Pandemics
The realization that physicians should be able to practice across state lines, that telehealth should not simply be limited to rural areas and that everyday technologies such as FaceTime and Skype can be used for patient interactions, have all been accepted in short order. In a time of deadly crisis the ability to reuse personal protective gear has been approved by the highest regulatory body in the land also speaks to the shifting reality that we currently find ourselves in. While none of us can now the long term consequences of these events, there are some fundamental changes that will certainly occur. Our relationship with healthcare delivery will likely be changed as more and more people have their first telemedicine visit during this crisis.
Both providers and patients will recognize the benefits and value of this form of care. The repercussions of these forced experiences may extend beyond the crisis and may impact the insurance industry as patients and doctors become more comfortable with a consumer to provider model. We are seeing many industries opening up their services, products and software to consumers for “free” this may be an accelerant to the modern business model of providing previously charged services in order to gain usage rights to the valuable data and information that comes with utilization of these services.