Blockchain in Healthcare: Consumerism & DNA Privacy
There is a growingoutrage regarding the actions of DNA wholesalers disguised as consumer genetic testing companies. It started with the disclosure that these companies are routinely providing access to consumer DNA information for use by law enforcement, medical researches and big pharma. It reached fever pitch with announcement that GSK, a drug research company, made a $300 million investment in 23andMe gaining access to their 5 million member DNA registry.
What consumers figured out is this. In one transaction, 23andMe was able to monetize their most sensitive healthcare data at $60/head without sharing one dollar with the person who paid for the original DNA test. As I read the consumer backlash, I felt a need expand upon my article from last month entitled Blockchain in Health and Healthcare Practical Applications: Consumerism.
In that article, I made the case that the intersection of two trends – increases in access to healthcare information and increases in the share of the total cost of services being borne by the individual – moved us from patients to healthcare consumers. And as consumers I stated, we will take control of our health information demanding portability, privacy, accuracy and control over the distribution of this most sensitive information.
At the end of that article, I stated that blockchain technology and the tokenization of healthcare data will create the next seminal event in health and healthcare. Blockchain technology, through encryption and approvals, will give consumers control to approve or decline access to their health information. Tokenization of health information will be the means by which consumers are reimbursed/incentivized by interested parties to share their information on a case-by-case basis.
Blockchain and tokenization will enable consumerism in the DNA testing and services market. There is a new player in this market doing just this – TimiDNA by Timicoin/TimiHealth (www.timicoin.io). I expect as consumers become aware of this service they will opt-out of sharing their DNA information with their established providers and move it to TimiDNA where they will have privacy, control and be compensated when they choose to share.
As I stated in my last article, the combination of consumerism and blockchain technology is the next big movement in healthcare. More to come.