Blockchain and Telemedicine May Challenge Swelling Healthcare Costs in the U.S. as More Companies Adopt New Tech
POINT ROBERTS, Wash., Dec. 20, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Investorideas.com, a leader in tech and healthcare investor news, issues a sector snapshot looking at how blockchain technology will play a leading role in healthcare.
NXT-ID, Inc.’s ( Nasdaq:NXTD ) recently announced strategic alliance agreement with healthcare and payments solutions provider QubeChain LLC fortifies its already established track record in integrating blockchain and telemedicine technology for healthcare solutions.
The pairing makes sense for NXT-ID, as the agreement covers potential collaborations between QubeChain, NXT-ID and its subsidiary companies LogicMark, LLC and Fit Pay, Inc. Company CEO and President Gino Pereira explained the harmonious nature of the partnership.
“As we became familiar with QubeChain, we found there was an array of complementary skills and offerings that will add significant value to the technical capabilities and relationships of both companies.”
The turning to emerging technologies is in part a response to the swelling costs of healthcare in the U.S. A recent report from the Wall Street Journal indicates that healthcare spending in the U.S. is nearing 20 percent of GDP, which places it decisively at the highest of any major economy in the world. This growth is mirrored in the data for personal expenditures on healthcare. According to a piece in Healthcare Finance, the personal expense of healthcare in the mid-1980s averaged at about 5 percent, while today it is up to about 8 percent. This increase in spending does not, however, correspond to higher quality of care. The article mentioned above claims that “the U.S. fares worse than other developed countries when it comes to things like life expectancy, heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease and infant mortality”.
Price increases in the medical field are largely responsible for the growth in spending. One way NXT-ID is tackling this is through Telemedicine with their LogicMark Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) devices. Pereira explained how PERS addresses the cost while also reducing healthcare risks through improved response time.
“A major factor in Personal Emergency Response is really response time,” he said. “If you look at some fall statistics, the cost of dealing with medical expenses related to adult falls is estimated to be about $55 billion USD by the year 2020. And it’s been shown that, in terms of being able to stay alive, the response time is critical. 92 percent of patients that have been found alive within an hour do well, but that drops off. If it’s one to three hours it drops all the way to 47 percent. Beyond three hours it goes from 25 percent on down, so response time is extremely important and therefore Personal Emergency Response devices are absolutely critical.”
Pereira also elucidated the market opportunity of telemedicine, and how it works in tandem with what the company does.
“The type of telemedicine monitoring we’re doing keeps track of patient health, so it’s exactly in line with what we’re doing,” he said. “When the patient starts going downhill, or if something is wrong, we can intervene very quickly. We can call the physician’s office to let them know what’s going on, we can call the patient to tell them to get in touch with their doctor’s office and have them seek treatment sooner rather than later.”
“We’re delivering care to people where they need it, when they need it, on their terms,” he said. “That’s how the healthcare system should work.”
“We’re past the point of inevitability for virtual care,” he said.
Another technology that many healthcare players are turning to is the blockchain. A piece in Forbes titled: Will Blockchain Transform Healthcare? quotes John Halamka, the Chief Information Officer of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, on how blockchain is well-suited to address problems of centralization in healthcare.
“Most healthcare data is centralized at the level of a corporation, healthcare facility or government registry,” he said. “Blockchain is decentralized and therefore not impacted by the behavior of any one organization. In the future we might see blockchain as a component of a system in which patients serve as stewards of their own data, rather than relying on any central source.”
This trend was already being demonstrated two years ago when blockchain health company Gem partnered with Capital One ( NYSE:COF ) to expedite healthcare insurance claim payments. Halamka’s claims are also corroborated by a report from ResearchAndMarkets.com titled: “Blockchain Technology in Healthcare Market by Application (Supply Chain Management, Clinical Data Exchange, Interoperability, Claims Adjudication & Billing), End User (Pharmaceutical Companies, Healthcare Payers, Providers) - Global Forecast to 2023”. Here, research indicates that blockchain will comprise $829.02 million USD by 2023 from $53.9 million USD in 2018, at a compound annual growth rate of 72.8 percent.
Putting data aside, the success of blockchain and telemedicine in the market may ultimately come down to whether it makes practical sense to providers and consumers. This seems to be a priority for companies like NXT-ID as Pereira explained how the cost-reducing nature of devices such as LogicMark’s PERS are intertwined with a better quality of care.
“All of these are really designed to drive down healthcare costs from the healthcare provider side,” he said. “The cost of presenting at an emergency room is extremely high and if it can be avoided by a simple visit to a doctor’s office several days beforehand, that’s a significant advantage.”
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