3 Blockchain Startups and 1 Big Move to Patient Data Ownership

C. Gourarie
JULY 17, 2018
coral health blockchain,blockchain ai,blockchain ai healthcare,genetic testing blockchain

Blockchain Data: Think Big, Start Small

While the AI-powered future is soon to arrive, in the meantime doctors and patients still sometimes communicate via fax. And that’s where Coral Health comes into the picture.

Like Longenesis, Coral Health plans to build a blockchain-based marketplace for medical data, but the company is starting with data that already circulate throughout healthcare. And Coral has the insurance companies on its side.

The company launched in December and announced a pilot program with Principal Healthcare Systems, a Houston-based health service company. In the long run, Coral intends to include genetic testing, but it wanted to start with something that it could get off the ground in the near future, says Jeremy Mullin, MBA, an executive at Coral Health.

>> READ: Is Blockchain the Answer to Healthcare’s Cybersecurity Concerns?

“We firmly believe this, that genomic testing is going to be the foundation of your health record,” he says. “There’s so much potential to unlock if it’s stored where medical professionals can access it.”

But Mullin adds that it’s a mistake to start with genetic data, which are relatively scarce and thus plagued by limited value. “We think it’s too ambitious to start there,” he says. “We don’t need to start there to start gaining operability. We can start with something as simple as a lab test.”

One benefit that the Coral Health platform plans to offer is instant authorization from insurance companies. The plan is to code smart contracts, which are digital instructions that activate when certain conditions are met, automating the process. If a person arrives at the doctor and is recommended certain tests or treatment, they can choose to share their profile with the insurance company, which will immediately detect whether they’re eligible under their policy and then provide or deny authorization.

Coral Health also plans to open the platform, not only to researchers and pharma companies but to doctors, who can offer their expertise to patients who match their specialties. The system would resemble Zocdoc but for immediate consults. And doctors would reach out to patients instead of the other way around.

Coral Health is just one of several companies with similar models. Others include Medicalchain, Health Wizz and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-affiliated MedRec. But none has yet to emerge as the clear leader.

What Is Blockchain’s Role in Healthcare?

Whether the future of healthcare data lies with the blockchain is still up for debate.

But regardless of whether we need blockchain, these startups are forcing a necessary conversation about the best way for the healthcare industry to move forward in a way that fuels progress in medicine while also protecting the people whose literal blood, sweat and tears will be contributing to that future.

Get the best insights in healthcare analytics directly to your inbox.

Blockchain: Hype is Here, Use Cases Aren't
An Investor and an Innovator: The Birth of Sansoro Health
Dissecting the HIMSS Blockchain Buzz

Become a contributor