The number of companies that are experimenting with ways to apply the software that supports cryptocurrency transactions known as blockchain continues to grow. Now Nokia has embarked on a pilot program with another Finnish company, OP Financial Group, to determine if users can be incentivized to share personal health data from Nokia’s Steel HR smartwatch.
Nokia is one of many technology and banking giants involved in an effort to build enterprise-grade blockchain, referred to as the Hyperledger Project. It is managed by the Linux Foundation and was established in December 2015.
Here’s a summary of how the pilot will work from a blog entry on Nokia’s website:
If blockchain is as effective at securing patient data as the companies trialing it hope it is, then the pilot could be a success. Nokia is far from the only company experimenting with this technology to assess its impact in the healthcare sector. But although payers, providers and life science companies are interested in applications as diverse as protecting patient record data to supporting the integrity of databases, fewer companies have demonstrated an interest in the consumer health applications, at least publicly.
One is a personal health record business called MintHealth that developed a blockchain-based personal health record. Like Nokia, this company is also interested in incentivizing participants but in this case, it is for making healthier decisions in line with managing their chronic conditions. The idea is that they receive tokens to help pay for healthcare-related costs such as co-pays, premiums and pharmacy expenses.
One potential challenge of Nokia’s study is that it assumes security is the only obstacle to incentivize people to share their data. What gets ignored or overlooked with this argument are the trust issues that inform the decision not to share data generally.
Photo: fandijki, Getty Images
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Josh Bramwell, eyeforpharma
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