Is it possible to improve healthcare with blockchain technology?

The Wall Street Journal recently noted that the United States “will soon spend close to 20% of its GDP” on healthcare. While it might not be possible to address the rising costs of healthcare in the immediate future, there are steps that can be taken to address issues of customer service and efficiency to improve the overall healthcare experience, while ensuring the protection of customer privacy.

Halamka, editor-in-chief of ‘Blockchain in Healthcare Today’, sees many possibilities for blockchain to improve the healthcare industry:

  • Medical records storage and interoperability.
  • Consent management.
  • User verification (KYC).
  • Improve efficiency of processes

In short, he thinks blockchain can make healthcare less time consuming and less costly. Let’s take a look at the current state of blockchain for healthcare.

1. Dentacoin

Dentacoin ( DCN ) is a blockchain solution for the global dental industry. It is developing a new dental ecosystem with the following goals:

  • Make preventive dental care affordable to people with lower costs and/or no private insurances — through Dentacoin Assurance.
  • Help people improve their oral hygiene habits through a dedicated app — Dentacare.
  • Deliver the infrastructure for trusted and detailed patient feedback for dentists to improve upon — Dentacoin Trusted Reviews;
  • Secure and ease all payments while reducing transaction costs through an industry-specific cryptocurrency (Dentacoin) and the Dentacoin Wallet dApp.

2. Medibloc

MediBloc is a decentralized app platform that uses the Ethereum. It gives patients control over their medical history and data and chooses who gets access to it. Currently, people have to undergo the same check-ups and provide all the details when visiting a new doctor. With MediBloc, all that information could be provided directly and save on precious time and resources and allow for better patient care and treatment.

3. Solve.Care

Solve.Care is an innovative healthcare administration platform that empowers patients, employers, physicians, healthcare organizations and insurance companies such that care delivery can be more efficient, effective and affordable. The platform is designed to decentralize processes and synchronize all parties using the power of distributed ledgers and intelligent process automation.

The company launched its Care.Wallet for Physician to allow the providers of the Network to track the successes and their overall score while receiving corresponding rewards according to the Provider Rewards Program. The value-based payments happen via Care.Coin, thus making Solve.Care the first companies to implement digital currency and blockchain technology for value-based payments in the conservative US healthcare industry.

4. Doc.AI

Doc.AI believes that visiting a doctor in person is for most of the cases a waste of your time. Therefore, it is looking to combine deep learning, blockchain and AI to bring medical knowledge to people’s smartphones. The goal is to have natural language conversations with AI doctors via their smartphone. Doc.AI states that most of the simple illnesses like a cold can be settled via an AI doctor.

5. Chronicled

The San Francisco-based tech company applies blockchain technology combined with IoT systems to supply chains to help improve traceability and accountability. It is crucial in industries such as pharma, precious metals or other high-value commodities.

In case of time- and temperature sensitive healthcare products such as various vaccines, safe and timely delivery is crucial. Blockchain solutions could help speed up logistics, minimize discrepancies, create potential cost savings from streamlined processes, improve product visibility, and add transparency as products travel through the pharma supply chain.

6. Collectly

Collectly has developed software that integrates with any existing Electronic Health Record system so it can bill patients digitally or even start payment plans. The idea is to automate the whole payment flow and make it easy to incorporate into their existing system. Also, the platform takes care of collecting debts by sending patients a notification about their due payment.

Collectly has engaged with more than 60,000 patients each month and collected more than $12 million of unpaid invoices for more than 2,500 providers. It has increased the collection rate on patient bills from an industry average of 8–12%, depending on the type of practice, to 50–75%, making collections a remarkable 500% more efficient.

7. Iryo

Iryo says it is creating a global and participatory healthcare ecosystem. The ambitious start-up is building an open-sourced OpenEHR platform with tremendous efforts and zero-knowledge data repository. The latter ensures that sensitive medical data will remain secure and utterly impervious to cybersecurity breaches, including state-sponsored attacks.

The overall goal of Iryo is to build an appropriate platform for keeping health records unified. Instead of all kinds of medical data from various providers stored in different formats and scattered across different systems, Iryo’s solution promises to store data securely and allow patients to share their medical history anywhere in the world.

8. Kalibrate Blockchain — FormDrop SDK

The FormDrop app allows patients to electronically fill out and submit forms to healthcare providers using their personal smartphones, with no need for clipboards, paper forms, or electronic tablets. Patients can also use FormDrop to index their patient ID’s and personal health information on the Universal Patient Index as well as to authorize access to that information by healthcare providers — whether or not those providers have adopted the Universal Patient Index platform.

Note: The license to use FormDrop SDK is only available for a select amount of hospitals in specific industries.

9. Healthereum

Healthereum is a rewards and loyalty platform for patients while targeting microlevel inefficiencies in provider-patient encounters. The goals are to improve patient accountability, broaden care delivery, and streamline interactions with insurers.

While rewarding patients who are engaged with their healthcare, Healthereum simultaneously addresses the critical cost aspects of a full-cycle patient encounter by improving the no-show rate, increasing acquisition of survey care data, lowering insurance claim denials, and facilitating better ongoing patient messaging.

Through the Healthereum Life Portfolio, or HELIO, and its Syndicate, the suite of applications is accessible by the patients and care providers. The products are currently in the testing phase.

Conclusion

There are many more healthcare-blockchain projects than the above ones that try to innovate parts of the healthcare industry. It is interesting to see how almost every project tries to improve the efficiency of at least one interaction. We can clearly conclude that the healthcare industry has problems with data storage and data transfer between parties.

Is it possible to improve healthcare with blockchain technology? was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Publication date: 
02/21/2019 - 20:35