ConsenSys, the Ethereum-focused company founded by Joseph Lubin, announced on Feb. 25 that it will spin off its health division. The new ConsenSys Health company will develop blockchain use cases to tackle issues in the U.S. healthcare industry.
The announcement is part of ConsenSys’ strategy shift of favoring products such as Codefi and Infura, which led the company to spin out several internal projects into independent entities.
ConsenSys Health focuses on applying blockchain to the health industry, citing issues such as rising costs and access to care as some of the areas where blockchain can contribute. Co-founder of Ethereum (ETH) Joseph Lubin commented on the news, saying:
“Spinning off a separate company in this area is an opportunity for us to combine the powerful technology built by ConsenSys with a team of domain leaders to solve the biggest challenges in healthcare.”
The new company will be headed by Heather Leigh Flannery, who was the Global Lead for healthcare at ConsenSys. She is deeply involved in many initiatives combining blockchain with healthcare, serving on the chair of associations such as HIMSS Blockchain in Healthcare Task Force, Blockchain in Healthcare Global and the Healthcare Special Interest Group in the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance.
The blockchain solution for healthcare
ConsenSys Health will be specifically targeting the U.S. healthcare market as the most ripe for disruption, citing its high per-capita cost — by far the highest among OECD countries.
According to ConsenSys, blockchain can improve on this by addressing the rising costs of research and administration. Making data sharing safer and faster, expanding access to care and engaging patients directly are some of the initiatives where blockchain can help. Flannery is confident that the use of technology can improve the situation:
“The convergence of many emerging innovations, such as blockchain and machine learning, enables us to approach old problems in new ways. This opens up the possibility for improved patient and provider experiences, new business models, and ultimately, a sustainable and value-based healthcare system.”
Healthcare is one of the central themes of the upcoming 2020 U.S. presidential election. As the primaries for the Democratic presidential nomination continue, most candidates are proposing political approaches to the problem, such as Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for All.” Though he is currently leading the polls, the proposal is generating immense criticism due to its radical approach.
A technological solution spearheaded by blockchain may become a more acceptable alternative for the public. Of the remaining candidates, only Michael Bloomberg has shown some interest in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space.