HK startup MediConCen to build blockchain medical ecosystem

October 30, 2019 13:17
Hong Kong-based startup MediConCen, co-founded by CEO William Yeung, aims to provide a one-stop solution for all stakeholders in the health insurance business. Photo: MediConCen/HKEJ

Blockchain technology has entered the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors, with patient data management one of its most popular uses in view of its ability to ensure transparency and traceability.

Hong Kong-based startup MediConCen, founded in 2018, says it has launched Asia’s first “blockchain-based medical ecosystem”, aiming to provide insurers, medical networks, doctors and patients with a seamless experience such as in processing insurance claims.

A veteran in the insurance business, MediConCen co-founder and chief executive William Yeung said companies and personnel in the industry still rely on paper documents for many of the medical records of the customers, which can be a drag on the efficiency of the insurance claim process.

He said customers have been voicing their dissatisfaction with the complicated process of making claims, and this has inspired him to deploy blockchain-based solutions to the process.

“Blockchain technology fundamentally changes the traditional way of recording,” Yeung said. “The records are stored in a mutual distributed ledger, which makes tampering difficult. It can be trusted by everyone, and there will be no need for participants to confirm a transaction with merely a paper form or a handwritten signature.”

MediConCen is providing an all-in-one solution for the process, covering clinic sign-up, consultation workflow, claims management and prevention and detection of fraudulent claims.

It connects with the back-end system of insurers and healthcare institutions, allowing the doctor to gain access to the patient’s insurance policy, including its coverage, by simply scanning the QR code generated by MediConCen’s mobile app on the patient’s smartphone.

Powered by smart contracts, the computer codes can automate payment between parties according to their specifications as soon as certain conditions are fulfilled.

The MediConCen mobile app also supports speedy claim settlement and payments of medical bills.

Yeung said MediConCen’s permission-based blockchain network is operated on Hyperledger, a multi-project open source collaborative effort hosted by The Linux Foundation.

MediConCen’s chief technology officer David Liu has previously contributed to the technology project, and MediConCen is the Hyperledger’s only corporate member in the insurance technology business in Hong Kong.

Asked about the privacy protection of users’ medical records and data, Yeung said every identifier on the blockchain is tokenized, so even if a data leakage occurs, the data will not reveal the identities of users.

In addition, only authorized stakeholders are allowed to access data on the blockchain, “which is equivalent to double encryption”, he said.

MediConCen’s blockchain network has now connected with nearly 1,000 Western medicine practitioners and over 200 Chinese medicine practitioners. Yeung said the company has partnered with Hong Kong’s insurance firm Blue Cross (Asia-Pacific) Insurance to launch a blockchain-backed solution to speed up medical insurance claims and prevent fraud.

MediConCen has also signed a confidentiality agreement with nine insurance companies, and Yeung expects to reach another insurer by the end of this year.

Insurers can cooperate with MediConCen to allow their customers to search for medical services and settle claims through the MediConCen app.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Oct 30

Translation by Ben Ng with additional reporting

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Hong Kong Economic Journal