In this article we discuss shortfalls of the current healthcare information experience, and an evolutionary solution. Once we explain that solution, we’ll walk through a real-life use case so the concepts come to life.
Problems and gaps in today’s healthcare experience
Healthcare today suffers from information that’s reactive and secluded, sitting in silos where retrieving and connecting it in meaningful ways is burdensome at best, time consuming, and expensive.
Even when those efforts do pull data together, its greatest value has long-since passed. Its derived insights were most valuable and needed in-the-moment, so that diagnoses and treatments could be better selected, delivered, and with fewer mistakes. If that were happening, every participant’s experience – and outcome – would be better, faster, easier and much more efficient.
Such real-time interactions and information is possible, with a patent-pending technology called the Weave.
Closing the healthcare experience gap
The Weave is a new, patent-pending enterprise blockchain platform supporting industry level business ecosystems. Its premise is simple – an entity in the Weave gets its own blockchain. An entity could be a hospital or an organizational business unit within the hospital such as the Hospital Department Administrators. An entity can be a segment within the Hospital Department Administrators such as Emergency Care, as even individual ER doctors and supporting staff. An entity can also be the IoT connected ambulance that brought the patient to the ER as well as the individual patient. Each interaction between any 2 entities creates a shared block placed on each entity’s blockchain. In this example, the vertical integration of data from the patient to the hospital as a whole is streamlined regardless of who the patient encounters throughout their immediate and subsequent follow up experience.
Simple in concept, but expansive in implications.
With the Weave, healthcare interactions are collected in real-time, creating an immutable and interconnected moment-in-time for each participant. Access to selective history can be granted, such as for a doctor to review a patient’s medications in real time, curbing complications and illuminating the best pathway to wellness.
Let’s take a look at a simple use case, and explain how the Weave can elevate and transform the healthcare experience, and provide network-effects benefits to Weave participants.
Establishing a presence in the Weave
Let’s start by describing how organizations can establish their presence in the Weave environment , and participant in those real-time interactions with other organizations already present in the Weave ecosystem.
Access to the Weave environment is granted through a subscription model, similar to an Azure, AWS, or Office 365. Once an organization completes the subscription signup process, it can seek out and engage with any other organization who has a presence in the Weave – patients, drug makers, pharmacies, hospitals. From a B2B perspective, this includes individuals within the same organization such as patient service providers. Additionally, individuals in separate established organizations can setup a connection, establish the same rules as their real work business agreement and communicate. Such would be the case with a provider who must process a claim from 1 in-network & 1 out-of-network doctor who treated the same patient for different stages of the same clinical care cycle.
From a B2C perspective, with individuals – such as patients – simply install the Upheaval App on their mobile device, create a profile, and their presence and blockchain in the Weave is established. Weave is free for individuals, always.
For large organizations, multiple Weave subscriptions can be provisioned, and connected later on as needed for intra-company interactions. You don’t need the entire company to agree on a single Weave subscription – you can grow into them as desired.
The Weave works with existing healthcare information technology systems.
Established healthcare information technology systems can integrate in-place. Devices – and other objects – can also be integrated for IoT functionality, and participate in interactions that immutably place a block on each participant’s chain.
Existing workflows are maintained and augmented, or can be refined through process engineering that incorporates the Weave’s new capabilities and efficient automation. Our security compliant APIs and integration points mean organizations don’t need to replace their existing IT infrastructure.
Once an organization has a presence in the Weave, they can create as many objects and blockchains as needed. Doctors, rooms, devices, and treatments can be defined (or extracted from existing treatment or schema definitions) to create an interaction-ready blockchain. Pharmacists, medicines, compounds, departments, services, or other objects useful as participants in real-world interactions can also be defined as entities, and engage as block participants.
And since the Weave is a global environment with a standardized block, organizations can securely interact with objects outside their Weave subscription – seamlessly, securely, and with privacy requirements observed.
Now, on to our use case.
Meet Sarah. Sarah heads to the hospital for an appointment. Upon reaching reception, Sarah shares a code from her Upheaval app, and automatically provides the reception desk with identity verification and basic check-in, medical and insurance information. Instead of filling out a redundant paper copy of a medical questionnaire, check-in completes securely, in just moments.
A shared block is created from that interaction:
Sarah – The block is placed on Sarah’s blockchain, containing information about the interaction including the appointment, location, time, and what information was shared during check-in. Her blockchain includes all of Sarah’s health interactions, in and out of her current provider network.
Hospital – The block also goes onto the hospital’s blockchain, as a record of Sarah being at the appointment, when she arrived, and how to bill her insurance.
Reception – The hospital created an entity for Reception to collect their interactions for recordkeeping and other uses. The block also goes onto their Reception blockchain, as a participant in the interaction.
Insurer – The block is also placed on Sarah’s insurer’s blockchain, to provide the information necessary for treatment, payment, coverage, and to record the interaction.
Sarah then meets with her physician, who reviews medical-specific history from Sarah’s blockchain (we call that walking the chain). Upheaval’s AI, coupled with the Upheaval-ecosystem’s machine learning and semantic associations engine, detects potential complications based on Sarah’s existing medications. The doctor changes the prescription, then with a few taps on her tablet (running a version of the Upheaval app designed for enterprises), scans codes with the app that describe Sarah’s visit, then signs and sends the prescription to Sarah’s pharmacy.
Having Sarah’s medical history available in real-time lets her doctor avoid a costly and painful mistake. Securely and immutably signing, then sending the prescription streamlines the process for all participants.
A shared block is created from the doctor’s office interaction:
Doctor – The block is placed on the doctor’s blockchain, with information about the interaction, including the exam and devices used, course of treatment and prescription.
Sarah – The block is placed on Sarah’s blockchain, describing the treatment, medication, and other details. Upheaval’s notification engine can send her updates about her treatment.
Medicine – The block also goes onto the prescribed medicine’s blockchain, recording privacy-allowed information about Sarah to become part of its record and results.
Pharmacy – The block goes onto the pharmacy’s blockchain, enabling it to prepare the prescription with validation of the doctor, patient, and medicine.
Insurer – The block is also placed on Sarah’s insurer’s blockchain, for payment and records purposes. The insurer can automatically send digital payment to the pharmacy, secured using the immutability and protections of the Weave. A receipt for the prescription, with all relevant information, is automatic and implied with creation of the block.
Information about each participant in inherent in the placement of the block on each chain. Sarah can easily review which doctor she saw, when, at which location, the type of treatment provided, and the medication prescribed, as well as other details. All using a user-friendly UI in the Upheaval app.
All participants benefit from the shared block, in multiple ways.
Creating and placing those shared blocks in real-time has all sorts of benefits – both collectively and individually. Let’s look at how each participant benefits:
Medicine – with each medicine getting its own blockchain, drug makers can walk the chain of each medicine to gain insights and keep records as a matter of course. Finding which patients were prescribed (and their demographics), where, when, how often, how much, and patterns usage become straightforward.
Traverse the block connections beyond that particular medicine’s chain, and network effects start to become apparent: What other medicine did those patients take, in what timeframe, and what were the effects? Effectively, conduct ongoing longitudinal studies that update in real time with vast, traversable, interconnected datasets. These big data analytics and insights are services the Weave can provide directly to subscribers.
Doctors – Physicians can keep treatments, prescriptions, patient patterns, and other information easily accessible and retrievable. All information becomes easier to submit, track, access, and traverse – saving time and effort.
People – Individuals benefit from having their medical records easily accessible, secure, and can easily share selected elements as needed. The entire healthcare experience becomes easier and integrated. Add patient notifications and feedback, and the wellness loop also evolves into real-time.
Insurers & providers– With information about interactions submitted in real-time, insurers and care providers better track treatment, coverage, and patterns. Payments with Upheaval Credits (UPCs) mean transfers of value happen as soon as the block is written, streamlining payments, accounting, and record keeping.
Hospitals – Hospitals can provide more effective services and track them more easily. Analytics and efficiency opportunities are just the beginning of the benefits.
Many others – Individual blockchains, bound by real-time shared blocks, is an evolution of data freshness and interconnectivity. The network effects of being able to traverse an individual blockchain, then walk connections found therein, has a rich set of opportunities for multiple aspects of healthcare.
This is just the beginning of applications for the Weave, and they extend throughout the healthcare industry and beyond. The Upheaval team has vast experience in enterprise software, protocols, and integration with existing systems, including close development and integration work with Top-10 insurance carriers.