In this discussion, I am interested in blockchain technology as a new trend that could influence advanced nursing practice. Blockchain technology “is an advanced database mechanism that allows transparent information sharing within a business network,” and function by storing “data in blocks that are linked together in a chain” (Amazon AWS, 2023). Healthcare can utilize blockchain technology to store and exchange patient information data and medical records. Arnautova (2018) mentioned the application of blockchain to EMR systems to improve security, portability, and many more.
Durneva et al. (2020) mentioned one of the positive impacts of blockchain technology is its ability to “provide patients and providers with more secure and private access to the data and allow them to better collaborate in complex medical situations” (p. 7).
Many patients I’ve encountered has multiple specialist that they follow up with, such as cardiologist, nephrologist, urologist, and many more. These specialists often had their own practice, and hence purchased a different electronic systems to store patient information and do their own charting. Many clinician APRNs that I’ve worked with had a hard time collaborating with specialists due to the lack of access to patients’ records in different electronic systems. When the IT department was contacted on such issue; the answers they got were that due to the concern on hospital security and breech of patient data, the hospital had decided to prevent access to electronic systems differs from theirs. These happen commonly in hospitals in which their electronic systems are not blockchain-based.
Blockchain systems supports future APRNs, especially those taking the role of clinicians, by providing secure and privatize access in integrating the various health record databases from specialist providers. Having increase accessibility to patient data means APRNs are able to gain a much more comprehensive understanding of patient conditions and can better inform their plan of care.
Dunerva et al. (2020) mentioned several negative impacts of blockchain in healthcare including “resistance to blockchain adoptions by patients and providers” and “data storage limitations” (p. 9). Many patients, specifically the older generations I’ve worked with, refused to work with electronic based systems and place their information in such databases due to the fear that their data will be shared without their knowledge. Similarly some APRNs, regardless of the role they are taking, are resistant to adopting blockchain technology because of the uncertainty of its security. Additionally, clinician APRNs also have to consider the high cost of storing large amount of patient information and data and whether paying for the extra cost is justifiable in relation to their income. These challenges can negatively impact clinician APRNs care as it put a stop to that collaboration and secure data sharing of patient information and plan of care between databases. I believe more researches are needed enhance blockchain cost efficiency for APRNs and ways advanced practice nurses can foster trust and positively introduce blockchain technology to their patient populations.
Amazon AWS. (2023). What is blockchain technology? https://aws.amazon.com/what-is/blockchain/?aws-products-all.sort-by=item.additionalFields.productNameLowercase&aws-products-all.sort-order=asc
Arnautova, Y. (2018). Top healthcare industry trends to watch in 2018 and beyond. https://www.globallogic.com/blogs/top-healthcare-industry-trends-to-watch-in-2018-and-beyond/
Durneva, P., Cousins, K., & Chen, M. (2020). The Current State of Research, Challenges, and Future Research Directions of Blockchain Technology in Patient Care: Systematic Review. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 22(7)https://doi.org/10.2196/18619
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