Blockchain Disrupting Healthcare: Shifting Wealth to the Providers

The US healthcare credentialing and recruiting industry is largely unnecessary and the value many of these firms bring is questionable. Currently over $16 billion dollars a year flows to intermediaries and the industry is projected to grow at 6% per annum given changing demographics and emerging healthcare policies. These intermediaries are largely exploiting inefficiencies. If applied properly, the blockchain could potentially displace the need for credentialing and recruiting firms.

Doctors, nurses, and allied health and other healthcare professionals do not own their individual professional “record” or credentials. Thanks to the blockchain, now for the first time these providers have an opportunity to take back (or self-govern) what is theirs, save the industry billions, and enhance their wealth.

It is time to build a “provider-centered” credentialing, recruiting, and reputation system. The blockchain is exactly what the doctor, PA, or NP should prescribe for themselves.

Healthcare is riddled with hundreds of intermediaries who profit from the inefficiencies in recruitment, employment, credentialing, privileging, and on-boarding. Verifying credentials, let alone reputation, is a complex process as there is no central source for these services.

Gone are the days when providers attended just one healthcare educational institute. Healthcare professionals attend multiple educational institutions, training and certification programs, and on-going continuing education courses to keep up with licensing requirements and the latest in medicine to ensure the preservation of quality and advancement of care. These programs and new models of education and online schools have complicated the process of verifying credentials, hiring, and privileging healthcare professionals.

Manual validation of all records from the plethora of brick-and-mortar and virtual institutions is a complex, time consuming, and highly inefficient process. Consequently, a myriad of healthcare compliance, recruiting, and consultancies have positioned themselves right in the middle of this profitable mess to manually validate credentials, references, etc., unnecessarily driving up healthcare costs.

The solution? A healthcare provider credential and reputation blockchain. One of the core characteristics of blockchain technology is the elimination of the middleman or intermediary. The healthcare provider credential and reputation blockchain would record and maintain the immutable and authentic record of a doctor, nurse, or other healthcare professional’s credentials and reputation, providing the industry with one open record of providers’ educational attainment, licensing, and professional reputation, thereby eliminating the need for middlemen.

Moreover, it is envisioned that this same credential and reputation blockchain would be used by educational institutions, hospitals, clinics, continuing education programs, certification groups, law enforcement, etc. Essentially these institutions become “peers” on a peer-to-peer network or blockchain. Participating in the blockchain would earn these institutions digital currency for validating and adding “blocks” to the network that are linked to digital educational certificates or other authentication constructs issued by the institutions. These blocks would be a permanent record and might include expired notices for timed-boxed credentials.

The blockchain may also include apps that patients and provider institutions might use to post permanent and authenticated reviews of a providers’ performance, establishing the provider’s “reputation” equity. These review block posts would come at an expense to minimize fraudulent reviews. Additionally, existing social network “kudos” such as recommendations and endorsements on LinkedIn could be posted to augment the official record.

Each provider would carry a digital credential portfolio on their smart phone or tablet able to control access to hiring institutions and licensing boards for a fee. Other potential types of data that could be recorded on the blockchain including performance reviews (positive or negative), sanctions, civil lawsuits, and misdemeanors and convictions.

The blockchain could also be extended to include hospital privileging and payer enrollment certificates (for billing and reimbursement) simplifying the onboarding process and movement within hospital systems.

Now, more than ever before, healthcare professionals are in a great position to unite and reclaim their credentials and reputations by way of a healthcare provider credential and reputation blockchain system that puts them in control of what is rightfully theirs.

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