By HELEN DISNEY, CEO OF UNBLOCKED
Blockchain in healthcare still remains a smaller subset of the overall blockchain marketplace, lagging far behind investments and applications in finance, which still dominate the marketplace. Yet a survey of senior pharmaceutical and life science leaders, conducted by the non-profit Pistoia Alliance last year, found that interest in blockchain is high – with 83 percent expecting blockchain to be adopted in the next five years.
Companies in the field tend to fall into a few categories, with the most prevalent looking at aspects of the supply chain, B2B applications which reduce administrative costs within healthcare systems, and companies which are focused on sharing patient information.
Within the field, a few companies are taking the lead, especially in solutions which serve industry clients, while consumer applications of blockchain for healthcare are still largely in their early stages. We take a look at some of the players making waves in the sector and advancing beyond proofs of concept into real-world use cases and partnerships.
Solve.Care, run by CEO Pradeep Goel, is building a blockchain platform which it describes as “combining decentralisation with synchronisation to connect stakeholders with each other and redefine care, cost and convenience for everyone”. Earlier this year, the company announced a partnership with the Arizona Care Network and recently launched its Care.Wallet for physicians. Over the next few months, up to 5500 physicians and care providers will become early adopters, and will be able to begin downloading the Care.Wallet from the App Store and Google Play for use within the ACN Care Administration Network. The wallet serves as a system for checking physicians’ performance analytics and earning rewards. The next phase of Solve. Care’s development will look at expanding the platform to cater more directly for the needs of patients. In August this year, Solve.Care also announced a partnership with the Dinocrates Group, a consulting and advisory firm with expertise in healthcare administration, to deliver blockchain-based healthcare benefits management solutions to government clients in the US. According to ICO tracking websites, the company raised £35m with its token generation event, which closed in May, and says it has recently expanded by hiring 22 new members of staff in the past 2 months.
Run by its energetic and inspiring Founder, Susan Ramonat, who comes from a solid Wall Street background, Spiritus Partners, which is based in Edinburgh, is taking advantage of Scotland’s advancing role as a fintech hub to launch a blockchain healthcare business focused on the security and safety of the medical device HEALTH TECH BE HELEN DISNEY, CEO OF UNBLOCKED HEALTHCARE BLOCKCHAIN TOP 3 COMPANIES TO WATCH supply chain. Spiritus is devising digital service records and analytics that bring together clinical asset management, decontamination and sterilisation services with infection control. Often in modern healthcare systems, problems arise because we simply don’t know what equipment we have, what state the equipment is in, whether it is prone to infection due to being incorrectly cleaned and reused and whether or not it is compliant with existing safety regulations. Overall cybersecurity in medical devices is worryingly poor – and the risks of infections like MRSA and C Difficile are real. Ramonat’s concerns about cybersecurity risks and operational resilience led her to explore blockchain’s disruptive potential across industry sectors back in 2014.
Susan and her partner Bob Clint believe it is possible to dramatically reduce unnecessary injuries, complications and deaths associated with medical devices and equipment. The company is delivering a private, permissioned ‘middle ground’ where hospitals, device manufacturers and 3rd party service providers can share vital information in a timely, secure manner. Backed by funding from The Data Lab, they have begun an NHS blockchain-enabled pilot project which will track the chain of custody of connected medical devices throughout their lifecycle. Widely used to help people manage chronic conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease and neurodegenerative disorders, the project involves Edinburgh Napier University and NHS National Services Scotland. The business is self-funded and says it has no plans to launch a token.
SimplyVital Health, launched in 2017, was also created by a dynamic female founder. Katherine Kusmeskas, who was listed in Forbes as one of the global leaders changing healthcare, is focused on delivering value-based care, which is a growing trend in the USA and also globally. Value-based care is a system in which payment or reimbursement is based on outcomes. SimplyVital’s platform creates an audit trail of activity to be able to track and process rewards within such a system.
The company is creating a permissioned system using validators who are compliant with the USA’s HIPAA regulations (similar to Europe’s GDPR). The company started by building a practical implementation of blockchain: an audit trail which brings providers together from different clinical organisations onto the same platform, where they can view the same data for shared patients. Financial and clinical algorithms powered by AI then provide actionable opportunities for all users.
This means providers can, for example, work collaboratively to drive down the cost of care and can be paid by results. The next phase of the company will focus on building a blockchain infrastructure and protocol called Health Nexus. A fork of the Ethereum blockchain, the platform aims to create a new validation and governance protocol focusing on HIPAA compliance with a key pair system built into the protocol for safe data sharing. The ultimate goal is to develop a fully-functioning healthcare data marketplace, which will be attractive to all major players within the healthcare industry.
The company held its ICO earlier this year for its HLTH token and previously raised funding from Anorak Ventures, a San Francisco-based boutique VC firm, and Med-Metrix, a leading provider of performance management analytics, consulting, extended business office, and revenue recovery services to the healthcare industry