How blockchain is changing the healthcare sector

20 August 2020 in Blockchain , Healthcare , Success Stories

Since 2015, municipalities have been responsible for youth care, work, income, and care for the long-term sick and elderly. The municipalities have taken over part of these tasks from the central government as part of the decentralization program. In this blog post, we’ll describe how we effectively managed to integrate blockchain technology to help solve the big administrational burden, a lot of miscommunication, and a very slow financial process.

Changing healthcare sector

The government has taken a number of measures so that municipalities can properly carry out their new duties. Such as:

  • Less regulatory burden for residents. This means that the rules must be as simple as possible and residents with complex problems can go to one point of contact.
  • Money flowing to municipalities for tasks in the social domain are organized more simply. Municipalities ultimately receive 1 budget from the municipal fund to promote participation in society. In this way, the spending and accountability for this budget become clearer for municipalities.

The problem 

Renkum is a municipality in the city region of Arnhem, in the Dutch province of Gelderland. The municipality has 31,380 inhabitants and has an area of ​​47.12 km². Unfortunately, the decentralization of healthcare has not led to cost savings for them, but rather to higher costs, less healthcare, and more bureaucracy. Right now all the stakeholders store their own agreements, administration. Because of that, the financial processes are managed based on different interpretations of these stakeholders. This results in a very big administrational burden, a lot of miscommunication, and a very slow financial process.

Solution

Using blockchain we can optimize the healthcare supply chain, lower costs, maintain the administration, and save more money to provide high-quality healthcare.​ ​This is because we’re making sure that healthcare providers, municipalities, and clients are all part of the same blockchain network.

The blockchain provides functionalities to automate processes, use the same agreements, the same administration, and simplify financial streams, by adding an intelligent layer for the communication between municipalities and healthcare providers.​ ​

Thus the intended impact of this blockchain initiative is to create a streamlined and simple administrative process:

  • Without checks afterward
  • Where the client has an active role
  • With as many chain partners as possible
  • Data-driven and real-time management information

How does the healthcare supply chain optimization work?​ ​

The application was developed for 3 main purposes. Facilitate that the different stakeholders are using the same product data through the supply chain. It also facilitated the users communicating different types of standardized messages with requests and patient data using the blockchain.   When requests to take care of patients are granted a wallet with tokens is created which generates invoices and automated payments. With the healthcare supply chain optimization tool we have proven to provide the following benefits​:

  • By adding the agreements between municipalities and healthcare providers in a so-called smart contract on the blockchain, all stakeholders have the same information.​ 
  • Every administrational step in the process is stored on the blockchain as a transaction, so all stakeholders hold the same administration. ​ 
  • The shared agreements and administration create more efficiency, fewer costs and more time to provide high-quality healthcare.​

Conclusion

The solution optimized the administrational process and so the costs of healthcare were substantial. Because the agreements regarding products are in the smart contract there are no incorrect product requests anymore and thus no bounced invoices. The automated messages optimize the communication between the municipality and Pluryn, so clients can be helped faster and the agreements are clear. The wallets for patients and tokenization facilitate the optimization of the administration and financial process and as a result the cost.

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