New platform makes insurance claims easier

Local | Charlotte Luo 21 Nov 2018

A startup at Hong Kong Science Park has launched a cloud-based medical insurance platform to speed up processing of patients' claims.

The e-Mediflow platform developed by Emali.io is expected to be in the market in the second quarter of next year, covering three insurance companies.

Patients can use a phone to scan the QR code on documents they receive from doctors, and the digital information is sent automatically to insurers. The process and results can then be tracked by claimants.

Lawrence Ma Kwan-ho, chief executive of Emali.io, said claim processing can be done within a day compared to the current few days to several months.

Using blockchain technology, which is resistant to modification of data, the network saves agreements with insurance companies and hundreds of doctors.

That leads to an append-only ledger of blocks of information stored across a network of computers. It accepts new information, but previous data cannot be changed.

The stored information can be viewed by a group of users but is not usually managed by a central authority. The platform is designed to expedite insurance claim approvals, cuts costs and eliminate duplicated claims to different insurers.

Noting that patient data is encrypted and protected by the platform, Ma said: "Over the years we have seen many companies that were compromised over personal data breaches.

Health data is very private and valuable. By applying the latest in cryptography and blockchain technologies consumers are responsible for their own data."

A service fee is charged to insurance companies for each transaction but is free for patients.

Chief strategy officer Peter Woo said the platform is particularly useful for insurers to cut costs in handling a large number of small claims. It also prevents patients from making claims twice.

Previously, Ma said, insurance companies did not communicate with each other on patient information so receipts could be forged to make claims from more than one insurer.

The company, which has a team of about 20 and helps others at the Science Park with blockchain, took two years to develop the platform at a cost of over HK$10 million.

The platform won three awards at the AIA Global Blockchain Challenge in 2017 and the Zurich Insurance Global Innovation Competition in 2018.

charlotte.luo@singtaonewscorp.com

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