A new partnership between blockchain startup Medicalchain and UK-based the Groves Medical Group will see the organization becoming the first medical practice in the country to integrate blockchain technology and allow its 30,000 patients to pay for services across its four medical centers using cryptocurrency.

Medicalchain is a decentralized platform that aims to address the inefficiencies in the healthcare industry by enabling secure, fast and transparent exchange and usage of medical data. Using blockchain technology, Medicalchain has created an electronic health record that can be used by patients and healthcare professionals, including doctors, hospitals, laboratories and insurers alike. It also offers an innovative way to connect researchers and patients, rewarding patients with personalized incentives for sharing their anonymized data.

The pilot, which is set to begin in July 2018, will allow Groves’ registered patients to create a free wallet, which will hold and manage access to their health records. General practice video consultations will also be available to patients, enabling them to see their doctor at a time and place suited to their needs. The platform will then give patients the option to pay for services using cryptocurrency, with users being incentivized to pay for telemedicine services with Medicalchain’s MedTokens.

Dr Vince Grippaudo, senior partner at the Groves, said:

“We believe that by empowering people to choose how they access healthcare, we can reduce the burden on public health services. The goal is to improve health services, not only in the UK but across the world, and with Medicalchain we believe we can be a part of that.”

Medicalchain said it will gather feedback from doctors and patients to refine its platform ahead of its global launch. Several other pilot projects are set to be launched in China, Japan and South Korea toward the end of the year. The fully functioning Medicalchain platform is expected to be rolled out in early 2019, according to the project’s whitepaper.

London-based Medicalchain raised US$24 million in an initial coin offering last month to fund the development of its platform.

Medicalchain is part of a growing list of startups and projects looking to use blockchain technology to transform the healthcare industry.

The MediLedger Project, by the LinkLab and Chronicled, kicked off last year with the mission to improve the traceability of prescription medicine and bring greater transparency in pharmaceutical supply chains.

SimplyVital Health, which was launched in February 2017, has developed a product called ConnectingCare that brings together onto the same platform providers from different clinical organizations where they can view the same data for shared patients.

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