Blockchain Startup Review: IncentHealth
As their name suggests, IncentHealth is a healthcare startup that aims to create incentives for healthy living. In an effort to help end healthcare inequality, the company will focus its blockchain-based platform and cyptocurrency based incentives on helping under-served groups reach critical health milestones. Their pilot project is a smoking cessation app and program that relies on a collaborative effort between patients, their support networks and their doctors.
Platform and program
Although the healthcare startup has not shared detailed specifics on their Ethereum-based blockchain platform, they do emphasize that the smart-contract powered platform will draw upon “lessons learned from clinical trials” on the efficacy of health incentives. The backbone of the smoking cessation program is a series of milestones, corresponding to health goals, that the patient must meet on their way to the larger goal of successful quitting smoking. Upon achieving each health-goal milestone, the IncentHealth program rewards the patient with a specific quantity of cryptocurrency. The program will make use of predictive analytics to gauge when to make changes to the incentives awarded.
IncentHealth digital assistant
One of the tools at the center of IncentHealth’s pilot program is a chat bot that keeps in close touch with the patient throughout their struggle to quit smoking. The IncentHealth chat bot is programmed to reach out regularly to the patient, inviting them to update their progress through quick surveys. It also arranges for them to talk to a member of the patient’s “care team” as needed. In the company’s chat bot demo, the IncentHealth chat bot reaches out to the patient after a stressful day at work. The chat bot asks the patient to rate their level of craving (for a cigarette) that day on a scale of 1 to 10. When the patient answers “9”, a more in-depth conversation ensues. When the chat bot learns that the patient has had a cigarette that day, the chat bot asks the patient to identify which, if any, of the most common triggers (peer pressure, stress at work, or withdrawal symptoms) led the patient to smoke. Upon learning that the trigger was work stress, the chat bot shares a link to a resource “about getting to a smoke free environment” to help the patient push through their stumbling block.
IncentHealth has made their exploratory user profiles, a common stage in the modern design process, public. Of their five user profiles, three are patients, one is a doctor and one is a health innovation director. The patients and doctors, such as “female smoker [who] desires a better way to quit” and “physician [who] wants to explore new smoking cessation models” play complementary roles in the IncentHealth smoking cessation program. When the smoker visits their doctor looking for help in their struggle to quit smoking, the doctor recommends that they try IncentHealth’s pilot program. When the patient accepts, the doctor logs into IncentHealth, chooses a form of payment (e.g. “CareGiver/ins support donate incentive program”), initiates the program and sends the patient a link to get started.
Health directors, on the other hand, follow another process. The company’s director persona, a “health innovation director passionate about new incentive programs,” is looking for an affordable, innovative smoking cessation program to implement in her organization. She has chosen IncentHealth’s pilot program. After logging into the dashboard at IncentHealth.io, she reviews the worklists and performance reports associated with her doctors’ current smoking-cessation patients. She then exports the statistics, along with a summary of patient funding, to present at her next board meeting.
Team and future
IncentHealth’s small team of five includes co-founder Daniel Schott, MBA, who CoinDesk featured in a recent article on U.S. blockchain-based healthcare startups, such as Gem Health and IncentHealth, looking outside the United States as they explore projects and partners. Schott explained that IncentHealth is finding the current U.S. health industry excessively restrictive and resistant to change. Consequently, IncentHealth is “looking to Canada” as a more welcome environment to engage in initial partnerships and prototype development.