– Consumers are willing to use blockchain-based tokens for a variety of applications, including using them to control access to their electronic health records (EHR), according to a survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers by KPMG.
In addition, blockchain-based tokenization can be used to track, correlate, and coordinate the identity of healthcare providers who have treated a patient, KPMG explained in its report Blockchain-enabled Digital Tokenization Is Poised to Transform Commerce.
An attractive feature of blockchain-based tokenization is the security and data privacy it provides. “Tokenization enables organizations to leverage blockchain infrastructure and value attributes to build robust security models that are embedding privacy requirements into technology solutions by design,” the report observed.
Around 63 percent of respondents said they are interested in using tokens; that number jumps to 83 percent for respondents aged 18 to 24.
Consumers are more willing to use tokens as part of a business loyalty program. A full 82 percent of respondents said they would use blockchain-based tokens as part of membership in an existing loyalty program, and 81 percent would trust tokens more with a company if they were a member of their loyalty program.
Healthcare Industry Eyes Other Blockchain Applications
Other potential healthcare applications of blockchain include physician credentialing, patient identification, and doctor insurance affiliation tracking, explained Roger Smith, PhD, chief technology officer at the AdventHealth Nicholson Center.
An example of blockchain’s physician credentialing application is the Professional Credentials Exchange (ProCredEx) initiative, which includes Hashed Health, National Government Services, Spectrum Health, WellCare Health Plans, Accenture, and The Hardenbergh Group.
The initiative’s aim is to increase the efficiency and speed of the credentialing process, which can take up to six months to complete, by enabling the secure, trusted exchange of verified credentials between exchange members using blockchain technology.
“A fundamental component of developing the exchange lays in building a network of members that bring significant verified credential datasets to the marketplace,” said ProCredEx Cofounder and CEO Anthony Begando.
Blockchain technology can also be used to verify and consolidate patient information that might be held in different formats and locations within a large hospital.
“For example, Mary Jones is somewhere in our databases as five different people because of the way she came into the system. We can’t match Mary Jones number one with Mary Jones number two, even though they are the same person,” Smith told HITInfrastructure.com.
“If there were a blockchain system, Mary Jones could walk in and say, ‘Let me connect you to my health records.’ When you go to provide services, the blockchain immediately matches the services you are about to provide with Mary Jones’ last visits to the pharmacy, emergency walk-in clinic, or whatever location. So, we would know her history much more completely than we do today,” he said.
In addition, blockchain could be employed to keep track of doctors’ insurance affiliations.
“Doctors change their health insurance affiliations, which insurance plans they take, and which tier they are in each insurance plan,” said Smith. “You might have called your insurance to verify that this doctor was in tier one of your insurance program last year, and this year you just assume he or she still is tier one, even though he or she may not be,” he related.
“You wouldn’t find out until you got the bill at tier two or tier three, and then it’s too late. Some hospitals are trying to get their doctors and their insurance affiliations lined up on blockchain, and when a record is changed, it immediately changes globally,” he said.
A recent study by BIS Research estimated that by 2025 the use of blockchain in healthcare could save the industry $100 billion per year in costs related to IT, operations, support functions, personnel, and heath data breaches.
The research firm estimated that the global healthcare market would grow at a compound annual growth rate of 64 percent through 2025, reaching $5.6 billion in market value by then.