There are several obvious use cases for blockchain technology, like supply chain management, voting systems and critical records management, but there are many nuances within those systems that can also be addressed. One subset of critical records is using that information to do record analysis to pair people, such as patient-doctor matching, you could think of it as matchmaking, which brings me to Global Health and Travel (GHT), with over eight years of success in healthcare facilitation. With a focus on increasing efficiencies for medical patients in their journey to find the best provider match, they have created a distributed technology platform that provides curated and quality-optimized healthcare for everyone, and now bringing it to the blockchain with Health FX (HFX).
GHT has been a trusted source for information on medical travel and health tourism within Asia since 2010. Their focus has been to simplify the three critical components of healthcare, first to identify the best practitioner for each individuals’ requirement. Second, to securely process payments and third to efficiently complete insurance processes. This is accomplished through a variety of initiatives in working with the medical community and educating consumers and patients through direct outreach and organized regional events.
Health FX is taking GHT to the next level by launching a decentralized global healthcare platform built on the Ethereum blockchain. Using a combination of artificial intelligence (A.I.) and blockchain to reduce the friction between services and patients by matching up individual patient requirements with service providers. Specifically Health FX is designed to replace traditional healthcare engagement models through this advanced matching and by coordinating the logistics of payments, and insurance claims across various insurance networks across Asia and eventually around the world.
Healthcare systems have become ridiculously complex and individually identifying the best possible care options from various government and private providers continues to increase in difficulty. Worldwide, more and more people are turning to social media to find reputable providers and medical information. The pace at which medical papers are published far outstrips an individual medical professionals ability to read and absorb the information, which has led to a growing disparity of knowledge even within specialties. The feedback from previous patients helps potential new patients identify who might be the best possible caregiver for their particular situation.
The complexity in the systems lends itself to significant fraud and even just billing errors. I used to write medical bill review software in the late 90’s through 2001, so I have personal knowledge of how convoluted this process is and the enormous money in this sub-industry. One tiny piece of work I did was to design better matching algorithms for PPO providers, just by doing a better job of matching providers resulted in an extra $40,000 a month profit for the company. The cost associated with this additional review process, just continued to increase the overall cost of care.
Cost in the insurance industry continues to explode, but little of the price increase has to do with the actual cost of care. Patient medical records are fragmented across providers in many cases, so they don’t get your overall health picture, with only about a third of the attempts at electronic medical record systems being successful. A whole other sub-industry has arisen that is referred to as “Medical Tourism” where the cost of travel and the procedure is less than getting it in your current location, or the procedure isn’t even available. It is projected that global spending on healthcare will increase from $9.1 trillion in 2017 to $18.3 trillion in 2040.
Health FX is combining the immutable record storage of blockchain, with A.I. and machine learning (ML) to provide both in-time validations and decision making capabilities together with predictive capabilities. The McKinsey Global Institute recently identified a number of opportunities in the medical industry by combining A.I. and ML:
- Diagnosing known diseases from medical data
- Predicting personalized health outcomes to optimize recommended treatment
- Optimizing labor staffing and resource allocation to reduce bottlenecks
- Identifying fraud, waste, and abuse patterns in diverse clinical and operations data
- Predicting individual hospital admission rates using historical and real-time data
What is particularly well thought out with Health FX, is their human-centric process that is enabled with their mobile app. Far too often I see blockchain enabled projects that insert so many extra steps into their system as to make it obtuse and inconvenient to use. With Health FX, the process does add a step in terms of acquiring and using their tokens, and an ability to earn tokens by leaving a review, it greatly simplifies the overall process by using their A.I. and ML enabled system to precisely match you with specific health care professionals for your needs.
The mobile app will allow the secure submission of personal data, and consumers can access their HFX Token wallet with the ability to add tokens, view balance and transfer to other consumers. Scheduling provides consumers the ability to book, modify or cancel consultations and treatment periods with healthcare professionals on the platform. A complete directory allows consumers to explore other service providers by function, expertise, experience, geography, availability and cost.
I like the creative and proper use of blockchain technology in the Health FX platform. The token has an obvious use case, and the easy “mining” by leaving reviews is a nice touch, it incentivizes you to help the platform learn. Keeping the more voluminous data on the InterPlanetary Files System (IPFS), such as reviews, permissioned data, incentivizations, etc., is smart, it keeps the costs way down as opposed to trying to keep it all on Ethereum like many others do. Including an off-chain layer with an API for things that don’t make sense to store on a blockchain is also very smart, and something that a lot of companies fail to design for. Overall a well thought out system that is addressing a real world need.