Breaking the Barriers – How Blockchain Can Make You Healthier and Richer
Is private and secure healthcare a crisis of modernity? The cost of seeing a doctor experiences significant increases yearly, baring many from realizing the benefits of modern medicine. In 1970, the expense per person for health care was $355, and in 2016 $10,348. A community burdened by rising cost, debt, and complicated methods of access to a doctor are today’s healthcare consumers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted research claiming 40 million adults in America, one in five, are living without proper healthcare.
In 2017, the World Bank reported that half of the world’s population lacks essential health services and these numbers are growing. Approximately 100 million people have become impoverished under the burden of their directly funded medical expenses. As accessibility to medical professionals continues to decline, we see the most significant impact in the parts of the world where practices continue to use century old methods to track and treat patients.
The healthcare industry has notorious privacy, fraud and security challenges. As of 2018, 37 data breaches occurred among healthcare institutions. One involved Long Island-based Cohen, Bergman, Klepper, Romano MDs mis-configuring its online database, exposing the personally identifiable information of about 42,000 patients. Trade in anonymous medical data is allowed in the U.S., a $28 billion dollar industry. Prescription records, blood tests, doctor notes, hospital visits and insurance records get monetized. The healthcare information provided so far represents years of records for hundreds of millions of people.
The usage of mobile health apps and wearables is ever-growing with more than 55% of smartphone users upload health-related information on their phone. Health-related data is a valuable asset for both individuals and data-driven healthcare stakeholders. However, today’s healthcare landscape does not offer the consumers who provided the data as a method of capturing value for its usage. Businesses capitalize on rights to personal medical data without benefiting the consumers generating this data. Moreover, current system lacks the means to interconnect existing data and unlock its full potential for the benefit of all market players, losing an estimated $300 billion a year in data unavailability for marketing due to integration issues. Furthermore, siloed medical systems prevent needed records from getting to the people who need it when they need it most.
The rise of various applications has not yet delivered on the promise of digital technology empowering individuals and resulting in better healthcare and a more connected health-related market.
Does physical movement and a healthy diet have economic value?
A New York startup, Gainfy, a brainchild of Victoria Saucier, a partner of Ignite 500 investment firm, has proposed innovative solutions powered by AI and blockchain technologies to address the challenges discussed in this article and enable the healthcare system to reward the people behind the data and deliver efficiency, privacy, and data security.
“The key barrier for many people to make healthier life choices and be physically active is not a lack of motivation, but rather a human tendency to ignore things without instant gratification, causing people to struggle with weight, unhealthy diet habits and lack of physical activity. Moreover, people tend to underestimate the costs (problems) that obesity will have on them in the future and overestimate the costs (hardship) of leading a healthier life at present. As a result, people underinvest in their present self and have to pay for this in the future.”
Victoria sees the use of direct financial incentives, gamification strategy, and protection provided by blockchain technology as most critical tools to help consumers stay healthy, save money on medical cost and monetize their data. Gainfy employs blockchain technology and rewards users with its GainCash proprietary tokens for walking, exercising or opting for healthier diet choices. The users can earn more by setting and completing their daily FIT goals (Frequency, Intensity, Tenacity). The tokens can then be spent to buy products, services and experiences at partnered local retail stores and online vendors. “It’s basically like a frequent flyer point for staying healthy. We want people to be healthy, be motivated, track, own and monetize their data” she said. Every Gainfy participant possesses secure identity credentials, providing unparalleled personal data protection, control, and incentivized rewards with digital payments.
As I have previously written about convergence theory, this is a great use case for the intersection of the blockchain, AI, and IoT. Gainfy’s ability to build a data ecosystem providing the incentivized way to stay healthy and providing data ownership rights to its end consumer is an industry game-changer. Gainfy has the potential to not only disrupt the underlying flawed processes in the healthcare industry but will also improve the quality of life for millions of people all over the world.
By Nisa Amoils