Hashing Healthcare Solutions

According to Deloitte, 35 per cent of the healthcare industry is aggressively planning deployments of blockchain solutions by 2018. The sector receives mountains of data every day, including patient data, clinical data, and medical research. So what happens when you use blockchain solutions to give patients their data or help patients navigate mental health services?

Our guests this week include:

  • Dr. David Jaffray, Executive Vice President, Technology and Innovation, University Health Network
  • Dan Matlow, President & CEO, VitalHub (excerpt below)

A portion of our discussion with Dan Matlow is transcribed below. Subscribe here to have the Navigator’s latest insights delivered right to your inbox.

Clare: Before we dive into the nitty gritty of what your company does and the many platforms that it’s developed let’s look at 50000 feet up in the air. How do you think blockchain technology could help the health sector.

Dan: You know we started getting an industry research and started reading reports, that was a Frost and Sullivan report that came through and they did a good job of analyzing the health care sector into a couple different sectors, claims and billings was a predominant one. But the one that we honed in on was the interoperability of health records and the applicability of that health record, of a patient health record being interchangeable between, we call them providers. Providers are the delivery of care being doctors, community health centers, doctors offices, hospitals etc. But the ability to interchange that information amongst those in real time really provides a better quality of care and a really good cost benefit to health care systems. So those are the two hot buttons that we’re always after is can we get better quality of care extremely important and can we do it more efficiently and if you check up all those boxes it makes it makes things much easier.

Clare: Turning to some of the platforms that you’ve developed, public awareness about mental health in Ontario is perhaps higher than it’s ever been, with initiatives like Bell Let’s Talk and the work of many at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health. So CAMH estimates the economic burden of mental illness in Canada is about 51 billion dollars a year and your company is looking at some of the serious gaps in mental health care that results from inadequate access to available patient data. What exactly is the solution that you’re proposing.

Dan: There’s many different elements of mental health but the use case that we would like to suggest for potential customers or people that are interested in what we do is: I’m a mental health patient. Mental health care is different than for other types of illnesses. You hurt your knee you have taken x ray you need to do a blood test you need to do a cardiogram. We can use imaging or other systems to diagnose and to understand those situations. Mental health is primarily diagnosed through what we call assessment based technology where assessments are done on the individual, either self-assessment but usually done by care workers, those assessments are not completed in 30 minutes. They get completed over a series of extensive meetings and of observations at which point a diagnosis is done and treatment plants are put in place. Those treatment plans are you know vary in many different ways. They may involve pharmacy and drug interactions or just a fair amount of counselling or or self based treatments but those patients and those care plans are put in place and off they go. But that care plan and those assessments are locked in either this digitzed system within that community care access centre which you know in itself is overcrowded and that record can’t be shared at all. So we want that record to be shared. That that patient now presents itself at another community care centre or probably will present itself at a hospital emergency room, checks into an emergency room and that hospital has no understanding of that patient and that creates issues within itself. So the the the patient checks in there now they have to go get another site console to do an emergency assessment. That potential patient in a waiting area is clogging up the emergency room. It’s not good for the patient who’s under stress and so they try to give them best care as possible. They’re limited in the amount of psychiatric beds that they have in there so they’re trying to carefully screen if they get into the hospital. If they do get in there taking up a bed or someone else potentially gets in. And so there’s liability to the hospital if they don’t check the man so they’re careful that they do. They want them to come in so they might check people that don’t need to be there on the adverse effect, they might not check a patient in  that really does need to be in there and that patient potentially could do harm to themself or harm to others. And meanwhile five miles away is locked in that computer is that record of that patient. The emergency room could have that information. Blockchain represents the opportunity to get that record into the hands of that emergency room as effectively as possible.

Clare: So ultimately puts the patient back in the driver’s seat for control of their own data.