Blockchain has transformed countless industries. It was originally developed for use with Bitcoin, a new form of digital currency. The tech community, however, has found seemingly limitless uses for the information sharing system. Even the healthcare industry can benefit from blockchain, especially in the area of medical billing!
How Blockchain Works
Blockchain can be a difficult concept to understand for those unfamiliar with the system. Essentially, blockchain is a shared transparent and incorruptible database. The information stored on the ledger doesn’t have a single centralized location. Instead, it’s duplicated across many different computers. Whenever an individual makes any changes, the entire blockchain is immediately updated in real time.
The Current Medical Billing System
The current medical billing system is in desperate need of a revamp. The challenges range from unnecessary complexity to needless security risks.
Fraud is one issue that blockchain has the ability to address. The current system offers many opportunities for fraud. Billing fraud can be committed by providers, insurance companies, or even the patients themselves. Medicare is at an especially high risk. In 2017, the US Department of Justice and a special Medicare task force found 412 individuals guilty of committing health fraud that was worth $1.3 billion.
Unintentional inaccuracies are another problem. Medical processing is overly complicated, which leads to incorrect or duplicate files. This produces inaccurate medical billings, which are a burden on patients.
The current system also allows for security flaws. All of the information is stored in a single database with a physical memory. Only a few select administrators can access the database, which produces a higher chance of a data breach.
Blockchain and Medical Billing
Blockchain transforms the medical billing system. The virtual ledger is complete and decentralized, meaning that every transaction is added to a permanent record and can be viewed by anyone. Claims adjudication can consult a reliable and streamlined source.
Blockchain is also more secure than the current system because it offers a method to permanently record all information, which prevents falsified transactions. Although information on a blockchain is normally available to the public, users can encrypt the data so that only select individuals have access.
Blockchain’s Implementation Today
At this point, blockchain has yet to be fully adopted by the medical billing industry. Many healthcare organizations, however, have realized blockchain’s potential and are starting to implement it into their processes. One example of a company that already successfully uses blockchain for their medical billing is Office Ally. Office Ally offers clients a suite of web-based healthcare services. TheraNest is another group that utilizes blockchain for their medical billing.
Blockchain will likely become more common in medical billing as advanced technology becomes more popular and utilized in the day-to-day running of healthcare organizations.
Blockchain has already revolutionized a variety of sectors, and is beginning to change medical billing as we know it. As the technology continues to become even more widespread, the medical billing industry will no doubt develop even more uses for blockchain!