Open Health launches blockchain-enabled feature to incentivize patient data sharing
- Mountain View, California-based Open Health Network has launched a new platform feature that lets users earn cash or rewards for uploading personal health data.
- The new feature, called PatientSphere, uses artificial intelligence and blockchain technology to connect researchers and healthcare companies with those seeking subjects for clinical trials or analytics, and monetizes the data they provide.
- Patients can also share their data — which can be uploaded from a range of sources including wearables, EHRs and Google Fit — with their personal physicians and insurance company.
The first layer of the program allows people to compile their health data in a single location and decide who has access and when and where the information can be seen. The middle layer is actually comprised of two layers — a HIPAA-compliant database where the data are stored and patient identity management powered by blockchain. Finally, there is a HIPAA-compliant metadata layer for searching potential trial participants and publishing identified information.
The new blockchain-enabled feature could help users in the push toward interoperability and getting patients to engage more with their data.
Blockchain is seeing more use in healthcare. Providers, payers, companies and medical researchers all see potential for the technology to solve problems ranging from interoperability to supply chain issues and getting people to adopt healthy behaviors.
But numbers are key. The more people who join a blockchain network, the more robust the entire blockchain becomes. One of the biggest challenges for blockchain in healthcare is convincing people to hop on the network, because incentives are not always aligned between different groups of potential participants.
"What blockchain has been able to do is create markets where a market didn't previously exist," Noah Zimmerman, director of Mount Sinai's Center for Biomedical Blockchain Research, told Healthcare Dive earlier this year. "The question is, are there ways to harness that same kind of behavior — getting people involved and incentivized to achieve an important goal — and do that in the healthcare space?"
Other companies are looking to create data marketplaces in healthcare. Mumbai, India-based LTI is working with a large European insurance company on a wellness program that uses blockchain to track healthy behaviors at a corporate and individual level and rewards participants with discounted rates.
And Embleema has developed a patient-driven blockchain network that lets patients securely share their medical records and personal health information and set limits on who can access the data.