Healthcare is a difficult subject. It’s fraught with politics and conflicting points of view. It’s understandably emotional. This makes it a little different from other segments we have written about, such as sports and fitness, real estate or fashion.
When dealing with healthcare, we’re not just discussing how to disrupt a sector, making it smarter and more efficient, we are dealing with literal life or death situations.
And there couldn’t be a better use for this technology.
Health services digitalization is becoming a reality
There are many reasons why this is so.
Part of it is convenience. People want on-demand healthcare services, and don’t want to have to go to a clinic or hospital to perform routine procedures, many of which aren’t even medical in nature. People want to research hospitals and medical facilities, they want to book their appointments, they want to research doctors themselves.
Part of it is preventive. Technology can offer many solutions (such as wearable devices) that will help you monitor your vitals yourself, and be more knowledgeable about your health.
Of course, big data is also a key component. The more doctors know, the better they can administer treatment. That’s not the only possible use, though. 28% of emergency room visits are “frequent flyers”, people who visit the ER often. Knowing of this in advance can help create preventive medicine plans to take better care of them.
Companies like ClinicAll are heavily invested in this effort. They are working on digitising essentially every aspect of a hospital visit, from watching babies to collecting vital signs data. They want to digital patient admission, digital meal ordering, and, of course, medical records.
Which is where blockchain comes in.
Blockchain is revolutionizing medical record-keeping
There is a growing consensus that inefficiencies in medical record keeping are one of the greatest hurdles to improving healthcare. And it is also increasingly clear that blockchain technology will be the key to fixing this. Companies like Medicalchain are already coming through with products that use distributed ledger technology to keep medical records with the patient and accessible whenever they’re needed.
The root of the problem is that every institution still keeps their own records, siloed and separated from everyone else’s. You have one file at your dentist, another one at your pediatrician’s office from when you were a kid, a different one at your usual hospital, yet another one with your insurance company, etc. etc. All of these records contain information that could be useful if made available to whatever doctor is seeing you at any given time.
If, however, your record was kept on-chain… Then you alone would own it. And you could make it available to anyone treating you every time, so they could complete it when they’re done, and so on and so forth. The blockchain would also keep it safe, seeing as the confidentiality of medical records is a major point of contention as well. The leaking of medical records can have terrible consequences.
Digital currency can be used as an incentive for healthy behavior
Startups like Clinicoin and OncoPower are using digital currencies to reward their users’ healthy behaviours, while using their data to facilitate their access to treatment and engagement with healthcare. This is a growing market, and there are many companies out there that are investing in similar solutions. In our article about sports and fitness we covered companies that work in the exact same way but with a focus on physical activity.
Medical payments are coming too
You will have noticed that we haven’t brought up paying for healthcare with digital currencies yet.
That’s because medical payments are some of the most complicated payments in human existence. Many countries have socialised healthcare, which means that the state will take care of the lion’s share of the population’s medical expenses. But even then, many people will use private practitioners, and medical insurance, to avoid wait times or simply because they prefer the conditions on offer.
That’s where it gets complicated.
Private hospitals will accept some plans, but not others. Insurance companies will pay for some treatments, but not others. Everyone’s plan is negotiated individually, and copays need to be calculated according to every situation specifically. Most people only know how much they’re going to pay for any procedure at all after the fact. For many companies, healthcare providers and users, all of this confusing ordeal is still paper-based and exceptionally error prone. Hospitals suing for payment is a normal thing that happens every day. Prices are extremely unstable.
This makes for an industry that has been exceptionally resistant to digital currencies.
That could all be changing. Companies like InstaMed, which is a JP Morgan subsidiary, are trying to use the blockchain to finally overhaul the way people pay for their healthcare. Private healthcare is long overdue for a deep, lasting overhaul that streamlines the process for patients, providers and even insurance companies. By ensuring transparency, avoiding duplications and eliminations and cutting out the endless middlemen, blockchain is certainly the right answer.
So be a part of this revolution. Utrust is empowering companies of all areas, and making sure they are ready for the future. Because the future is coming, and you don’t want to be left behind.
Join Utrust now. Make sure this technology works for you, and you leave the competition behind.