Tools such as blockchain could potentially revolutionize the way the health care industry maintains data, but lack of trust among competitors will hinder its use, according to a Deloitte Consulting blogger.
The health care industry spends a substantial sum to maintain physician records — about $2.1 billion per year, Deloitte Senior Manager Bobby Vaitla states in a recent blog post — yet many of those records remain inaccurate.
The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently found that 52 percent of physician listings featured in online directories used by Medicare Advantage Plans contained at least one inaccuracy, such as incorrect phone numbers or addresses. Accurate information can be critical to all those with a stake in the industry; health plans need accurate information to ensure claims are paid promptly, while members need to know which doctors are in-network or accepting new patients.
However, coordination among doctors’ offices and insurance providers is often limited and updates to information can get lost in transit. Aging technology among some physicians’ offices can also pose a problem. Vaitla says nearly 40 percent of doctors continue to use fax machines to update directory information.
Enter blockchain, a “living list of linked digital records that is owned and managed collectively, rather than by a single entity.”
“For example, if a physician adds a new phone number, all participating health plans will see the update at the same time,” Vaitla says. “As a result, the health plans and their network physicians could see lower administrative costs and save time.”