CoverUS to use blockchain to help patients sell medical data: 4 things to know

CoverUS, a New York City-based startup expected to launch in early 2018, wants to help patients monetize their medical data through a blockchain-based marketplace, Fast Company reports.

Here are four things to know about the startup's mission.

1. Patients who sign up for CoverUS download a digital wallet to their phone to house medical data, which may include information from EMRs, wearables or health trackers. A patient is also able to answer questions about their health and lifestyle habits through online surveys.

2. Once a patient populates the digital wallet with medical data, they have the opportunity to share the information with various companies on the marketplace. The patient is paid in a cryptocurrency called CoverCoin, which they can spend on select services like gym memberships or insurance plan savings.

"We want to incentivize people to use the [reward] in service of their health," Andrew Hoppin, co-founder of CoverUS, emphasized to Fast Company.

3. Christopher Sealey, co-founder of CoverUs, told Fast Company the startup's goal is to give patients autonomy over their medical data, while also providing drug companies — which often purchase patient data from third-party sources like insurers — with a more holistic picture of patient health.

"From a moral standpoint, we think people should own their healthcare data," he said. "Secondly, we believe that healthcare data is most valuable when it's in an individual's hands because your EMRs and prescriptions only paint part of the picture. Nobody knows better than you how you are doing."

4. The startup Luna DNA also aims to launch a project during the first quarter of 2018 that uses cryptocurrency to encourage patients to share health data with researchers. The service is targeted toward patients looking to share DNA results from at-home testing kits.

Health Wizz, another startup, plans to release a blockchain-based mobile platform for medical data in March. Through the platform, Health Wizz will offer patients a single record of their medical data, which pharmaceutical companies, health payers and researchers can purchase access to with cryptocurrency.

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