Some healthcare facilities in Taipei have turned to blockchain technology to improve their internal processes in support of the government’s Hierarchical Medical System policy.
Medical care has come a long way. Compared to 100, or even 20, years ago, the strides made in the industry are clearly evident. While this has allowed professionals to provide more services to patients, most facilities are still left with paper-based processes prone to human error and accidents. According to the Taipei Times, this will soon change for some healthcare facilities in the city.
How Blockchain Can Benefit the Healthcare Sector
Last Thursday saw the Taipei Medical University Hospital introduce a new blockchain-based healthcare platform, which is set to offer a host of benefits to the facility. A statement by the hospital explained that the Healthcare Blockchain Platform will improve its patient-referral system and long-term care services. In addition, because the system will include data from individual healthcare networks, patients and healthcare professionals will be able to easily access medical information.
The statement added that over 100 community-based clinics were part of the initiative to find solutions to “common pain points” in the industry which include referral processes, data transfer between different medical facilities and personal patient portals.
With regard to referrals specifically, nurses would previously have to physically be available at a designated counter to manually assist patients with this process. The new platform allows patients to use a secure app to request this, allowing nurses to use their time and skills more effectively.
Patients will be afforded a high level of transparency and will “have a complete set of all their medical records, including high-resolution medical images, lab results, and clinical and health exam information.”
An especially beneficial by-product of blockchain technology is the smart contract. These self-executing contracts are particularly popular in industries that rely on traditional contracts or excessive records, like the healthcare sector. The hospital’s statement further added:
Using smart contracts, hospitals and clinics can request and authorize patient record sharing easily and securely.
A Win-Win for Medical Personnel and Patients in Taipei
According to the article, Chen Ray-jade, who is the hospital’s superintendent, said that “blockchain technology not only helps to combine electronic medical records with electronic health records from multiple hospitals and clinics, it also incorporates the additional security feature of notification and consent before any transfer takes place.”
Chen also touched on the higher level of security that blockchain would provide due to its decentralized nature.
One of the community-based clinics’ physicians, Wang Yao-ting, said that “with access to all the medical and health data of a referred patient through blockchains, doctors can gain a better understanding of their general health.”
The same can be said for the patients themselves. They’ll be able to easily access their information and be more aware of their health. The platform will also give them more independence with regard to requesting referrals.
If successful, it could make a massive impact on the overall efficiency of processes at the hospitals and clinics involved, which could, in turn, affect the level of service that patients will receive.
Do you think more hospitals should be adopting blockchain technology for their service offerings? Let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Pixabay.