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The future of Healthcare – is on Blockchain?

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We spoke to PRADEEP GOEL — CEO of Solve.Care — about the challenges facing the global healthcare industry, and how the company plans to use blockchain to save both governments and private organizations billions and make the world a healthier, happier place.

Pradeep has held senior positions in several companies featured on INC500 lists of the fastest-growing companies, and was included in a countdown of the 100 most promising entrepreneurs worldwide, complied by the CEO of Goldman Sach.

Can you tell us a bit about your background and why you decided to focus on healthcare?

I got restless in college and started a healthcare IT company. I built the company up, then sold it and became a part of a large public company as a CTO, then went on to start a few more healthcare IT companies — this is my fifth.

I’ve been very fortunate that I have worked on all dimensions of healthcare. I started out in healthcare insurance — working on the backend of the system, then from there, I jumped to the consumer side of things — how you and I use insurance, what tools we need to be engaged. It was very clear that there was this big castle called the insurance company and there was this poor peasant outside trying to get in. So my next company was around connecting the last mile between patients and insurers in a way that works for both, and I got to see that point of view. Then I got pulled into government programs — working with think tanks and writing the regulations around health savings accounts and also implementing some parts of Obama Care, which brought me into understanding how employers sponsor benefits for their employees. So I learned the employer side, the consumer side, the insurer side and the government side. Then, in 2011, I got involved in building a health information exchange in North Dakota, connecting all the hospitals and pharmacies in the state to each other. So I got to see how the hospitals operate as well. Through this journey, I have seen every dimension of this multi-faceted problem and came to see some patterns that I could address. I’ve also done some work globally, in China, India and Russia, and got a global perspective as well.

How are you going to solve the problem?

Worldwide healthcare spend is 7.6 Trillion each year. The US alone spends $3.2 Trillion on healthcare, of which $100 billion a year is the cost of administrating healthcare. Out of this, about 17 billion gets spent on managing clinical records, but the remaining 80 billion goes on administration. And that’s where the horror stories are — I called my insurance company and they denied my request or they didn’t pay it, or I couldn’t access the care I needed because the physician wasn’t available. Administration is very ineffective from a human perspective and from a cost perspective, and that’s what we’re after. But there’s a second, bigger part. If we use the fabric correctly, we can also improve the care quality and care outcomes. Care coordination is a very big challenge because it’s very scattered — it’s not all in one space. So we want to coordinate care as well.

Those are our two goals — administrating care in a more efficient way and delivering care in a manner that is optimal for the consumer. The inspiration for Solve.Care came when my son got diagnosed with a very specific developmental disorder in February and it took my wife and me seven months to find him an appointment with a neurologist. We called over 600 neurologists in our area from the list given to us by the insurance company, but there was no way to check the schedule of every neurologist within 25 kilometers of our house, we had to call them all individually. I thought that if someone like me, with the best insurance policy money can buy and a lot of connections in the healthcare industry, can’t get his son an appointment with a neurologist for 7 months, what hope does someone less fortunate have? What if they got diagnosed with something terminal — what will they do then? I had to make things better for everyone. So my vision is that this platform will lead you as a consumer to be able to make an appointment in 7 seconds, not 7 months.

What’s the technology behind this?

As a consumer, you will have a mobile app called Care.Wallet — it’s your personal care coordinator. Care.Wallet learns everything about you and your family. As you start using it, it remembers things like your prescriptions and previous appointments, so it can give you good advice. It then downloads Care.Cards from the Care.Marketplace. These are personalized to your preferences and personal history and give you actionable information about you and your family.

The third thing is that it connects to a blockchain fabric that can access your public data and your ability to book appointments and make payments. So it gives you a central location to do all your healthcare administration, healthcare management and financial transactions. All your personal data is secured and is not stored on the blockchain.

How are you going to push this to the mainstream?

The plan is very clear — this is a B2B sale. The ROI for the insurance companies, for agencies, trusts and employers is instant. Whatever you are spending on administrating, we can cut that in half or more. Even something as simple as sending out ID cards and letters a few times a year can be replaced by the app, and that alone is a huge saving in cost, and a better experience for both the customer and the insurers.

Is the plan to go global with Solve.Care after the US?

We are launching in the US because we understand the market and there is a huge potential there, but I see no reason to limit the value to any one economy. I am looking at solving a global problem, and the mission is to make healthcare more accessible and easy to administer worldwide.

Every single individual is a healthcare consumer — we are born in healthcare and we die in healthcare, very few people escape that cycle. So my plan is to build a global platform and then have a localized community in each country that takes the platform and configures into the local market.

What are the major challenges for your ICO?

I think ICOs are transformational in how capital is accessed. I believe in them because they bring the three Cs together — Capital, Client and Community. If you can bring those three together in a way where they are aligned, the probability of adoption of a good idea is much higher.

Also, ICOs allow for better liquidity than is normally available to contributors. The third thing is that ICOs are lowering the barrier to entry — you don’t need huge number of money, but along with that comes the downside. How do you regulate it? How do you protect people who are not sophisticated financiers from making the wrong choices? And also what are the rights of the token holder?

There’s a lot of noise in the market and not every ICO is thought out. This is a very early market. Our challenge with Solve.Care is that we are doing it in a way that we think it should be done to answer all those questions. So we are standing apart from the noise and saying that our Token Sale will be extremely transparent, it’s going to have clear business plans like it would have done if we were raising capital in the traditional way — a clear governance, clear guidelines. There are not a lot of ICOs doing things this way, but I believe that seeing as healthcare is such an important field and given that our mission is to build a global company that will change healthcare for the better, this is the right way.

What would be your personal piece of advice for someone starting an ICO project?

That’s a tough one because I think I’m still learning every day myself. My personal experience tells me that the first thing is to make sure you stay within the confines — substance over form is what matters. If you’re trying to just game the system, it won’t work.

Also, in my mind, a lot of the ICOs are not addressing fundamental questions that everyone needs to ask when they start a company, like what is my path to revenue, profitability and client adoption and what’s my competitor advantage? It’s no different in an ICO than any other launch. So I would say — don’t forget the basics of your business and make sure those are sound because people’s money comes with expectations of performance.

Why should somebody fund the platform?

The position is very clear — you are buying in early, at a fraction of what we think it will be priced once the platform is launched. If the platform takes off, the market will respond and the value will rise. The fundamental value proposition is that you can use these tokens to administer your own care or the care of people you are responsible for or to publish content that will change healthcare around the world. We are creating intrinsic value through the platform, then, if the token rises in value, which it will, that’s an added bonus. That’s how Solve.Care is different.

Finally, is blockchain the future of healthcare?

Blockchain takes out the middleman — the fact that a customer can book a doctor through the app, it automatically shows that the doctor is authorized by the insurance company and that the appointment is authorized. The insurance company does not need to get involved and adjudicate claims. Their administrative cost gets slashed and, more importantly, the patient has a much better experience because they don’t need to wait for the approval. It turns the whole model of healthcare administration to a self-operating machine. A single eligibility program in the US for a single client costs more than we are raising to build a global platform. And there are hundreds of these systems that are built every year. We are saying for the same money we’re going to build a global market that can completely change the face of healthcare around the world.

First posted on Medium.

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