Providers must reward patients for releasing their data

Patients are notoriously protective over their health data, particularly where large tech firms are involved. That’s because, up to now, few have encouraged them to release this data with financial rewards. Data, we hear, is the black oil of the healthcare industry and cryptocurrency could be the carrot that patients need.

“There is no incentive for patients to contribute to the health records,” said Hari Ponniah, CEO of AHA Health at GIANT Health Event in London this week. AHA helps patients own and share their own data on their own terms and uses blockchain to reward the patient with AHA tokens (a form of cryptocurrency) when the data is released. Ponniah envisages that the patient can then use the tokens to pay for healthcare services like telemedicine appointments.

It does seem right that patients should be able to control their own data – it is the best way that providers, insurers and investors can build trust around data. They also need to be convinced that their data can contribute to the better delivery of healthcare and will not just bump up insurance premiums.

This is where blockchain comes in handy, by helping to adequately reward value-based care. DigiPharma has created a blockchain that enables healthcare providers to pay by performance for pharmaceuticals. The blockchain can release the cryptocurrency from the payor to the provider much quicker and can assess the data to reward the provider on evidence-based outcomes.

This process should be expanded beyond pharma and used to assess the delivery of healthcare.

If patients know that the provider of their treatment is being rewarded on its outcome, they are much more likely to release that data than if it was on a fee-for-service model. The blockchain would see the patient, the provider and the payor rewarded.

We would welcome your thoughts on this story. Email your views to Rachel Lewis or call 0207 183 3779.