I hope healthcare organizations delivered lots of TUMS and Advil to their beleaguered cybersecurity teams as a holiday bonus in 2018 – and maybe even a masseuse! With an overload of alerts, attacks and system compromises, it’s safe to say that working in a security operations center (SOC) can take both a mental and physical toll:
From 2010 to 2017, nearly 2,150 breaches involving more than 176 million patient records were reported to the Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, according to a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). During this period, the total number of breaches increased every year (except for 2015), with 199 reported in 2010 and 344 reported in 2017.
Health Wizz is an electronic file cabinet for your health records on your smartphone. We help provide the tools to help people aggregate their medical records, organize them, and format them so that they can be shared easily, seamlessly and securely on a blockchain, such as Ethereum.
It’s our body, it’s our data. Health Wizz is a secure mobile platform that provides consumers with the necessary tools for aggregating, organizing and sharing their medical health records with other family members or caregivers, as necessary, over the blockchain.
The idea to take on the big health industry interoperability problem came to Raj Sharma, Health Wizz CEO, when he was sitting in the emergency room, helplessly watching his mother undergo yet another series of unnecessary, duplicative medical tests. This was even more painful as she had already done all those tests just a day before, at the first Emergency Room, where she was admitted after a fall. Because of interoperability issues that plague the healthcare industry, the tests could not be obtained in time for her second ER visit. As Raj sat watching his mother, exhausted and annoyed with all of the time and money wasted, he thought that if he had the healthcare data in a secure, portable format, it would have saved time and money, while ensuring better, timelier care. With this idea, he and his two co-founders Sirish Bajpai (CTO) and Dr. Nitin Desai (chief medical officer), founded Health Wizz.
The blockchain is a ledger, a database that keeps everything in one place and cannot be changed without leaving a mark in the ledger in the event of information changing. According to Jacob Kostecki of Blockhead Factor, blockchain makes it perfect for the recording of both research and treatment information, as well as medical histories. “Right now information is siloed and because people know that a lot of the information contained in medical records is false, there is a lack of trust that causes delays in diagnosing and treating patients,” Kostecki said. “In a blockchain-enabled world, patients will hold their whole medical histories in a wallet — from birth to where they are now in life. These EHRs will include medical records, procedures and everything else.”
When a patient visits a doctor he or she will have access to the patient’s full records instantaneously, making diagnosing cancer, for example, much easier. But blockchains mean more to healthcare than providing assistance at the point of care. Blockchain securely shares health data, standardizes formatting and improves healthcare transactions overall. Its impact can affect every major participant in the care cycle, from patient and provider to payer, pharma and even researchers and federal regulators.
It’s not a stretch to say that blockchain is everywhere in healthcare. Its application to healthcare has not reached its full potential, but the results may be profound as it comes of age, according to industry insiders. To better understand blockchain, we asked some insiders – technology experts, investors, professors, vendor reps and physicians – about what the technology may mean to the future of healthcare.
This digital age belongs to the consumer, and in this age of the consumer, it’s imperative that businesses are consumer-centric. All services and products must revolve around the customer instead of the organization providing or delivering them. Digitization can enable this by unifying data sources and connecting processes. However, when it comes to industries such as healthcare, which deal with sensitive data, there is an evident challenge of data security.
Blockchain, a technology which rose from the hype of cryptocurrency, can address this challenge with its ability to provide secure path for data transactions. Applications of blockchain in healthcare are more real than ever before, today, owing to the changed mindset of the industry leaders and evolution of the blockchain technology itself.
It began in the 1980s with those wonderful word processors. Electric typewriters bit the dust, and health records could be entered and saved on floppy discs. This was only the beginning.
We’ve come along way, baby. As technology came to disrupt every sector of the economy, healthcare was no exception. Consider all that has happened in this sector and where we are today.
Consolidated health records in the cloud
Anyone who has been to a doctor recently understands this. That doctor may have your entire health history, from multiple providers, all in one place. This technology allows any provider to provide better care protocols according to each individual’s unique history and make recommendations for testing, etc. that will not be duplicating those already done.
Patients can also access their full health histories and provide access to family members as well. This allows more control of patients over their own healthcare and allows them to make better decisions for future care.
Use of big data for treatment protocol decisions
Now that providers have access to health data from all over the globe, they can review research studies, identify effectiveness based on specific symptoms, DNA makeups, and more. The net effect is this: research from all over the world is now available through tools that gather data, churn it, categorize it, and provide reports based on specific queries. Ultimately, better care for all can occur because of this shared data. Amy Castello, a healthcare writer for Trust My Paper, says this: “I conduct a lot of research on a number of healthcare topics. One of the most interesting is the strides that have been made in the use of big data. I see a future of customized care solutions that
Use of AI and machine learning to identify and predict disease outbreaks
When artificial intelligence is applied to bag data gathering, environmental conditions can be analyzed for their contributions to disease outbreaks. Likewise, when there are higher than average disease conditions among certain demographics or in certain geographical areas, AI can analyze data and report common characteristics that may be contributing to those outbreaks.
Development of vaccines
Every year, a number of medical reporting organizations isolate the specific viruses that have resulted in flu outbreaks. All of this information is then physically reported during a consolidated meeting, and decisions are made for the next vaccine composition. Now, all of the data can be digitally reported, and the recommended vaccine compositions determined by the use of artificial intelligence. Ultimately, this can serve to reduce some of the human “guesswork” that now occurs.
A decade ago, patients had to travel to their doctors’ offices for regular checks on chronic conditions. Now, wearable devices provide ongoing data electronically, so that patients are monitored from home, with alerts to their doctors when conditions change that they might warrant an office visit or hospitalization. Getting real-time data of this sort not only increase efficiency of care but results in lower costs for both providers and patients.
One of the primary problems existing in healthcare is the many barriers to access and delivery of care and treatment. Access to healthcare is centralized to a limited number of intermediary players in a way that is costly, non-transparent, and inefficient. It forces all of us to settle on whatever is given based on our locale and socioeconomic status, without having any real voice.
Access to care impacts patient’s physical, social, and mental well-being, as well as their overall quality of life. According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, people with a reliable source of care should have better health outcomes, fewer disparities, and lower costs. Yet according to the National Association of Community Health Centers, approximately 62 million individuals in the United States have limited or no access to primary care physicians as a result of shortages. This number is widely expected to increase over the next several years as our population grows older.
With an absence of convenient access to primary care physicians, patients turn to alternatives like emergency rooms, urgent care clinics, or choose to not seek care at all. All three options are more costly to the healthcare system than providing access to appropriate physicians.
In America, there is one medical doctor for every 434 people. It is important to note that physicians are not dispersed evenly throughout the country. Cuba, a country that has heavily emphasized medicine, has about six doctors for every 1,000 citizens. Conversely, in much of developing Africa, there is less than one healthcare practitioner (not necessarily a doctor) for every 1,000 people. India has fewer than one doctor for each 1,000 person.
Even in communities where healthcare exists, there are financial barriers to accessing care. Countries requiring but not providing health insurance or out-of-pocket payment put citizens at risk of delaying or forgoing treatment, hoping their ailments will go away. This increases costs overall as these same citizens are often treated in emergency rooms, and outcomes diminish because preventative treatment is all but forgotten.
Intiva Health is the first truly integrated career platform for healthcare professionals. It redefines the medical credentialing process by making it faster, more efficient and more secure.
Intiva Health provides healthcare professionals with a single place to manage their credentials,continuing education, new job opportunities, secure messaging needs and more. It is built on the Hashgraph digital ledger platform, which means it is faster, more secure, and more error proof than blockchain.
Intiva Health was founded in 2006 as a staffing agency for surgical services and emergency rooms. Today the Austin, Texas, company it has reinvented itself as a digital health startup featuring a next generation blockchain technology that cuts the time it takes for the medical credentialing process from months to seconds, improves HIPPA compliance,and makes document tampering or theft almost impossible.
Intiva Health focuses its marketing and PR efforts on licensed medical professionals (LMPs), practice managers, and the facilities where they work including medical groups, hospitals and professional associations.The company launched a new brand awareness campaign in March 2018 that includedthe introduction of the Intiva Token, a new cryptocurrency that LMPs can use to purchase continuing education classes, cyber insurance and other services.
Intiva is also partnering with the National Osteoporosis Foundation to test the advantages of using the Intiva Token for charitable donations.
The Intiva Health Platform automates the burdensome tasks of credential and licensure management, continuing education, and discovering job opportunities for healthcare professionals. Intiva Health’s new ReadyDoc™credential verification solution, built on top of the Hashgraph distributed ledger technology, disrupts the existing broken, slow, and error-prone healthcare credentialing system, which today can take weeks or months to verify credentials, and is subject to tampering.
Intiva believes that ReadyDoc can replace the current processes of credentialing and primary source verification by storing documents and credentials in a Hashgraph-based distributed ledger. Providers and facilities can obtain information that is pre-verified, securely stored, and readily available, creating an ongoing, self-auditing verification of provider work history and clinical reputation.
ReadyDoc will act fluidly between health systems and facilities across the U.S., allowing organizations to instantly verify work history and clinical reputations. In the event of an emergency like the Houston hurricane, facilities will be able staff up by vetting the credentials of qualified providers instantly. ReadyDoc eliminates redundancy and the need for third party verification organizations, letting medical professionals get to work sooner.
Who are your competitors?
We believe that Intiva Health is the first integrative platform to manage healthcare career information from one seamless dashboard. It is certainly the first to use the Hashgraph digital ledger technology and offer a cryptocurrency utility token. However, Doximity also offers a career management application for medical professionals.
How your company differentiates itself from the competition and what differentiates Intiva Health?
Intiva Health can replace the current processes of credentialing and primary source verification by storing documents and credentials in a Hashgraph-based distributed ledger. Providers and facilities can obtain information that is pre-verified, securely stored, and readily available, creating an ongoing,self-auditing verification of provider work history and clinical reputation.
Most likely, in one of the few lucid moments you have in your hectic, even chaotic schedule you contemplate healthcare’s greatest problems, its most pressing questions that must be solved, obstacles and the most important hurdles that must be overcome, and how doing so would alleviate many of your woes. That’s likely an overstatement. The problems are many, some of the obstacles overwhelming.
There are opportunities, of course. But opportunities often come from problems that must be solved. And, as the saying goes, for everyone you ask, you’re likely to receive a different answer to what needs to be first addressed. So, in this series (see part 1 and part 3), we examine some of healthcare’s most pressing challenges, according to some of the sector’s most knowledgeable voices.
Without further delay, the following are some of the problems in need of solutions. Or, in other words, some of healthcare’s greatest opportunities. What is healthcare’s most pressing question, problem, hurdle, obstacle, thing to overcome? And how that can be solved/addressed?
Lynn Carroll, chief of strategy & operations, HSBlox
Preventable medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S., and frequently can be linked to inaccurate patient data, according to a study by Johns Hopkins University. Machine learning should be used to solve patient-matching challenges by analyzing and consolidating patient data from multiple systems, such as EHRs, medical charts, e-prescribing technologies, clinical documentation solutions and revenue cycle management platforms, and by creating longitudinal patient records that can be transparently shared among the patient’s care team, optimizing care coordination. The patient-matching solution is then combined with blockchain to disseminate the relevant patient data to all parties who have permission to view it.
Extending care coordination beyond the hospital walls heavily burdens providers and healthcare administrators. As the industry continues to shift from fee-for-service to value-based care, optimizing care teams to address social determinants of health and drive patient engagement is paramount. Today’s health systems must leverage an agile workforce and intuitive technology to deliver 360-degree patient-centered care.
Dr. Samant Virk, physician, founder and CEO, MediSprout
As a practicing physician for the last 15 years, I had a growing frustration with the fact that more than 70 percent of my time was consumed by administrative tasks that took away from my ability to help patients. The biggest challenge of healthcare right now is that we’ve lost touch with that physician and patient connection. Question: How can we reconnect physicians with patients — tech has driven a wedge between us and it’s time to fix this. Doctors would love to spend more time with the patients that need them the most while getting paid for follow-up care and communications that eats up their day. We believe that technology is the solution here.
Healthcare must shift its focus from viewing patients as “customers” and instead consider patients as “partners” within the broader healthcare ecosystem. All of the exciting innovation underway (including the increased adoption of virtual care and telehealth) should reflect what is required for the patient/partner to better manage his/her healthcare throughout the care continuum. To solve for healthcare that is truly consumer-centric, the broader healthcare ecosystem needs to identify the best investments to make which will drive quicker and better outcomes for the individual consumer (e.g., the patient/partner), overall population health, healthcare professionals, and healthcare organizations.
Price transparency for the Employers and the patient. The explanation of benefits (EOB) does not contain real financial payments between the payer and the provider. The real numbers are considered proprietary. A patient nor employer benefit plan cannot control their healthcare costs if they do not know how much was paid and for what service. At a grocery store, each item is tagged with the name of the product and the price. In healthcare the service and or product is not presented to the patient prior to the receipt of service and the services are not itemized on the bill. What to do? Make is illegal for payers and providers to have proprietary payments on healthcare goods and services.
The most pressing problem for US healthcare is improving quality of care while reducing cost. Intelligently leveraging clinical information — for predictive analytics, precision medicine, population health analytics and other analytic purposes — is critical to solving this problem. The largest impediment to actionable analytics is dirty clinical data entered by more than four million clinicians into more than one hundred certified EHRs resulting in a clear and present need for scalable technology to normalize, de-duplicate and enrich clinical data so that data scientists can spend more time identifying actionable insights from data, and less time fixing clinical data.
I see our shortage of primary care physicians as the biggest challenge the American healthcare system faces over the next 20 years. PCPs are crucial to the patient experience, and preventative care that can help drive value. Tied to this is my concern is the lack of investment/acceleration in technology designed to improve physician experience and utilization. PCPs spend way too much time entering data when there are opportunities like voice assisted scribe or authentication that reduce data entry and allows them to spend more time completely focused on patients providing quality care.
We can all agree the healthcare system in the United States is in dire need of an overhaul. Technological advances propel us into the twenty-first century, but the way data is created, maintained, and shared is archaic and confusing (and deliberately-so.) Instead of collaboration and transparency, healthcare is (in the eyes of many) a confusing minefield littered with smoke and mirrors.
Many people (even those with insurance) forgo treatment through choice or necessity–hoping things will get better–and instead end up in the emergency room. This adds bloat to an already-overtaxed, inefficient ecosystem, and patients end up footing the bill.
What does this have to do with blockchain? Well, blockchain thrives in an environment where lots of parties (who don’t trust each other) need to have consensus on the “correct” version of the truth. Broadly-speaking, blockchain helps integrate layers of trust and efficiency that have otherwise been missing in healthcare. It is essentially a distributed database that can’t be “gamed”, as any attempts by bad actors to change records to “bend the truth” are impractical and improbable.
Put another way: blockchain rewards desirable behavior (truth, accuracy, information flow), while helping to mitigate undesirable behavior (ex: lying, cheating, stealing.) Truth and accuracy breed possibility.
Imagine a world where every single ingredient inside every single pharmaceutical you take is traced from start to finish, so you know you’re not being poisoned, misled or ripped-off. Imagine having verifiable reviews from actual doctors based on verifiable outcomes to help you compare healthcare procedures and practitioners just like you would compare insurance or blenders.
Imagine being compensated for taking better care of your own health, or for securely-sharing your medical data to help advance research. All of this is possible with blockchain technology (and more.) Long-term, blockchain technology has tremendous potential when paired with technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), where meaningful healthcare research can be advanced, shedding new light on trends and unlocking a holistic, real-time picture of the global healthcare landscape.
With all its positives, blockchain isn’t itself a magic, one-size-fits-all solution to the many problems plaguing healthcare. However, what blockchain technology can do is provide a framework that opens up the secure flow of information between healthcare consumers, practitioners, and everyone else in between. Access to more and better information helps streamline inefficiencies, thus reducing costs and elevating the level of care that can be provided.
SnapNurse is an on-demand technology platform that connects pre-credentialed nurses directly with healthcare facilities to fill empty shifts. Similar to other popular on-call applications, SnapNurse reduces staffing shortages for the healthcare industry at a moment’s notice.
SnapNurse was created to help solve the critical nursing shortage currently sweeping the globe. In an effort to support healthcare professionals and facilities through this challenging time, Cherie Kloss, founder and CEO with an 18-year history as an anesthetist, launched SnapNurse to offer a more efficient ecosystem for both sides to work together.
After completing a successful 10-year run as a TV producer, Kloss was eager to dive back into the medical industry as a nurse and anesthetist. She quickly realized how difficult it was to land on-request nursing gigs and like many, felt frustrated with the industry’s broken credentialing and hiring process.
Kloss soon tapped her deeply seeded network to fine tune the evolving concept of SnapNurse and to build out her team. The organization’s executive lineup delivers an impressive foundation for its technology and healthcare footprint including founder and former CTO of $22 billion trading platform Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) Edwin Marcial as CTO and former Director of Anesthesia Services at Grady Hospital Jeff Richards as COO.
SnapNurse is fueled by giving the power back to nurses and finding better ways to offer competitive pay, a simple credentialing process and the freedom to work when you want and where you want, thereby driving the rapid adoption of this revolutionary on-demand platform.
SnapNurse connects deeply with both the healthcare institutions and the nurses to offer a better way to work together and fill empty shifts instantly through the SnapNurse talent pool.
SnapNurse has successfully established facility-partner relationships with leading organizations across the country where the need is greatest. This has been accomplished by attending top industry events and tradeshows, speaking at local and national events, and leveraging the team’s experience in the industry to connect with noteworthy contacts that are ripe for SnapNurse’s service.
The pioneering startup has also focused heavily on fostering genuine relationships with nursing communities in various regions by hosting one-of-a-kind meetup events with one of their notable TV-star supporters from Atlanta, having a presence at job fairs, developing superior testimonial videos from SnapNurse users, increasing their social imprint, among other successful strategies.
SnapNurse is used by hundreds of nurses in select cities across the nation, with Atlanta (the company’s beta location) having the highest number of nurses.
SnapNurse is a 21st-century solution to the global nursing shortage the world has been experiencing for years. Beyond nurses, global nurse agencies, hospitals, clinics and home health care businesses, among others (combined $344 billion annual market worldwide) can benefit from SnapNurse’s platform and talent pool. Estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO) show the needs-based shortage of healthcare workers globally is expected to top 17.4 million in 2018, of which more than 9 million are nurses and midwives. SnapNurse will help fill this need by connecting more nurses with healthcare facilities in need. SnapNurse empowers nurses to make more money, create their own schedule, and even get paid after the end of the shift.
Who are your competitors?
Because of the current services and relationships of SnapNurse and the blockchain software (nursetoken.io) it will soon apply to its platform, there are no direct competitors that offer the cohesive offerings we do.
How your company differentiates itself from the competition and what differentiates SnapNurse?
The tech disrupter is a favorite among hospitals and nurse managers for its ability to save time and money, increase contract talent pool and view profiles and provide ratings for available nurses. Always on the cutting-edge, SnapNurse is the first company that will apply a blockchain software (nursetoken.io) for credentialing allowing nurses to carry portable authorization passports for instant approval at new centers.