Already at 18% of GDP, healthcare costs in the US has been growing at a remarkable rate. Healthcare bills are also the #1 cause of personal bankruptcies, affecting 1.7 million Americans. But where exactly are these costs coming from? Healthcare is a rare place where economic principles don't apply. Customers aren't given information on prices until after they have received the treatment, at which point they are dealt bills of exorbitantly high prices. 94% of Americans believe that their healthcare bills are too high (KFF, 2014). The information asymmetry and the 3rd party payment structure has allowed healthcare bills to become inconsistent, overly complex and non-transparent. Most of all, this system disproportionately affects uninsured or low-income individuals/households.
We believe we're overdue on putting the price tag on healthcare. We want to bring transparency into the health costs.
What it does
MediBlock utilizes computer vision, distributed ledger and a public cryptocurrency to solve this problem of inconsistent and inequitable pricing of medical procedures.
_ How it works _
- Patient-consumer requests line-item bill from the hospital
- Patient-consumer uploads a photo of the bill using our mobile/web app
- MediBlock tells the patient-customer the fair/common price of each item and rewards them in the form of MediBlock Coins
Consumers are incentivized to upload their line-item medical bills via two channels: 1) By uploading their bills, our software will tell you what the fair/common price of each item is. 2) Patients are rewarded with a certain amount of our cryptocurrency (MediBlock Coin, MBC) in return. This publicly-traded cryptocurrency will assume value and reward our users accordingly.
How we built it
We used React Native to build our app. The app includes a tool powered by Google Vision that recognizes the medical bill and extracts the text. We're using Firebase to enable real-time data streaming and authentication. In this process, Protected Health Information (PHI) is encrypted, and only relevant pricing data is uploaded to the Blockchain based on ERC20.
Challenges we ran into
Learning to implement smart contract on ERC20.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Not settling for an easy problem but tackling a challenging problem head-on. The high-quality demo iOS application.
What we learned
We learned a lot about the various incentive problems existing in the healthcare field, and how much lower-income and uninsured households are disadvantaged in this system. We learned a lot about web app design and the ease of implementing a network on ERC20.
What's next for MediBlock
We would produce a white paper on our cryptocurrency MBC, and work on the ICO to be able to properly incentivize our users and quickly build a wide database of pricing data. We also want to refine our encryption procedure, scrambling of PHI (Protected Health Information) and work on verification methods to ensure that every medical bill uploaded to our distributed ledger is valid and authentic.