Hong Kong healthtechs embrace blockchain technology

Senior person in Hong Kong using a phone

Blockchain is set to revolutionise healthcare, according to Dr. Marten Brelen from Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), who was speaking at the Asia Health Innovation Summit in Hong Kong.

Moderated by Sarah Mok from Brinc, the panel discussion also featured Varun Panjawni from MetaCare and William Yeung from MediConCen, both insurtechs.

Dr. Brelen detailed how his research grant, initially focused on developing a digital health passportn in the pandemic (Medoxie COVID-19 Digital Health Passport), has expanded into a full-fledged startup poised to launch within Hong Kong Science Park.

The now global, decentralized healthcare network will have individual self-sovereignty over identity at its core, he explained, with patients being able to choose to share their private health information with others on the network such as their physician.

The beauty of a platform like this is that you give autonomy and control to patients, so they are in charge of who has access to their sensitive health data.

Dr. Marten Brelen, CUHK

Dr. Brelen however acknowledged the challenge of educating both patients and physicians on why blockchain technology is needed, and how it is to be used.

Yeung’s venture MediConCen is using blockchain technology for the processing of medical insurance claims. “In order to process insurance claims efficiently, various insurers and providers need to share information,” he said. “But they have their own system.” With blockchain, he continued, paper-based transfers of highly sensitive medical information will become a thing of the past.

Blockchain technology will enable all medical providers and insurers to have a single source of truth that all can agree on.

William Yeung, MediConCen

“We don’t talk about blockchain at all,” said MetaCare’s Panjawni, whose insurtech provides gig workers with access to corporate pricing and direct ownership of their benefits, primarily insurance. “Instead we look at blockchain as a technology stack and how it can improve processes.”

He highlighted two blockchain opportunities: blockchain technology can reduce insurance fraud and prevent the occurrence of double or multiple claims by enabling verification; and second, with workers moving across different “employee pools”, how information risk profiling claims impact the pricing of insurance and reinsurance.

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