How Patientory is Effectively Bringing Blockchain to the PHI Space
A few years back, Chrissa McFarlane was running the insurance department of a digital health start-up and growing increasingly frustrated over the long and tedious process required to simply access patient information, let alone share it.
A Cornell grad with a masters in management from Wake Forest, McFarlane realized she had identified an underserved niche in the protected health information (PHI) market. There was no easy way for patients, healthcare providers, or insurers to access, or even share, patients’ confidential medical records.
“It wasn’t a scalable process,” she tells Stephen Krupa in this week’s Breaking Health Podcast.
At the same time, an exciting new technology was emerging that McFarlane immediately recognized as having the potential to be a gamechanger in the digital health space. It was called blockchain.
“So I put the two pieces together and birthed Patientory
,” the company’s founder and CEO explains.
Most people are familiar with blockchain in the form of Bitcoin, the digital currency that allows people to anonymously make payments and money transfers over the Internet. Naturally, one might wonder how an unproven digital cryptocurrency could help patients secure their sensitive health records.
Patientory, McFarlane explains, uses blockchain as a distributed ledger database to ensure end-to-end encryption while adhering to regulatory rules and requirements. Here’s how it works:
Patients set up a free profile on the company’s website and are given a limited number of Patientory tokens, known as PTOY, a type of digital currency, to store their private health information on Patientory’s encrypted blockchain network. Once patients max out their free storage capacity, they can buy more PTOY tokens on the Bittrex exchange
The company also sells its services directly to hospital organizations that want to secure their patients’ health information, McFarlane explains. “By utilizing blockchain and cryptographic functions, we have a more secure way of storing and transmitting data,” she continues.
Personal identifiers on Patientory’s private blockchain network allow patients to easily and securely share their PHI with hospitals, doctors, and healthcare providers because the Patientory network sits atop existing EMRs (electronic medical records), says McFarlane.
The response has been strong. The company’s initial coin offering (ICO)
of 70 million PTOY tokens in June raised $7.2 million, selling out in just three days. “They see the market need, where people are going to be storing their information,” McFarlane states. “So there is a need for that token, especially as more people onboard to the platform.”