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Blockchain: Blockchain in Healthcare and Insurance

Insurance, one of the most ancient of trades as well as one of the largest industries worldwide at present, has been, by far, left untouched by major technological disruptions. But the times are changing. Insuretech, a big buzzword in the industry, refers to the use of technology innovations geared towards improved efficiency and reduced cost. Blockchain, with it’s potential to simplify the insurance model while increasing trust and transparency at the same time, has a powerful role to play in the future of insurance.

Pain Points for Health Insurance Consumers:

  1. Access to medical history of the patient as per need and ownership of medical data: This happens often when the consumer changes the plan/insurance provider/doctor. This scenario can even happen when the customer has been on the same plan for many years and the data is distributed in far flung corners of the insurance network. The patient data is owned by the various providers rather than by the patient themselves. The end user has little to no control on their own medical data/history. So during an emergency/ even during routine checkups; the patient data will not be readily available to a different doctor/hospital without undergoing a cumbersome process to gain access to the information. In this scenario the doctors providing the services to the patients will not have a complete view of the patient’s medical history leading to repetitive tests or incorrect diagnosis or protracted diagnosis.
  2. Processing/denying claims within a specified time period: Insurance companies bungling up on claims beyond their deadlines leads to customer dissatisfaction. This, in turn, is again linked to the major issue of losing customer’s trust.

Security: Consumer identity information stored with the hospitals/insurance providers make it vulnerable to leaks and identity theft

Blockchain:  Insurance Use case

Marine Insuranceà EY is planning to launch the first blockchain platform for marine insurance, alongside MicrosoftA.P Moller- Maersk and others. The distributed ledger will be used to capture information about shipments, risk and liability, and to help firms comply with insurance regulations. It will also ensure transparency across an interconnected network of clients, brokers, insurers and other third parties. Marine industry is facing high administrative burdens of managing and writing claims with a lot of paperwork. All contracts are signed multiple times. They go from ship to ship, port to port, through quite a journey. Distributed ledgers are groupings of data shared across multiple locations without the need for central administrators and other middle men. The blockchain platform would enable the shipping giant to maintain a smoother relationship with the insurance market.  Marine insurance has traditionally relied on physical contracts being shipped to and fro, from one port to another, in order to be eventually signed. Initially, focus was on marine insurance as it is well-suited to a blockchain solution as it has a complex international ecosystem, with multiple parties, multiple jurisdictions, high transaction volumes and significant levels of reconciliation. Blockchain can be applied to any commercial or specialty line of business with high-value assets. The blockchain solution was built on Microsoft’s cloud platform, Microsoft Azure. Blockchain is a transformational technology with the ability to significantly reduce the friction of doing business, especially streamlining business processes shared across multiple organizations. Marine insurance is a prime example of a complex business process that can be optimized with blockchain.

Blockchain: Healthcare Use case

Clinical Health Data Exchange and Interoperability

  • Blockchain-enabled health IT systems that can provide technological solutions to many challenges, including health data interoperability, integrity and security, portable user-owned data and other areas. Most fundamentally, blockchain could enable data exchange systems that are cryptographically secured and irrevocable.
  • This would enable seamless access to historic and real-time patient data, while eliminating the burden and cost of data reconciliation.
  • Business Case Example – Collaboration between Guardtime, the data-centric security company, and the Estonian eHealth Foundation to secure the health records of one million Estonian citizens using its proprietary Keyless Signature Infrastructure (KSI) is a classic example of blockchain technology. When it comes to a master patient index, for instance, hospitals currently have as many as 20 different ways to enter a simple date-of-birth and no real way to standardize that once it’s been done. Blockchain could ease that by tying patients to their data, rather than identity.


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