With healthcare and insurance costs rising year over year many people, including Warren Buffet, Jamie Dimon and Jeff Bezos (Healthcare Costs are Eating the Economy), are turning to new ideas and technology in an effort to address this problem.
Can blockchain play a part in this solution? First off, it probably helps to revisit the definition of exactly what blockchain is: “a system in which a record of transactions are maintained across several computers that are linked in a peer-to-peer network.” This has also been called a “decentralized, distributed ledger”.
By nature of its structure, which is decentralized and interacts using cryptography, blockchain is considered inherently secure.
So how would blockchain be applied to medical billing? The first step would be the adoption of blockchain to electronic health records (EHR) which would benefit from the security and document timestamps that would prevent them from being accessed or tampered with.
When it comes to medical billing “smart” invoices that run on blockchain can be created that pay themselves as soon as the service has been rendered. Now that sounds like something that Doctors might enjoy!
In the future we might even see medical bills being reimbursed using blockchain and cryptocurrencies. (ref.)
A unified, single system of secure medical records would also enable all manner of creative innovation about not only billing but the delivery of medical care.
Here are some examples being talked about in the medical blockchain industry:
- Self-organizing care teams which take clinical and financial responsibility for the management of conditions and delivering care.
- Payments could be tied to quality gates.
- Physician-focused models emerging as a priority of the new administration.
Let’s look at the current state of the Billing and Insurance Related pie so that we can get an idea of the scope of the market and the potential for savings.
A 2014 NIH study by a group of physicians and health policy researchers with ties to UCSF and Harvard Medical School found that, in 2012, we wasted $375 billion in Billing and Insurance (BIR)-related paperwork. Eighty percent of the $471 billion we spend on BIR activities is embedded waste resulting from the inefficiencies of our financing system. (ref.)
Blockchain is clearly a very new, emerging technology but there are seem to be exciting opportunities to save money while delivering patient’s need-centric healthcare and that’s, well, just healthy!
While blockchain may be the future we at MBC Systems supply traditional medical billing solutions to doctors, doctor’s groups, orthopedic surgery centers and more. With 25+ years of experience we bring to the table we can improve your coding, billing and collections and allow you to focus on your practice. Call (949) 863-0022 to set up a consultation or use our handy Request a Call form.