5 Startups Using Blockchain To Disrupt Health & Wellness
These businesses are rewriting all the rules and putting you in control of your health data
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
Blockchain is full of potential. It promises to flatten hierarchy, dismantle institutions and give people control of their data and decisions. A wave of startups, powered by blockchain, are setting out to revolutionize healthcare as we know it by putting patients at the center of the health journey. The key commonality among these startups is their ability to flip data ownership on its head. By putting this critical component in the hands of users, not institutions, they are able to make healthcare more personalized, responsive, predictive and affordable. And given 52% of smart phone users gather health-related information on their phone, it seems we have the inputs needed for this industry to explode. Here are 5 startups to watch.
This company is on a mission to make self-care fun, by making health and wellness data easy to understand, interpret, access and monetize. The app allows you to work towards your broader wellness goals by tracking your health through inputs like self-reported health surveys, healthy behavior tracking (water consumed, stool, sleep and energy trackers) and activity levels. You can monitor progress, receive badges for actions and are granted access to health-related products and services ( a feature launching imminently). Most importantly, activity is incentivized: users earn Bowhead's native token AHT (anonymous health tokens) for setting and slaying wellness goals. Additionally, they can also share their data with health practitioners through smart contracts and lease it securely to researchers or health companies in exchange for AHT. In the future, the founders plan to integrate at-home testing kits, nutritional supplements and practitioner chat functionality; in a bid to encompass even more aspects of wellness. Additionally, Bowhead's blockchain health data management system will integrate with hospitals and doctors clinics in the future to make data sharing easier.
Why It's Interesting: The interface makes achieving health goals seem fun and not intimidating, worthy or serious. Additionally, the community elements drive engagement beyond the mere incentive of tokens, making the app feel more like a movement and less like a fad. Similarly to Headspace, the app uses genderless creatures to make the conversation not only playful, but inclusive and genderless.
This is an app that counts your movement in the form of step count and rewards you in the app's own version of currency - Sweatcoin. The currency can be traded in for gifts like Fitbits, fitness gear and gym classes. The app doesn't sync with other fitness trackers, but instead relies on phone's step-count tracker and GPS. Additionally, it only counts steps taken outdoors. The founders hope that Sweatcoin will become a cryptocurrency in its own right, rather than just a system for accumulating reward-style points.
Why It's Interesting: Sweatcoins focus on outdoor activity as a way to circumnavigate misuse. However, the idea of getting outside and engaging in the physical world is a nice incidental benefit.
Similarly to others in the space, wHealth also allows users to own their health data and benefit from its value. Users can opt-in to wHealth's Health Commons; an anonymized and aggregated data set. Access to this common data store is then sold to approved health institutions and individuals are rewarded accordingly for their input. On top of this, users can also earn WLTH tokens for hitting health milestones like walking 15,000 steps, partaking in a new medical research study, getting adequate sleep or consistently syncing home monitoring devices. Tokens earned can then be spent on in-app products and services; from a range of apps and health institutions which participate in the token economy.
Why It's Interesting: wHealth take on the onerous task of data monetization, through their Health Commons data set. This opt-in feature makes it easy for users to earn tokens without having to actively manage their data value or broker it with third parties themselves. Additionally the underlying technology is easily integrated into other apps who can either use WLTH to offer real rewards or enable data monetization for their own users.
This app encourages you to own your own health data, from start to finish. HealthWizz is a unified logbook that aggregates and manages all your health data. It can store data from wearables, medical records, lab testing and doctor visits. Users own all their data and then have the opportunity to sell it to any medical professionals, trainers or physicians they are working with. Additionally, they can sell it, anonymized, to healthcare companies and earn money for doing so. Healthwizz also has sponsored clinical trials that users can opt in to.
Why It's Interesting: Healthwizz is pushing the conversation around data ownerships and frame the conversation around access of medical records and information, rather than the attainment of health goals.
Lympo operates in a similar fashion to Bowhead, yet focuses on fitness, activity and incentivizing people to move (instead of incentivizing broader wellness goals). Users track fitness levels, for which they receive rewards in the form of LYM tokens. These can be used to purchase products and services to further promote their fitness goals. Uniquely, however, Lympo invite entrepreneurs to use the anonymized data collected through their app to create innovative new data-driven companies that will further improve fitness outcomes. Lympo users are encouraged to use their acquired LYM tokens to crowdfund the most promising upstarts.
Why It's Interesting: Lympo creates a whole ecosystem that encourages entrepreneurs to make fitness even more achievable and attainable, based on actual data. This reinforces the notion of community, especially as they are all out to slay one particular goal.