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Just What the Doctor Ordered: A Blockchain-Based ePrescription Platform

Just What the Doctor Ordered:  A Blockchain-Based ePrescription Platform
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Blockchain is proving its potential to create massive value and disruption in the healthcare industry by eliminating costly middlemen, evolving antiquated and inefficient cross-organization processes, and putting data ownership back to the hands of the patients. Elysian Blockchain is launching a consortium-based initiative on Kaleido's platform, to bring the foundational benefits of blockchain to the healthcare industry for ePrescriptions.

Blockchain technology creates unique opportunities to reduce complexity and enable collaboration between parties who need to ensure trust, privacy, accuracy, and security of important information. There are many great use cases for blockchain in healthcare, including new models for health information exchanges (HIE), improving medical record access, stopping counterfeit drugs, enhancing the security and control of healthcare transactions, tracking medical credentials, and much more!

The Big Challenge:  Interoperability

The healthcare industry is ripe for digital transformation, as people demand control over their medical records and data, with the expectation that their data is securely stored and accurately shared with the appropriate parties. Blockchain is poised to solve some of healthcare’s toughest problems, with one of the most promising being interoperability. In order to provide optimal care, we need healthcare information technology to access, use, share and interpret healthcare data cohesively. This is often referred to as interoperability.

When federal legislation was introduced to promote the adoption of electronic health records, software vendors rushed to provide solutions to healthcare professionals. The problem is that the software maintains data in silos, without common approaches for how each software solution would work in coordination with other solutions.

Electronic health data exists in standardized file formats that can transmit medication prescriptions, immunizations records, radiographic images, lab results, clinical quality measures and more. But without interoperability, the benefit of electronic healthcare data is greatly diminished. The lack of interoperability in healthcare data makes it difficult to move files from one place to another in a manner that is useful or meaningful. And while the data file formats have been standardized, it is still very difficult to access, aggregate, and use that data.

Traditional Solutions with Integration Platforms

Many companies are trying to address the interoperability problem, with both commercial and opensource technologies. They tend to fall into the category of enterprise integration platforms, whose responsibility is to build bridges between the different silos to allow data to flow back and forth, and to allow services to work with each other. There is huge business in making integration software and using them to connect different IT systems from the various parties involved in serving the patients effectively. Some of the IT industry’s biggest names come to mind such as Mulesoft, IBM, and Tibco.

The problem with the traditional approach is that the data itself is still locked inside silos systems within each participating organization in the overall ecosystem. While the integration platforms allow data to flow back and forth, keeping them in sync so there is a single source of truth with a proven audit trail that they have not been modified by unauthorized parties is still a challenge. What’s more, in the healthcare industry patient data is treated with extreme care both for regulation purposes and because they are highly valuable. How to allow data to be exchanged while maintaining robust control is still a huge issue.

Solving Interoperability with Blockchain

The good news is that blockchain technology presents the opportunity to address the systemic challenge of interoperability with a disruptive approach. What blockchain brings to the table is a globally trusted layer that can be used to protect data no matter where they exist, without leaking the privacy of the data. When the participating organizations build a shared ledger using blockchain, they can be assured that the kind of data recorded on-chain are not manipulated either with malicious intent or by accident. This makes it possible to perform data exchanges with proof of its originality and ownership.

Blockchain is there, not to replace the existing integration software and platforms, but to work alongside them to enhance the overall security and efficiency of the healthcare IT systems.

That’s the reason that Elysian is building a blockchain based solution with ePrescriptions. Elysian Blockchain was founded as a consortium-based initiative to bring the foundational benefits of distributed ledger technology to healthcare data. Elysian is using Kaleido to build a permissioned blockchain network that will transcend legacy networks of healthcare data, solving the foundational roadblocks to interoperability. The end goal for Elysian is to have the right data, at the right place, for the right patient.  

Elysian seeks to liberate healthcare data that is siloed in electronic health records (EHR) and health information exchanges (HIE). With blockchain technology there is the potential to free this data, promote interoperability, and affect clinical outcomes. That’s the promise Elysian is working to fulfill. With decades of combined healthcare expertise, the team at Elysian sees blockchain as the perfect solution for making interoperability in healthcare a reality.  

States Jim Tate, Founder of Elysian Blockchain, “Our mission is to permit shared data across pharmacies, hospitals, doctors, patients and all relevant players within the ecosystem regardless of the application or vendor.”

Patients expect their healthcare data, like other data in their life, to be fluid and providers need the total patient records to make informed decisions on care. The need for this type of solution is overwhelmingly clear.  

While the interoperability problem is pervasive across many healthcare use cases, Elysian is initially focusing on ePrescription files.  According to Tate, “These files are created in a practice’s Electronic Health Records and will be transmitted to the blockchain network, where they will be routed to the appropriate location and pharmacies. Each participating entity will own a node on the blockchain network and will access the appropriate file via smart contracts. This allows for the exchange of healthcare data in a secure, immutable solution where network participants can safely and easily share healthcare data files in a HIPAA compliant environment”. After proving out the value of blockchain for healthcare data interoperability within the ePrescription use case, Elysian plans to extend the solution to other forms of healthcare data.

The Benefits of Blockchain-Based ePrescriptions

There are a ton of benefits to solving the healthcare interoperability challenge using blockchain.

With a blockchain-based ePrescription solution, a patient’s medication history can be instantly accessed, including critical drug interaction information. The digital record that is easily accessed can prevent medication errors, eliminating errors due to handwriting or mis-interpretations. Since the physicians and pharmacists have access to the patient’s previous medication, it also reduces the chances that the wrong medication is dispensed and provided to the patient. And since this is all done using blockchain, the information can be trusted and everybody can be confident that it hasn’t been changed or altered.

Blockchain can also help to automate clinical decision support, speeding up the entire process while providing greater accuracy. Says Tate, “If you think about the sheer number of variants a single drug has, including multiple dosages, brands, generics, and forms, there are a lot of things that can get mixed up or go wrong.”  

Elysian’s solution for e-prescriptions prompts caregivers to fill in the complete form which includes details like, dosage, strength, route, and frequency of medicine intake.  This further reduces the chances that a patient is given the wrong form, dosage or even medication.  

Why Kaleido?

The team at Elysian are experts in healthcare. They were looking to partner with somebody who could bring the blockchain expertise and simplify solution development, allowing them to focus on their core competency -- healthcare.  

“The technical people at Kaleido have been amazing.  The depth of experience that Kaleido brings to the table has made our jobs easier”

- Jim Tate, Founder, Elysian Blockchain

In addition to blockchain expertise, Elysian needed a partner who could provide a full-stack solution, providing the services and integrations required for developing a complete enterprise blockchain solution. Kaleido’s full-stack platform with a robust marketplace of pre-integrated services saves Elysian time and money by simplifying and accelerating the development process.  

Contact: Jim Tate, Founder/President of Elysian Blockchain and EMR Advocate, Inc. may be reached at jimtate@emradvocate.com

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