Deloitte’s new global blockchain survey results released this June show that more than half of enterprise respondents cited blockchain as a top-five strategic priority, and a further 56% stated that blockchain will disrupt their industry.
We spoke with Pradeep Goel, CEO of Solve.Care, which aims to revolutionize medical care and other benefit programs globally using blockchain technology, about how Blockchain has the potential to change the world.
The healthcare rights of citizens is a controversial topic, especially in the United States. How does blockchain help the financial aspect of the industry?
The healthcare industry, as we know it, is plagued with high costs — everything from administration to transportation to pharmaceuticals comes with a hefty price tag. Last year alone, US healthcare costs soared to highs of over USD$3.65 Trillion.
Although still in its infancy, blockchain has the potential to help make healthcare more affordable by creating efficient structures and decentralizing patients’ private data. The first step to achieve this lies in removing intermediaries and streamlining healthcare administration and care coordination in order to redefine care, cost, and convenience for everyone.
What changes do you feel need to be made in terms of healthcare administration?
The entire system of healthcare administration is in need of a complete overhaul. Two aspects, in particular, stand out: scheduling and payments.
Scheduling healthcare appointments is a global problem. From long wait times to unsuitable appointment hours to the difficulty in securing the right specialists at the needed time, convoluted scheduling is an issue most of us have experienced at one point or another. By automating this archaic structure and creating a transparent and frictionless scheduling system, we can ensure patients are not only more satisfied, but also receive medical care at appropriate times to improve health outcomes.
Another administrative-heavy aspect of the healthcare system lies in billing and payments. Improving the transparency of medical bills is one area that certainly requires change in order to eliminate fraud, abuse, and waste.
While many industries such as the financial sector have seen massive implementation of blockchain, healthcare seems to be adopting blockchain slower than others. Why do you think that is?
Today, healthcare administration structures are predominantly custom-built within their own silos and data structures. They are confined vertically and the owner(s) dictates everything: back-office functions and scheduling, access to care, delivery of care, payments, quality measurement, and so on. This type of vertical architecture leads to duplicative information and resource waste, and inevitably slows development and the pace of change. While blockchain is still very much in its nascent stages, it has the potential to fundamentally restructure the healthcare IT system as we know it.
Healthcare is a huge industry and implementing blockchain on a large scale would require a lot of time and resources. Do you think the global industry is, as of now, willing to undergo such an overhaul?
Healthcare is a concern for every economy, both growing and developed. Primary care is of the utmost importance for maintaining and improving the health of all citizens, whether in the US, where healthcare is 20% of the GDP; in Canada, where there is a fully centralised and subsidised healthcare model; or in Korea, where access to care is a real problem.
While there are different issues geographically, it all boils down to the same thing: patient needs. Fundamentally, healthcare is the same around the world. There’s always a healthcare provider and someone who pays for that service, whether an insurance company, the government, or the patient themselves. An opportunity to drive better results for patients and to improve healthcare access exists whether the patient is based in Houston, Texas or Hong Kong, China. While the initial implementation of blockchain may be costly, the global industry is more than willing to undergo a period of technological change to reap the long-term benefits.
You stated that firms need to be strategic in their implementation of blockchain and not just make use of blockchain for the sake of it. Could you explain that a bit?
When it comes to investing in and implementing any emerging technology, be it blockchain, AI, or big data, it should always come down to return on investment (ROI). I ask this question of every project presented to me. If you plan on implementing a blockchain-based solution, evaluating the impact is pertinent. Blockchain represents tremendous potential but is not a panacea nor should it be treated as such. Understanding the concept of decentralisation is key in order to evaluate whether you should or shouldn’t implement blockchain technology into your business. Firms need to be strategic by outlining a feasible strategy and identifying use cases and opportunities before deciding between centralised and decentralised systems.
Besides the reduction of waste and cost, how do consumers stand to benefit from blockchain implementations healthcare?
The possibilities and use cases highlighting the benefits of blockchain-based healthcare for customers beyond waste and cost are vast, and include improved security, patient data management, drug traceability, and access to non-emergency medical transportation. Ultimately, blockchain will create more efficient interactions between the multiple entities of the healthcare ecosystem including patients, physicians, healthcare providers and insurers, in order to deliver better healthcare for better patient outcomes.
Could you tell us a bit about Solve.Care?
Solve.Care is a global healthcare platform which aims to redefine care coordination, improve access to care, empower the consumer with information, reduce benefit administration costs, and eliminate fraud and waste from healthcare and benefit administration around the world.
We are the first company to utilize digital currency and blockchain technology in healthcare for value-based payments. With this innovation, care administration networks on the Solve.Care platform can be patient-centric care and highly personalized and actionable, based on disease conditions, economic and social needs, employment, and other eligibility criteria.
For more information, please visit https://solve.care .