Incentive based digital feedback of dental devices

Posted Aug 8, 2017 by Tim Sandle
Dentistry and blockchain technology may not immediately spring to mind when considering oral hygiene. However, a new way of providing dental feedback is being tested using a new cryptocoin payment method.
Typing on a keyboard
Typing on a keyboard
Jim Makos
Consumers are interfacing with healthcare in new ways, and the healthcare sector is sometimes as reliant upon consumer reviews as retail outlets are about the commodities they sell. Many areas of healthcare welcome feedback; positive customer ratings drive new clients and this is important for private healthcare facilities.
A new initiative called the Dentacoin Foundation has been set-up to entice dental patients to provide feedback about dental services. Based in the Netherlands, the scheme represents an early extension of the use of cryptocurrency into healthcare. The extent to which patients, as consumers of health services, will engage with such a process is unknown, as is the openness of some potential dental services that sign up.
A visit to the dentist
File photo.
Courtesy taliesin / morguefile
A cryptocurrency is a type of digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange. It is based on cryptography, which allows for secure transactions to take place for the creation of additional units of the currency to be controlled. The first cryptocurrency was Bitcoin, which was created in 2009. Since then there has been a proliferation of cryptocurrencies in the past decade and there are now more than 900 available.
In the case of Dentacoin, a cryptocoin can be exchanged for other goods or services. This is becoming a common trend with survey providers, as they issue payment for surveys using currencies like Bitcoins.
A frustration for consumers, however, is the the number of retailers willing to accept cyrptocurrencies for payment remains relatively low, as the Daily Telegraph has reported. The market for cryptocurrencies is also volatile and values can fluctuate considerably.
The aim of the Dentacoin Foundation is to develop a feedback system so that patients can have, what the company describes as an “easy, transparent, and verifiable way to provide feedback on dental professionals.” The collected information also allows patients to make decisions about the kind of care they want and need. Unlike the common way of surveying people about healthcare services which tend to be retained internally by organizations, the information will be made available on the Internet. This will allow dental practices to review the outcomes for each other. The Dentacoin Foundation thinks this will be a mechanism to increase performance among dental professionals.
Dentacoin's platform will allow patients to report on their experiences with dental professionals. Because of the incentive-based nature, Dentacoin will be able to publish verified patient reviews. This mechanism for this is a pilot project called the Trusted Reviews Platform.
Dentacoin will send surveys to patients only after their treatment. This avoids partial reviews and the control process avoids healthcare providers seeking to pay people to write positive reviews. Given that the reviews will most likely range from ‘good’ to ‘poor’, the initiative is an example of a disruptive technology.
The process was founded by Professor Dimitrakiev, who is a member of the IEEE Computational Intelligence society, EADM and Union of Automation and Informatics.