In recent years, we have witnessed exponential change all around us, as new technologies disrupt and uproot industries and incumbent businesses. Some industries have been receptive to these changes. Taxi companies, having once tried to resist the emergence of Uber, have since adopted many of the technologies that recently revolutionized the industry. Others have moved at a snail’s pace. While hospitals have introduced robotics for surgeries and complex machinery to help diagnose patients, they continue to lag behind with technological infrastructure for storing and sharing data.
For an industry as important and expensive as healthcare with over $3.4 trillion in spending, it’s counterproductive that we haven’t yet leveraged technology effectively enough to improve doctors’ and nurses’ jobs and to assist them in delivering the best healthcare possible to patients. Since 2004, the US federal government and other organizations have sought to use and improve the electronic records and connectivity within hospitals, yet we are still waiting on a breakthrough.
We’re at the point where infrastructure should no longer be a barrier to effectively delivering services; and in the healthcare sector, the adoption of blockchain technology might be just the right medicine for the industry. Coral Health, a blockchain startup, is using blockchain technology to create an integrated network of hospital records.
Many of the problems associated with healthcare today have to do with how records are taken and maintained. Since 2004, when George W. Bush appointed a national coordinator for health information technology, there has been an increase in the use of electronic platforms. However, physicians and nurses still spend almost half of their time on administrative tasks. Improving the infrastructure for healthcare records will not only reduce costs but will allow physicians to have more time in delivering the quality of care that patients deserve.
Coral Health is set to modernize healthcare infrastructure by leveraging blockchain’s decentralized ledger. The ledger, which is updated in real-time, will connect hospitals, departments and other parties in the healthcare field, creating a single, unified network for hospital records.
Coral Health’s network will evade the problems faced by other competitors, including the Mayo Clinic, which after years of trying, remained unable to get its three major electronic record systems to talk to one another. The company’s platform has interoperability built into the platform at all levels: hospitals, pharmacies, clinical trials, doctors, and patients. Therefore, all relevant information, though securely encrypted, will be accessible to all authorized parties on a single platform in real-time.
Though a widespread and interoperable system seems ideal in theory it must be scalable to be successful. Imagine companies such as Uber and Airbnb; their success, though based on transformative ideas, was made possible because their infrastructure was scaled to cope with widespread use. And, the more users adhered to the new platforms, the better the services rendered. The same is true for healthcare; in order for a change to be widely felt across the sector, the network must be easily accessible, usable and scalable for all.
Coral Health’s plan centers around this idea. The project rests on the principle that all parties involved in delivering healthcare must come together on one platform so as to provide comprehensive care. The company is driven towards bringing doctors, pharmacies and insurance companies into a cooperative and inclusive platform for all. Each party will be incentivized to share information through a tokenized data exchange. Coral Health’s platform will use data as a revenue driver rather than an asset to be guarded.
Anyone who has interacted with the healthcare system in the US can attest to the fact that the industry is rife with problems, but thanks to the blockchain, it is also filled with possibilities for improvement. Ultimately, this new technology will improve methods of recording and facilitate communication between important parties in healthcare delivery.
While Coral Health aims to solve issues relating to scalability and infrastructure in hospital record maintenance, their vision extends beyond building a unified network. Coral Health plans to propagate the adoption of personalized medicince—a healthcare system in which each patient can receive a personalized treatment plan. By using blockchain technology to bring all healthcare gives the time and tools they need to provide quality care, Coral hopes to galvanize the future of modern medicine.