The meaningful use program was established under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 (HITECH) and it’s widely accepted that the Act as a policy was a success. Through Electronic Health Records (EHR) certification, the program aims to improve healthcare quality, safety, efficiency and reduce health disparities. Additionally, the program drives providers to engage patients and families, improve care coordination and maintain health information and security. HITECH was designed to ultimately improve clinical outcomes, improve population health, increase transparency, empower patients and make more data available for research. However, interoperability remains a monumental challenge that needs to be confronted while keeping security and privacy concerns in mind. Electronic health records that exist are typically maintained in on-site repositories powered by physical servers or on an IT cloud. This centralized healthcare data creates a heightened vulnerability for security breaches, one where hackers can easily gain unauthorized access into systems loaded with private patient information.
In order to further meet the objectives of HITECH, what is necessary is a peer-to-peer network enabling providers, payers and patients access to healthcare data to run translations, normalizations, and computations on data while keeping the data completely private. To achieve this, we need to build a network infrastructure that leverages technologies such as blockchain. Such a system could lead the way to dissolving quasi-monopolistic information silos by connecting both large and small players into a secure communication network. Combining off-chain machine learning to do translations among different healthcare standards with blockchain implementations such as Hyperledger and Hashgraphs, we can deliver interoperability, privacy, security and immutability of medical records. This way we achieve what HITECH was designed to ultimately improve: clinical outcomes, improved population health, increased transparency, empowered patients and more research data.