Healthcare and Blockchain: What’s the Impact?

By Mike Silverstein, Managing Partner of Healthcare IT & Life Sciences

In spite of modern technology, data breaches remain a pervasive threat to business. With time, security hacks have become more frequent and more severe. To combat this growing threat, corporate America has begun to implement blockchain technology to provide advanced security measures. The healthcare industry is realizing the benefits of blockchain as well.

Facebook, Marriott, and British Airways were a few of the recent victims of catastrophic security hacks. The impact of such breaches can be felt for years and costs the company millions of dollars to repair.

In addition to social media platforms, hotels, and airlines, many hospitals around the country have been impacted by ransomware, misconfigured cloud storage, and phishing emails. No industry has been spared from the damage of security threats.

According to a recent study conducted by IBM and Ponemon Institute, the cost of a data breach in a major company averaged $3.86 million in 2018. But for the healthcare industry, that dollar amount can be even higher. On average, hospitals and medical facilities pay $380 per single compromised patient record, which is 2.5 times the global average when compared to other industries.

Birthdates, social security numbers, and payment history are a few pieces of information included in patient medical records. Given the sensitive nature of patient records, healthcare’s privacy practices have remained complex and highly regulated.

As noted by Mayank Pratap in a recent article discussing the opportunities of blockchain technology, maintaining patient information is an important part of providing quality healthcare. However, this has been complicated by federal rules and regulations. “The major issue in providing quality healthcare services is the gap between providers and payers. The dependency of middlemen in the supply chain makes it even worse,” said Pratap.

The current healthcare systems manage patient data in an outdated, uncentralized method. It causes information to be inaccessible and inconvenient to providers requiring the information. Frequently the lack of an efficient data management system prevents medical facilities from providing high-quality services.

Beyond privacy and security, outdated systems make it difficult for the doctor to diagnose and create a barrier for clinical trial reporting. Nearly half of clinical trials in the U.S. are unreported and up to 40% of healthcare provider data records are filled out with errors or misleading information. Clearly, these results reveal the need for improvement.

Blockchain has recently been introduced as a suitable solution. Using a centralized ledger that can be accessed by those requiring the information provides convenience and security. Blockchain was originally developed in 2008 as a core component of the digital currency, ‘bitcoin.’ Those outside of the digital currency space may be skeptical of how the technology could provide benefit to hospitals. However, the benefits of blockchain can be applied to any chronological record. At its core, blockchain is a “database that is shared, replicated, and synchronized among the members of a decentralized network.” The distributed ledger records the transactions of the members within the network.

5 ways blockchain can benefit the medical industry

So, what improvements can healthcare facilities attain from a distributed ledger? Let’s discuss 5 ways blockchain can benefit the medical industry.

1. Secure patient records

In a recent Forbes article, Jack Liu, CEO of ALLIVE, discussed using blockchain as a way to efficiently maintain secure records. “If patient records are recorded and stored in a blockchain-based system, they are secure and unalterable. Patients can grant permission to healthcare providers to access those records and to package new records into blocks that will become part of a permanent history of that patient.”

Blockchain eliminates the security threats that exist with traditional record keeping. Records entered into a blockchain are not held locally and therefore prevent many of the data thefts.

2. Accurate patient records

Human error along with many other factors can lead to mismatched or duplicated records. But with the centralized ledger provided by blockchain, all data is tracked to a single longitudinal record. Each patient’s record is attached to one unique patient identification.

Beyond making the job of record keeping more efficient, this allows the providers to deliver improved care. A longitudinal record allows the medical staff to compile lab results, treatments, and other pertinent medical histories.

3. Improved supply chain management

Managing a medical facility’s physical product supply can be a logistical burden. Blockchain improves the supply chain management by monitoring an organization’s product supply. It helps healthcare facilities track cycles, detect delays, prevent waste, and even manage supplier contracts.

4. Reduction of insurance fraud

Insurance fraud is a major concern in healthcare. Healthcare fraud costs the U.S. $68 billion annually. One of the unfortunate results is increased healthcare insurance costs.

Blockchain allows claims to be automatically verified where the network agrees upon the way a contract is executed. The validation-based exchange of blockchain results in fewer errors and less fraud.

According to Jack Liu, “A blockchain environment can eliminate a large portion of this fraud when providers and patients must enter their information and data to be verified, recorded and stored and health insurance companies must have access to that data.”

5. Improved data collection of clinical trials

It takes 12 years, on average, for a drug to receive approval. The research is often conducted in decentralized means making the data collection difficult.

Clinical trials are another area of healthcare that would benefit from blockchain. “Blockchain would mean that results of clinical trials can be securely consolidated and efficacy demonstrated,” Liu said.

Blockchain provides many obvious benefits to healthcare. But with any innovation, there will be resistance before widespread adoption. If the previously mentioned benefits are any indication, we could see blockchain changing the healthcare industry in the next few years.

ATA 2016 Emerging Technology Companies

BLM999_NORM VOLSKI_B_WEBMay 19, 2016 By Norm Volsky, Director of Mobile Healthcare IT Practice

As an executive search consultant in the Healthcare IT space, it is my job to be able to identify emerging technology companies that are poised for significant growth. Since I am specifically focused on Mobile Technology and Telehealth, I have plenty of companies from which to choose. I do research daily and during my discussions with industry thought leaders, I make it a point to ask them what companies in the space they find intriguing and unique. I feel it is my job as a member of this industry tATA2016-Logo_Date_CItyo share this knowledge/information with my network so that you could be exposed to these organizations too.

Below are companies I have had my eye on all year that I met with in person at ATA to learn more about their story and vision.

Avizia: Robust end-to-end telehealth platform that connects any doctor to any patient at any time. Avizia as a company has made it their mission to advance healthcare by helping all patients have the ability to get top quality healthcare regardless of their location or situation. Named one of the 10 Most Promising Telemedicine Solutions Providers of 2016 by Healthcare Tech Outlook.

American Well: Unveiled their new Exchange service which allows patients to choose the doctor they want to visit with. This announcement was on the heels of introducing the first Mobile Telehealth Software Development Kit (SDK), which lets organizations plug telehealth capabilities directly into their own consumer-facing mobile apps. With the Exchange, these consumer-facing apps can now tap directly into services from American Well’s partners, which include Cleveland Clinic and Nemours Children’s Health System.

Chiron Health: Provides its physician practice customers Telehealth services with the most robust eligibility checks for reimbursement. Chiron’s eligibility check solution is so advanced that they guarantee their customers reimbursement by paying them the claim themselves. They have increased collections by 3-4% for their customers, who also see 98% patient satisfaction. Chiron is partnered with athenahealth, Greenway Health and CareCloud. See their website here:  www.chironhealth.com

Zipnosis: With an average diagnosis time of 2 minutes, Zipnosis is a force to be reckoned with in the provider market. Allowing their customers to save $175 per patient, per visit. In January, the company raised $17M in investment.

Stratus Video Interpreting: With over 1400 hospital customers, Stratus allows its customer to reach a live video interpreter in 30 seconds or less. They have recently moved into Telehealth and hired Lee Horner (President) and Brad Blakey (VP of Sales and Marketing) to build out that team. Stratus has the unique ability to support hearing impaired and English second language patients. Their two new solutions recently launched are Emergency Room/Urgent Care Consult and Post Hospital Discharge. Stratus won Tampa Bay’s Most Innovative Company Award in 2014.

WeCounsel: Telemedicine specifically geared towards Behavioral Health. Their company mission is to increase access to behavioral healthcare for patients. They provide their customers unique back-end administrative functionality and have secured $3.5M in funding. WeCounsel was recently chosen to be the primary provider of Telehealth software for MedOptions.

AMC Health: Device Agnostic Remote Patient Monitoring solution built on an open source platform. AMC Health has over 50 care managers on their team that can communicate with patients using: Virtual Visits, Phone Calls, Texts or Emails. Their mission is to “help people be healthier…anywhere”. Recently, AMC Health partnered with Glooko to fight Diabetes, and Propeller Health to fight Asthma and COPD.  They helped Geisinger Health Plan reduce readmission risk by 44% and delivered a 3.3 to 1 ROI. Their solution is also endorsed by the American Hospital Association.

PokitDok: API platform that helps enable other software platforms to gather information easier. This solution allows its customers to do transactions easier and have access to powerful data. McKesson recently made a strategic investment in the company with a total series B of $34M. Recently, PokitDok became a member of the CommonWell Health Alliance. They launched Digital Eligibility and Pricing Estimate Services for prescription medications.

TruClinic: Was named 2016 IDC Innovators by supporting a variety of telehealth models such as site-to-site, facility-to-field (e.g., EMTs, visiting nurses) and clinician-to-patient (direct to consumer and fee for service). TruClinic has customers on 4 different continents and in all 50 states. Recently signed Sharp Healthcare as a customer. The company’s mission is to make on-line health as common as on-line banking. The solution allows physicians to create their own patient surveys. In the past 15 months the company has experienced 400% revenue growth.

Propeller Health: FDA-cleared asthma and COPD management vendor that helps patients and physicians better manage chronic respiratory conditions. They make digital products that have therapeutic benefit. Propeller Health won the 2016 Innovation in Remote Healthcare Award at the ATA conference.

Doctor on Demand:  “Putting Patients First” is the company motto. Doctor on Demand offer its enterprise customers a consumer-grade experience and does not charge PEPM fees. They have both United Healthcare and several state BCBS plans as customers. Their goal is to help increase healthcare access in the most convenient way possible. DOD has over 400 employer customers, and 4 of the Fortune 10 companies.

Glooko: Diabetes Remote Monitoring solution to help a patient manage their chronic condition. This mobile solution addresses both type 1 and 2 diabetes. Glooko is significantly helping its patients reduce their A1C using its patient engagement and education tools. They recently announced an EPIC integration.

Vivify Health: Remote Patient Monitoring Platform helping move the industry toward value based care. Helping its patient manage their chronic disease, Vivify is one of the leaders in mobile population health management. They recently not only signed UPMC as a customer, but the health system also participated in their recent $17M Series B investment round.

Quintree:  Telemedicine solution specifically geared towards first point of care centers developed by ENTs.  The platform allows a patient to be seen in real time by an ENT, even when there is not one on site.  The care centers can scope a patient and live stream to a waiting ENT or simply video conference an ENT for a consult.  The SaaS model allows for scalability with little capital expenditure. ENT coverage is sparse and this solution allows ENTs to see more patients, more efficiently and allows for care centers to provide quicker and better patient care.  In addition, this solution is trying to curb over-prescribing antibiotics.

Teladoc: The company goal is to improve access to care in a cost effective way. Teladoc provides an ROI of 5:1 to their customers and have saved their customers $400M in net savings. This turnkey telemedicine platform has 95% satisfaction rate and 74% net promoter score which is unheard of. Aetna and state BCBS are customers. Teladoc was the first telehealth company to receive NCQA certification and was honored by Frost & Sullivan with the Product Line Strategy Leadership Award for Virtual Telemedicine Services. The CEO of the company Jason Gorevic announced at ATA that Teladoc will be launching their first chronic condition management program by the end of the year.

REACH Health: Next Generation Telemedicine software platform that cut its teeth in Telestroke and has more recently established themselves as a full end to end enterprise Telemedicine solution. REACH recently launched their 5.0 software update which enables clinical adaptability across the healthcare continuum. Analytics dashboard and reporting functionality allow their customers to monitor their Telemedicine programs at all levels. Being hardware agnostic, REACH allows their customers to have very little capital expenditures and encourages adaptability.

I remember going to this show two years ago in Baltimore and I am amazed at how much the industry has moved towards being software focused. The software vendors are definitely trending up as they had the largest and shiniest booths. I always come back amazed at how passionate and innovative this industry is as a whole. All of the companies above are helping drive change towards value based care and I feel so lucky to be able work in this industry every day.

The next trade show I am planning on attending is mHealth in Washington DC…if you are interested in having your company highlighted in my next blog, please let me know.

Why Consider a Career in Recruiting?

November 4, 2015

By Danielle Ketterer, Project Manager, DRI’s Healthcare IT Practice 

When you are younger, no one wakes up and tells their parents that they want to be a recruiter. Young kids might say they want to be a firefighter or a teacher when they grow-up because those are exciting jobs. There isn’t a major in college that teaches you to be a recruiter, “Recruiting 101” or “Qualifying Candidates” are not choices in your school’s catalog of classes. So what makes you want to be a recruiter? Is it the idea of sitting at a desk all day making sixty phone calls to maybe get one resume sent to you or is it the opportunity to make another sixty phone calls where all you do is leave voicemails? To the common eye these might not be intriguing aspects to accept a job, but the end result is what is getting more people to consider a job in the recruiting industry.

The end of your senior year of college means a time for fun with friends, but also is a time to figure out your next step. Some might be continuing their education, serving in the armed forces or even traveling before making any decisions. For others, like myself, spring time senior year meant interviewing with numerous amounts of companies just to find one person or company that saw something in you and was willing to give you a chance.  I went into my interview with Direct Recruiters viewing it as just another interview and I left thinking this is something I can actually see myself doing long term. Here is why:

  1. Helping Others: Recruiting is more than just filling job order after job order. Work is where a majority of people spend most of their day and you are here to help them make a decision on what is going to be the best next step for them. You may call someone who hates their job and you are there to help them find something that they love. The job order that you are currently working on might be life changing for someone on your list of people you have to call. The feeling of knowing you made a difference in someone’s life just by picking up the phone and giving them a call is a great feeling.
  1. Meeting People: As a recruiter, most of your day is spent talking on the phone to people all around the country. You learn about what they have done in their career, what they are looking to do and you might get a little glimpse of their personal life along with that. People come from all different walks of life and you get to learn about many different people. Learning about others’ experiences and their goals in life teaches you so much about what else is out there and can help you find direction in your life.
  1. Control: You have control over your success in this industry. Every day that you come into the office, your approach on the day is going to make a difference in your final outcome. There is so much upward mobility in recruiting, achieving that is up to you. Being able to determine your success is hard to find in a job. If you want to make $100,000 this year, if you come in and have that goal and are willing to do what it takes to make that happen, you can achieve that.

Helping others, meeting people, and control of your destiny are why I pursued recruiting as a career. You may ask other recruiters and they could tell you three completely different reasons. The bottom line is there is a lot of value behind being a recruiter. While I never thought of this as something I was going to be doing after college, others shouldn’t overlook it when considering a new opportunity