When people become involved with healthcare systems, they often feel out of control. They feel as though the control over what happens to them is in the hands of a system that is hard to understand and navigate. They may not feel as though they can ask questions, or they may find it difficult to contact someone who can answer their questions. Sometimes people become anxious; they may avoid seeking medical care for as long as possible. The use of blockchain can empower patients, give them greater trust in their healthcare providers, and make them more active and involved consumers.
Patients Can Own Their Healthcare Data
Use of blockchain technology can give people greater input into, even control over, the management of their healthcare data. As part of the blockchain, patients have equal access to their records and equal knowledge about what is going on with their healthcare.
The chain can be designed so that they are able to more effectively give consent to who has access to their data. Blockchain can make patients a part of the healthcare team in a way that is often difficult to put into full practice with other forms of data management.
Additionally, blockchain data is more secure and accurate. There’s not a central computer that can be hacked or a single server that can go down; confidential Personal Health Information is safer and more secure.
Smooth Coordination Between Healthcare Team
One frustration that many patients experience is the feeling that communication between them is not as thorough as it should be between the different members of their healthcare team. Data can be stored in many different disparate systems. They may find that test results haven’t been communicated to their entire treatment team, or their health history is incompletely transferred, or the hospital didn’t get the list of their allergies. Patients often feel that they have to be on guard for inevitable errors.
In blockchain, every member of the chain is connected and data is updated in all of the computers at once. This improved communication and record accuracy could greatly decrease common issues like medication errors. Patients are able to have greater trust in their providers when accurate and up-to-date information is available for all members of a healthcare blockchain.
Ability to Make Informed Choices of Providers
Patients who are choosing a healthcare provider could be empowered by a blockchain provider review resource. Reviews on the internet can be suspicious; it is easy for an unscrupulous business to make sure only positive reviews show in search engines or for one disgruntled patient to make a good provider look terrible. For lay people, data from official boards and accrediting sites can be difficult to access and to understand.
Patients know this, and it can make the choice of provider frustrating. The anxiety involved in choosing a provider can cause a patient to avoid making the choice (meaning they also don’t receive regular medical care) or can lead a patient to stay with a poorly matched provider, to the detriment of their health.
One of the hallmarks of blockchain is that it makes it nigh-impossible to cheat. Blockchain can be used to make an unmanipulable, objective provider review resource where patients can get up-to-date data, statistics, and reviews about providers, allowing them to make empowered and effective choices in their health care.
Openness About Costs
The billing systems of medical centers are one of the areas where patients most often feel disempowered. Patients often find it difficult to get complete and clear information about the financial details of their healthcare; they may even feel victimized by the arcane billing systems involved in healthcare.
Blockchain could provide clarity for many of the questions patients have, could lower the costs involved in maintaining the billing center, and can give patients reassurance that the money they are sending is being applied accurately. Patients can use access to accurate, blockchain-documented information to make informed decisions about the financial aspect of their healthcare, and they could trust that the information they are using to make decisions is accurate and up to date.
Patients that are empowered are more likely to be active participants in their healthcare, to have less anxiety around healthcare provider interactions, and to make better, more informed choices about their healthcare.
Blockchain has the potential to give patients back the power over their healthcare.