Jan 09, 2018 08:33 PM IST | Source:

Coming soon: Blockchain to share medical records among insurers

Data will be shared only with explicit permission of the concerned individual.

M Saraswathy @maamitalks
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Imagine a situation where you have applied for a life insurance product purchase and unfortunately have been rejected by an insurance company due to some underwriting related concerns after getting a medical check-up done. Soon, you will have a blockchain system in place that will enable another insurance company to access these records with prior permission of the individual.

About 15 life insurance companies, including ICICI Prudential Life, HDFC Life and SBI Life Insurance, have partnered with IBM and blockchain solutions provider Cateina Technologies to come together as a consortium to share data with respect to medical records.  Once they get a go ahead from the regulator, implementation will begin on a wider scale.

Jitan Chandanani, Partner-Blockchain Leader, IBM ISA, said that the

block-chain technology needs an ecosystem that includes a varied set of participants. The insurance sector has taken up a few pilots in the past on this technology but this hasn’t been implemented on an industry-wide scale.

“The process of getting all the participants takes much longer. Here, you have members in the same business with a similar objective. For them to identify a case is much easier,” he said.

A blockchain can be defined as set or list of continuous records, called blocks, which are securely linked using cryptography.

An official announcement of the successful completion of the technological set-up is expected on Wednesday. Chandanani said that they will ensure that customer privacy is not compromised at any stage.

This will help insurers save costs by not spending money on medical examinations multiple times as one record can be shared among all the insurers. For insurance policies, premiums are dependent on the medical health of an individual and the money for initial examination is paid by the insurer.

“When there are multiple records in the system in the future, when probably even health insurance players will also be added, a customer can also chose which portion of their medical records they wish to share with which particular insurance company,” he added.

An incentive mechanism will also be provided for sharing a data. Any player in the consortium an request for the data that will trigger a request on the block which can be generated at an instant.

In the second phase, he explained that there will also be an endeavour to detect fraudulent medical data information and also get other participants like general insurance companies and medical practitioners on board.

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