New Study Investigates the Role of Blockchain-Based Data Capture & Crypto Incentives in Improving Patient Outcomes
MMUST, the premier technology and innovation university in Kenya, and Immunify.Life, a transformative and self-sustaining healthcare ecosystem secured by blockchain, has entered into a partnership that will leverage MMUST’s academic and research prowess and the advanced tech infrastructure of Immunify.Life to address the issue of poor patient data collection, patient relapses, and misaligned incentives with a specific focus on HIV-positive patients in Kenya.
In the innovative new study, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) and Immunify.Life will use blockchain technology to redesign health data capture, transmission, and sharing processes as well as treatment incentives to improve the health outcomes of HIV-positive patients in Kenya.
This will be a 5-year collaborative effort, with the major goal being to improve patient outcomes and strengthen the performance of the Kenyan healthcare system. By carefully designing clinical studies in different regions across Kenya and addressing key healthcare challenges faced by some of the country’s most vulnerable populations, MMUST and Immunify.Life hopes to accurately identify the risk factors, causes, and obstacles faced by HIV patients in contracting HIV, receiving treatment, and adhering to their care regimens.
One of the key features of the first study – which will commence in August – will be the use of Immunify.Life’s token reward system in improving treatment adherence in HIV/AIDS patients. All of the relevant approvals (specifically from the Institutional Ethics Committee and the National Commission for Science, Technology & Innovation) have been granted to MMUST for using Immunify.Life’s technology platform for this study.
While Kenya has achieved a number of UNAID’s HIV 2020 goals, the country still has a long way to go, particularly in the areas of effective and sustained ART (antiretroviral treatment – the primary treatment for HIV/AIDS). About 70% of adults living with HIV in Kenya access treatment, but treatment coverage for children under the age of 15 is lower at about 60%. In Kakamega County where the MMUST and Immunify.Life study will be conducted, there are high prevalence, infection, and relapse rates for men, women, and children, making it the perfect location for a comprehensive, data-intensive study of HIV/AIDS and the socio-economic, policy, and related challenges that prevent people from receiving the treatments available to them.
The primary objective of the first study is to investigate the effectiveness of incentives and paperless tracking systems on HIV treatment outcomes in the low socio-economic setting of Kakamega County. Other objectives of the study include:
- Testing the effectiveness of crypto-based token rewards on HIV/AIDS treatment adherence amongst patients with suspected treatment failure in Kakamega County;
- Evaluating the impact of token rewards systems on healthcare providers;
- Identifying the socioeconomic factors that hinder the retention of HIV patients with suspected treatment failures;
- Developing and testing an integrated, cloud-based system for improving treatment adherence of HIV/AIDS patients with suspected treatment failures.
The HIV treatment outcomes study is the perfect opportunity for MMUST, Immunify.Life, and other official partners and organizations such as Kenyan healthcare policy leaders and strategists to conduct a real-world test of the effectiveness of crypto-based rewards and blockchain-based data capture and sharing on HIV treatment adherence rates. The technologies in play have the power to vastly improve treatment adherence and empower patients, communities, and entire countries, and this study hopes to prove beyond any doubt the benefits of an integrated, blockchain-based approach to tackling some of the world’s most important health challenges.
Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology is a technology-oriented, innovative university in Kenya. With about 17,000 students enrolled, the university focuses on international collaboration. It has a partnership with an NGO called Save the Children Fund which staffs 25,000 people in 117 countries.
The Immunify.Life team says its mission is to “transform the landscape of health management and data utilization” by strengthening global health systems and access to health data “via an incentivized data capture tool developed for the Immunify.Life disease register.” The organization hopes to scale organically by expanding its patient base through working with various government entities, NGOs and donors.