Episode #40 – MintHealth – A Blockchain Tech-Enabled Platform Empowering Consumers to Make Lasting Healthy Behavior Change

The rapidly escalating impact of chronic disease is devastating populations, employers, payers & economies – both in the U.S. and across the globe.  The World Health Organization (WHO) projects that, by 2025, chronic disease will make up over 70% of all illness.  At the present time, preventable chronic disease is responsible for over 40 million of the 56 million annual deaths worldwide. The WHO has also projected that the global costs of healthcare will more than double between 2015 and 2030 – from $8.4 trillion to $18.3 trillion – with an estimated global productivity loss due to chronic disease, in that time frame, of $47 trillion.  This is clearly an unsustainable situation.

Our guest this week, Dr. Samir Damani, is trying to solve this problem – of the escalating impact of chronic disease – by using blockchain technology. Dr. Damani brings a depth and breadth to this work by combining his skills as a clinician, researcher, technologist & entrepreneur.  He is a board-certified practicing cardiologist with a Masters in Clinical Investigation from the Scripps Research Institute, who also obtained a PharmD from the University of Georgia.  In 2011, he founded and served as CEO of ‘MD Revolution’, a technology-enabled service platform for Medicare’s Chronic Care Management program.

Dr. Damani’s most recent endeavor is MintHealth, a decentralized healthcare platform designed to engage patients in committing to healthful behaviors – somewhat similar to current loyalty programs.  An individual signs up on the MintHealth platform and accumulates tokens (aka ‘purchasing power’) by demonstrating healthful behaviors – anything from listening to educational material, to demonstrating improvements in diabetes, or high blood pressure, or weight.  The tokens (called ‘Vidamints’) can be redeemed for healthful products. The blockchain platform facilitates the loyalty campaign, which is typically sponsored by an individual’s employer or insurance company.

Dr. Damani and his collaborators envision that Vidamints will become a defacto healthcare campaign currency and program for organizations or government agencies interested in incenting healthful member behaviors.  In addition to the incentive program, the MintHealth platform could serve as a secure and portable, cloud-based personal health record, allowing participants to control and direct their own health data.  They also intend for the MintHealth platform to serve as a Health Information Exchange (HIE), allowing for the protected and seamless transfer of personal health information amongst numerous healthcare stakeholders.

In this episode, we discuss how MintHealth is addressing the following issues:

  • Interoperability – the ability to safely and securely move health data between closed electronic medical record systems.
  • Sustained behavior change – creation of a behavioral economic approach to engage and empower people in their pursuit of healthful behaviors and optimal health outcomes.
  • Self-sovereignty – Providing patients with the ability to control and direct their own health data and records.
  • Economics – Driving down the increasing and unsustainable costs of chronic disease.

Dr. Damani and his colleagues are attempting to create a healthcare marketplace that increases healthcare consumers purchasing power through rewarding healthful behaviors and healthy outcomes.  They are attempting to solve one of the most significant and challenging healthcare related problems of our era.  To listeners of this podcast it will be clear that Dr. Damani is a passionate, persistent and purpose-driven leader who has his eyes set on winning the long game.

As always, I hope you get as much out of this interview as I have!