The Case for Tokenization in Healthcare

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Healthcare globally is tragically broken. Costs in virtually every country are spiraling out of control and the population of people with chronic diseases is rising at a rapid rate. Governmental and industry led efforts have failed to blunt the course of this epidemic of disease. Traditional management systems are failing to drive the improvements needed to improve healthcare outcomes or finances. In the US, the current spend on healthcare is over $3 trillion, or nearly 20% of the GDP, and additionally growing nearly $200 billion dollars per year.

In the face of these major issues of cost and disease burden a radically different approach to managing healthcare is needed. Current approaches in the management of healthcare all involve concentrations of data and information in the hands of middlemen divorced from the actual patient receiving care. Examples here are insurance companies, hospitals, pharmacy benefit managers, Medicare, Medicaid, TriCare, Veterans Administration and multiple others. Each of these entities jealously hoards “their” data (actually of course this is your data) and are loath to share with others. Virtually none of these data holders share the data with patients or give them direct access to their data. It would be rare for patients to actually be able to assist in the management or collection of their data. Patients are not involved in assuring the accuracy of the data. In fact, none of these holders of this information feel that the information belongs to the patient. In this setting, it is no wonder that care is fragmented, segmented, uncoordinated and excessively expensive. Healthcare providers complain that patients don’t follow their “orders”, take their medications or follow treatment regimens.

When patients don’t achieve success, providers and payers often blame the patient for being insufficiently motivated to make the necessary changes. The concept of rewarding patients for making changes is completely foreign to most of them. The concept that your healthcare information actually belongs to you is equally foreign to them. Despite the claims that patients fail to follow “orders”, there actually is no mechanism to track and follow patients real-time to see if these activities are taking place. No systematized approach to sharing the financial rewards associated with better outcomes has been effectively implemented at scale.

Information has shown that up to 40% of all prescriptions are never filled and for those on long term medications, up to 80% of patients stop taking the medication without notifying their provider. No one knows why this occurs and there is no effective system in place to change these statistics. The thought of incentivizing patients to fill and take their medications is unheard of. Into this chaotic mess have come a number of data aggregators trying post hoc to “help” patients better manage their care. None of these programs can scale across very large groups of patients, and still presume that someone other than the patient should be managing their care. When patients continue on chronic medications the outcomes are better and the pharmaceutical companies, PBMs and others benefit financially but the patient does not financially benefit. Why should this be the case? We believe we have a better solution.

In the United States there is a multi-billion dollar marketplace for information sold at an aggregate level to data brokers, pharmaceutical/device manufacturers, and of course, patients receive none of these funds. If you have had genomic testing by commercial vendors then it is likely they have sold your genetic information on to others without reimbursing you for the use of that data. When you visit an academic facility for treatment and they request that you allow them to use your specimens for “research purposes” it is likely that if those research purposes create treatments then they will be financially rewarded for the developments but you will not, nor will you ever know that they were rewarded. This genomic data may in and of itself be worth thousands of dollars and patients receive none of the benefits from its sale.

TimiHealth’s solution begins with the presumption that patients should be in control of their own data and give permission for it to be used by their chosen healthcare providers. The information is secure (based on blockchain technology) and completely portable since the information is controlled by the patient and shared with permission. This allows the patient and their family to be actively engaged in their health. In addition, with the Timicoin, insurance companies and others can reward patients for achieving goals, sharing information for research purposes or for other reasons that patients agree to.

With the creation of the first purpose-built healthcare blockchain solution with tokenization by Timicoin/TimiHealth, a new solution is at hand. TimiHealth has created the first purpose-built healthcare patient-centric blockchain infrastructure designed so that the patient controls their healthcare information and can be rewarded via Timicoins (the token) for healthcare improvements and for sharing data with those who wish to sell or utilize the data for research or management purposes.

Currently, patients are not rewarded when their data is used for research, nor are they allowed to control the use of their “anonymized” and/or aggregated data which is currently sold to many vendors. It has been estimated that an individual patient’s data may be worth as much as $7,000 per year. These rewards currently do not go to the patients but rather to data middlemen, researchers and pharmaceutical companies. Imagine if your insurance company, or your pharmacy or your benefits manager provided you with Timicoins for filling and taking your prescriptions? Might that provide you with income that you otherwise would not have? Might it make your medication free of charge to you? This is a simple use case for the value of tokenization. There are many others.

For those patients with multiple chronic diseases life can be very difficult for the patient and their family. For the very sickest group of patients it can be difficult to coordinate all that needs to be done just to go on living. What if your insurance company rewarded you with tokens for achieving certain goals or taking your medications, managing your weight or controlling your blood sugar? Those tokens could be utilized to make life easier. What if the pharmaceutical company wanted access to your records, laboratory results and genetic testing and was willing to pay for that access? Currently this is not an option but with Timicoin/TimiHealth this would be an option available and could significantly alleviate some of the financial burdens of illness.

It is the belief of the team at TimiHealth that the time has come for patients and their families to be able to control and manage their health and be rewarded for doing so. In this fashion, it is our belief that the burden of chronic illness, diabetes and other conditions can be significantly mitigated and that by incentivizing patients for improving their health, that the spiraling costs of healthcare can finally be controlled.

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