By Albert DiPiero MD, MPH
Most talk of how technology - specifically EMRs - will lower the cost of healthcare have come to naught. EMRs were touted as the magic bullet that would enable the rapid sharing of information, eliminating duplicative testing and reducing errors. Instead EMRs became a tool in more efficient coding and billing; interoperability never occurred; the government and health systems have spent billions of dollars with only marginal improvements in quality and safety; while significant evidence points to EMRs’ role in “provider burnout.” Here however in this WSJ article is is a coherent and in my view more believable description of how blockchain technology could reduce costs and improve care, along with companies that are earlier movers in the space. What is most tantalizing for the healthcare entrepreneur is how this system is really built to turn control over to the consumer and how at its core it is addresses interoperability between many diverse systems. What strikes home especially is the mess of the current world of health-care-provider directories! Impossible to determine which doctor is in what network or at what clinic. If blockchain could solve that, that alone would be a gamechanger for patients and providers. It is still too early to tell, but the healthcare entrepreneur should definitely study and keep up on this.