BurstIQ: Leveraging Blockchain and Big Healthcare Data

Equities Research |

We've been closely following the progress of a company that appears to be among the leaders in leveraging blockchain technology into a highly fragmented space that is eagerly awaiting a secure, functional solution: the management and utilization of healthcare data. BurstIQ has created a platform for what it dubs the "Health Singularity" where individuals - rather than providers or other related corporations - own, manage and ultimately monetize their own critical healthcare data.

Not even Jamie Dimon would argue against blockchain being the logical underpinning for this enterprise (we remind readers that while Mr. Dimon continues to rail against the future of Bitcoin, he also reiterates his belief in the power of blockchain - as he should, as JPMorgan's own Quorum is an open-source enterprise blockchain resting on top of Ethereum.

BurstIQ's platform is also underpinned by Ethereum. If you've read this far, we probably don't have to explain the significance of Ethereum here, but we like to think of it as a broad underlying, enabling technology platform, while currencies like Bitcoin and Ether (yes, that can be confusing) are applications. (Blockgeeks has a good primer on Ethereum for anyone who needs a quick lesson or refresher.)

We spoke last week with BurstIQ CEO Frank Ricotta. As readers know, we are critical skeptics by nature, but we came away from that conversation impressed and intrigued with the company and its leader. BurstIQ was founded in 2015 and formally launched its platform last year. In the first 12 months of operations, it has processed 25 billion data points. This translates into profiles for 100,000 patients and 10,000 doctors. See the chart below of the historical milestones the company has already achieved and the roadmap into 2018.

BurstIQ Timeline


Source: BurstIQ

Focus on Data

BurstIQ is focused on data. As the company says, "Data about you, what you do, how you feel, where you live, what you eat is the driving force behind person-centric health. Corporations want to own it, researchers want to study it, and every day, companies are finding new ways to collect more of it. Hackers know it’s valuable too; 1 in 4 security breaches are health-related, creating a multibillion dollar black market for health data and a multibillion dollar economic remediation burden for health providers. Yet, we as individuals can’t get to it, often don’t understand it, and can’t control who uses it."

BurstIQ believes that people should own their data and should be the ones to decide who sees it, how much and when they see it and what they're entitled to do with it. The company calls this the Health Singularity and its technology platform was built explicitly to leverage blockchain to become the primary marketplace that powers this.

Public Crowd Sale of BurstIQ Tokens

BurstIQ is about to launch a public crowd sale of tokens - called BiQs - that can be used on the platform. Unlike many of the initial coin offerings (ICOs) that have been hawked with greater or lesser degrees of underlying infrastructure, these BiQs are designed to have real utility, as Robert Neivert highlighted in his recent article in this space, redeemable for transaction credits on the network including a range of health-related services. As the company's ecosystem expands and develops, these services will include:



  • Precision medicine testing
  • Health and wellness services
  • Access to specific customer segments
  • Clinical and operational data and analytics

The company envisions an ecosystem in which new scientific research and development, novel treatments, preventative medicine solutions and related products and services will eventually come online. The grand vision is to create a new health economy with data supporting individuals and businesses, while democratizing the entire process, particularly for the millions in the underserved patient population. The company's website has the details of the ongoing BiQ pre-launch and public crowd sale to begin next week on Sept. 26th - including the specifics of the discounted tokens that will be available to the participating crowd. It's critical to note that BiQ owners will have no ownership stake in the company or any claim on profits. These tokens are network currency, and not corporate equity.

HealthWallet

The BurstIQ ecosystem or value chain is structured with individuals on one end and the full range of medical and health service providers on the other. Through the individual HealthWalletTM to be launched after the crowd sale, BiQs will be redeemable for a range of services tailored to individual’s unique needs based on his or her personal LifeGraphTM, a genomic, proteomic, medical, demographic, socioeconomic and social profile. Solution providers from primary care, telemedicine, pharmacy, wellness, insurance, and digital health will accept BiQs in exchange for services. Individuals will receive an initial allotment for creating an account and can earn additional BiQs by engaging with interested parties that may wish to access and use their health data or provide a service.

Ecosystem

BurstIQ has been gradually building its network and business. While the company hasn't disclosed revenue and specific institutional partners, a source close to the company has indicated to us that it is ramping this year at twice last year's rate and that the growth trajectory could be sustainable through next year. Additionally, BurstIQ has established direct relationships with two major university systems (with two more in the works) in addition to a life sciences service partner. Other partnerships are under various stages of negotiation, and we believe that BurstIQ could experience classic network growth within the context of this modern blockchain technology application.

Security

Perhaps the single greatest concern expressed over blockchain applications is the security of the data and transactions. Traditional blockchain does nothing to protect data, due to the open and transparent nature of the blockchain. Companies that don't solve this fundamental issue simply will not succeed in arenas such as healthcare in which essential data privacy is a foundational requirement.

As Mr. Ricotta says, data at rest is data at risk. BurstIQ has devoted significant time and resources in developing proprietary cryptographic and other security measures to ensure that its data is constantly in motion and encrypted at multiple layers throughout the network. Individual data shards (partitions) are encrypted into secure containers, and a multi-key system is used to protect against information loss and maintain strict access controls. Moreover, data cloaking "enables varying levels of access to be provided across temporal and physical domains, supporting multiple secured communities of interest." The company says that these elements provide security and dynamic consent capability in one platform.


We will continue to follow BurstIQ through its token sale and look to see how well the company executes on its published roadmap. The healthcare data management space is large enough to accommodate multiple players, but we suspect that BurstIQ may have an inside lane on establishing a foothold as the network of choice for individuals concerned with managing their own data, and becoming the de facto marketplace not only for healthcare services but also for medical innovation broadly defined.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

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