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Improving Patient Outcomes with Blockchain

Improving Patient Outcomes with Blockchain

According to the American Cancer Society, cancer is the second leading cause of death in America, taking more than half a million lives each year.

One in four Americans- 1,500 lives lost each day. The years of life lost due to premature deaths, the economic burden due to lost productivity, the costs associated with illness and therapy, and the long-term effects of cancer on the quality of life for survivors take a toll at state levels in the United States. With an aging population retiring and moving to Florida, it is not surprising that the state has the second highest cancer burden in the nation and has been Florida’s No. 1 killer since 2011. Additional sobering statistics include the following:  

  •  Cancer surpassed heart disease as the leading cause of death for Floridians. An average of 100,000 new cancers are diagnosed and reported each year to the statewide cancer registry, the Florida Cancer Data System. 
  • About a third of the most common cancers are due to lifestyles — poor diet, obesity and lack of physical activity, according to the National Cancer Institute. 
  • The 10 common cancers that are most receptive to prevention and early detection include: Breast, cervical, childhood, colorectal, lung, lymphoma, oral and pharyngeal, ovarian, prostate and melanoma of the skin. 
  • The median charge per cancer hospitalization for all cancers in Florida in 2015 was $67,471.  

Rapidly emerging novel treatments in oncology, particularly in advanced disease, mean that more patients are living longer. As such, extending survival while maintaining or improving quality of life is the desired therapeutic outcome. This changing landscape has many implications, including the need for tools that help clinicians, organizations and institutions involved in cancer care collect, evaluate and share outcomes data. However, healthcare information silos can contribute to suboptimal patient care. Communication among patient’s healthcare teams is often disjointed, with growing volumes of personal healthcare data being created by numerous sources and vital connections and collaborations amongst clinicians and data producers are lost under the burden of disenfranchised, siloed, manual, chart-abstracted data collection. Not only is this inefficient, but it restricts the ability of healthcare providers to operate with the most complete set of patient information available in real-time in order to deliver optimal health outcomes.

This is where blockchain can make a massive difference.

Blockchain offers a secure digital environment, capable of storing and managing patient information in a verifiable manner, publicly accessible in real-time by anyone in the healthcare service provider chain (if authorized by the patient). Each new item of information could be integrated to provide an up-to-date, comprehensive picture of patient health, enabling physicians, pharmacies, labs, and other providers to provide better health care guidance to patients, thus improving patient health outcomes.

Whether patient data is stored directly on the blockchain or off-chain, a blockchain-based system would be able to connect healthcare providers and give a holistic view of patient information to produce better health outcomes.

Improving care transitions through integrated care and seamlessly exchanging data through interoperability are essential ingredients for better patient outcomes, and blockchain holds the answer.

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