Is it possible for humanity to achieve access to “real healthcare” without balking at the high price tags such as “cure” carries? Not only financing treatments by public and private payers is challenging given rapid rise in net costs, the large mushroom of multiple health plans and hopping between one to another leads to “free-rider” problem. This creates huge discrepancy and confusion for funding cures, which not only delays required health support, but also drops its quality. One novel way put forward recently to tackle this issue why not monetize cure itself? This gave birth to the concept of Healthcoin, a platform for diabetes prevention.
Healthcoin, a platform for diabetes prevention
A blockchain technology based currency, the seemingly different aspects of preventive healthcare-hospitals, employers, health plans, insurers, governments, NGOs, wellness apps are brought under the single roof. Using massive database analytics and nationwide collaboration, the medical data is verified without any loss in transactions, and a targeted program is developed to prevent various disorders and develop a cure.
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Origin of healthcoin
With the first appearance of Bitcoins in 2009, adoption of Blockchain technology in health sector offers an interoperable sharing of medical data between payers, patients, and healthcare providers. Often it is observed that patients hop from one support to another, which leads to reduced investment in cures by private firms. Founded in 2016 by CEO Diego Espinosa and COO Nick Gogerty, Healthcoin has won the award for best private blockchain practice in health technology which allows employers, individuals, insurers, and governments worldwide to prevent an onset of diabetes in adults. According to ABA, latest study in 2012 has indicated roughly 9.3 percent Americans have Diabetes.
The idea of Healthcoin application in Diabetes came to Espinoza when he reversed his Borderline Type 2 Diabetes with Daily taps on his Gly co hemoglobin levels ( an indicator of glucose which reflects whether a person suffers from Diabetes or not). Despite having a low-fat diet and plenty of exercises, his A1c levels never ceased to raise, which indicated high possibilities to develop Type 2 Diabetes. On adopting Keto diet, his glucose levels dropped back to normal, which gave him an idea of healthcoin taking blockchain technology to keep tabs on the risk of Diabetes. Instead of focusing on measuring steps and other inputs, we refocus on “biomarkers” which indicate the onset of diabetes.
How healthcoin works to prevent diabetes
It works by tokenizing measurable improvements in health. Information about health apps, doctors, health plans, insurer biometric screening is recorded. For diabetes, in particular, A1c, High-density Lipoprotein, blood pressure, even gene markers, family history are noted down which can indicate the affinity to develop Type II Diabetes.
Espinoza said, “When a user’s biomarkers improve, the blockchain issues them a token,” which is analog of “certificate of proven prevention.” This encourages investors, payers as well as patients to adopt this new technology as life expectancy increases, and since health itself became a currency, even if the patient changes health plans, one can keep track, and the returns are mapped down easily.
How exactly does healthcoin revolutionize health sector?
- The openness, digitalization, protocols, accessibility, encryption, security, immutability courtesy blockchain technology are few of the exciting features which not only accelerates verification and processing but also reduces fraudulence.
- Also, it brings much-needed price transparency, along with maintenance of health records online.
- It eliminates the need for a third party to leverage and distribute data and saves time.
- Using healthcoin as a new form of currency regarding health metric, the incremental consequences produced by well-established cures can be traded with real dollars on stock exchange market with real dollars, whose benefits shall increase as life expectancy increases.
- It also aids players with investments in generic drugs and helps patients with reduced prices, investment in innovation for various therapies like stem cells, regenerative cells, and gene therapy with long-term benefits like longevity, high quality of life, reduced health care costs, and other economic advantages.
- It is resistant to fraud.
The underinvestment in cures and health care is increasingly becoming a growing concern among US population due to mushrooming private based health insurance system. Frequent turnover of beneficiaries in private plans often poses a grave setback to dynamic health pricing.
According to the US privately owned, consumer based startup Color Space Post, “blockchain technology could make a massive impact on both administrative costs and frauds.” According to US Department of Justice, Medicare Fraud Scheme incurred a loss of around 30 million dollars, which could have been avoided if Blockchain technology is adopted into the health sector.
If launched, Espinoza has mentioned that underlying database can be used to develop drugs and has a potential to reduce “epidemic of Diabetes” now prevalent throughout the world.
Deepmind Health has also decided to adopt this technology to track patients’ illnesses in real time, offering a fast, affordable and efficient recovery. Blockchain technology leaves no space for errors, and Daily Mail has shown that approximately 205, 000 misdiagnosis, prescription, disposal leads to untimely death.
Public payers would value health coin since it extends life and improves quality, private insurers, on the other hand, can sell these coins to another insurer if the patient leaves their rolls, and the expected health care costs would be less over coming years. For patients, early investments in health coin reduce a probability of diseases in subsequent years.
Another example comes from the cure of Hepatitis C in patients. The breakthrough drug “Sovaldi” proved to be an effective drug for Hepatitis. However it comes with a major drawback, it is quite expensive. Heaalthcoins can help realize although it might be “expensive” at first, the benefits accrue over the long term. Although it might look futuristic and straight out of science fiction, the future is here. Estonia had already begun to invest in healthcoin, and others are soon planning to follow.
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