Blockchain Solutions for Population Health Management
Patientory is a healthcare start-up aiming to transform the way patients keep track of their health information by empowering them to manage their own health care. Although based in Atlanta, Patientory grew out of a collaboration between Boulder, Colorado’s Boomtown Health-Tech Accelerator and Colorado Permanente Medical Group (of Kaiser Permanente). They are also in partnership with Startup Health.
The Patientory mobile app
Simply called “Patientory,” the Patientory mobile app enables users to store, view and track their health care data using HIPPA-complaint blockchain technology. Patientory’s advanced patient profile gives users instant access to their:
- Medical history
- Doctor visits
- Health insurance
On the Patientory blog, the team argues that the digitization of health care information not only has obvious advantages, such as instant access to one’s health data, but less immediately noticeable advantages as well. These include a reduction in lost data (e.g. from indecipherable handwriting); enhanced patient-doctor communication; emergency alerts (e.g. of life-threatening drug-interactions); and an increase in preventative care due to empowered and informed patients. More generally, Patientory claims that the digitization of health care data will increase healthcare quality and efficiency while reducing the nation’s healthcare costs by billions each year.
Patientory and the EHR
According to Patientory CEO Chrissa McFarlane, adoption of the Electronic Health Record has reached “approximately 90%” among health care providers. Nonetheless, McFarlane points out that recent security breaches have only worsened concerns over the privacy and security of EHRs. Furthermore, doctors and hospitals are often unable to share their information with one another. The result is not only an inefficient system, but a marked decrease in the quality of care. After all, every minute that doctors spend manually entering their patient’s data is another minute they could have spent with their patient. McFarlane maintains that blockchain is the most popular solution to the problem under discussion among technologists specializing in the healthcare sector. Patientory is building their platform accordingly.
The Patientory crypto-token
On April 25th, Patientory announced that they were taking a bold step toward realizing the task of interconnecting patients’ EHRs (while preserving their privacy) with the introduction of the first crypto-token to the healthcare sector. According to McFarlane, the Patientory platform will transfer tokens—PTYs—to “reward providers that work together” and provide the best care to their patients. The result: both a reduction in the cost, and an increase in the quality, of healthcare. Patientory’s token sale is set to open on May 17th.
The Patientory platform
On a more technical level, the Patientory platform (a health information exchange or HIE) makes use of secure, closed loop, distributed, blockchain technology to encrypt and decentralize data so that it distributed and HIPPA-compliant. As a result, with Patientory’s help, “the healthcare ecosystem” now has the means to embrace a blockchain platform and “to seamlessly exchange” information. According to Patientory, providers have every reason to participate, as the blockchain system promises to improve efficiency, eliminate redundancy and bring down the cost of care.
Taking a broader view, Patientory sees a new model emerging for the U.S. healthcare system. McFarlane explains that the overall goal is to transition the healthcare system in the U.S. from a “pay-per-service” platform to a “value-based” platform. But to accomplish this task requires a trusted healthcare information system that enables participating organizations to track and reward “medical interventions” based on their “quality, value and effectiveness.”
Overall, Patientory has a bold vision backed by a sophisticated app and blockchain platform. Yet the healthcare system has been slow to embrace systematic change in the past. Therefore, whether Patientory will succeed where others have failed in transforming the health sector is an open question. For fans of the “Facebook for healthcare,” a cautious optimism may be in order.