One of the monumental shifts we are experiencing in the healthcare industry is the digital decentralization of the care delivery models. Digitization of drugs (therapies), devices, services and business models are democratizing current healthcare systems, unlocking new values by displacing high-cost gatekeepers and previously inaccessible segments. This has made the digital transformation theme a core strategic priority for all healthcare industry participants as they strive to justify the value in the much-anticipated data-driven, outcome-based reimbursement regime.
Concurrently, at a federal level today, most countries have policies or strategies outlining digital health objectives, which have increased the adoption of digital health records such as electronic health records/electronic medical records (EHR/EMR) and other health IT (HIT) systems or infrastructures. Regardless of these digital initiatives, current limitations around security, integrity, and access control for personalized health data are creating critical bottlenecks for care delivery innovations. This, in turn, creates an inefficient digital health workflow with acute data silos between different providers, hospitals and payers, and even various departments within a health system, impeding care coordination. As the healthcare industry struggles to find the trade-off between risk and reward of going digital, potential application of blockchain technology provides a timely solution to mitigate some of these pressing needs.
As stated in our last Forbes article on blockchain, despite the enormous potential of blockchain in disrupting healthcare digital workflows, it may not be the panacea for healthcare industry challenges. Based on Frost & Sullivan study Blockchain Technology in Global Healthcare, 2017-2025, discover the top 5 growth opportunities for blockchain technology in the digital transformation journey of the healthcare industry.
GROWTH OPPORTUNITY 1: Addressing the Cybersecurity Challenges
While the healthcare industry is known for its strict compliance policies and regulations to ensure data security and privacy, growing instances of cybersecurity threats are creating new concerns and dilemmas for implementing emerging digital workflows. Today, health systems, payers, and drug and device manufacturers need a secure and trusted connected health IT ecosystem to manage healthcare data and promote value-based care. According to the 2017 IBM Security and the Ponemon Institute study, the cost of data breaches for healthcare organizations has increased, averaging $380 per record, while for other industries it has dropped by 10%. Consequently, cybersecurity threats are becoming a grim concern for medical device and technology companies. For example, last year, Johnson & Johnson warned patients that their “OneTouch Ping” insulin pump was vulnerable to hacking. Most recently, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also reported findings of cybersecurity vulnerabilities in St. Jude Medical heart devices. With a growing number of connected health devices, the potential for hacking any medical device, whether or not it is connected to a network, is a problem that deserves serious attention by medical device original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
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