PALM BEACH, Florida, February 28, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --
MarketNewsUpdates.com News Commentary
Another fast food safety scandal rocked the industry in July 2017, when it was reported that customers had fallen ill after eating at Chipotle. This was after an initial outbreak in their restaurants in 2015. While many were quick to blame Chipotle, the truth is that solving this issue is quite complicated, and the problem has spawned an entire industry known as healthtech. In America alone, food safety affects 48 million people a year and costs $55.6 billion annually. Governments responsible for inspection duties are now working with technology firms like Tyler Technologies (NYSE:TYL), Ecolab (NYSE:ECL), CDW Corp. (NASDAQ:CDW), IBM (NYSE:IBM) and HealthSpace Data Systems Ltd. (CSE:HS) (OTC:HDSLF) to prevent food safety issues, like the July 2017 Chipotle incident from reoccurring.
Despite how far technology has advanced, no technology is capable of completely solving the food safety equation. Recently, the FDA has increased its software spending budget by $673 million to deal with the "data challenges" associated with food safety. Analysts estimate that the healthcare tech sector could be worth $228 billion a year by 2020.
Currently, the largest independent company focused solely on this front is HealthSpace Data Systems. Building on the success of its HealthSpace CS Pro platform among government agencies, the company recently made a technological breakthrough that could be a turning point for the healthtech industry - using blockchain to perfect our food inspection methods.
A Disruptive Breakthrough Happening In the Healthtech Industry
Blockchain is the technology that introduced us to Bitcoin. It's the underlying technology powering the cryptocurrency revolution. Blockchain has two key benefits: transparency and security. These two benefits are set to revolutionize the healthtech sector.
HealthSpace has added Blockchain to its industry-leading platform, with a pilot food safety audit program that's set to begin this quarter. You've probably heard about the food safety alliance set up between Walmart and IBM last year. The HealthSpace trial could the next one to make headlines this year.
This blockchain integration means data previously collected on the HealthSpace platform can be shared with both government agencies and the private industry in an instant, which wasn't possible before. The company's value is based on providing proactive health solutions rather than reactive ones, with the goal of preventing food poisoning incidents from happening.
Commenting on its use of blockchain, HealthSpace CTO Silas Garrison, previously employed by Digital Health Department prior to it being acquired by Tyler Technologies, summed up the company's vision for Blockchain technology:
"We plan to disrupt the way consumers and businesses interact by creating an open and trusted storage mechanism that any technology company can use, whether in HealthSpace's current business pipeline or not, to connect to a distributed ledger for the purpose of storing audit trail and inspection data."
Blockchain Collects All The Pieces To The Food Safety Puzzle
In the near future, blockchain based systems like the HealthSpace software could become the go-to inspection mechanism that tells both government inspectors and us consumers where, when, and how each ingredient of a product is produced, minimizing our risks of eating something that could make us sick.
Food safety issues are often a result of inefficiency, and a lack of coordination between public and private sectors. Blockchain is the bridge that connects the gaps to prevent those "leaks" in safety inspection. It helps to compile all the pieces to a puzzle which were previously all scattered around (some in public, some in private) into one place, saving time and costs and guaranteeing an optimal solution.
Statewide Applications Already In Place
After signing its first government contract in 1999, the HealthSpace platform is now being adopted by 10 statewide government programs touching 23 states. Customers include Health Canada and the state of Virginia, and its total contract value is over $10 million. Importantly, the company managed to maintain a 100% renewal and client retention rate over the past two decades.
HealthSpace also has a big presence in the private sector. The company now has over 200,000 restaurants and 14,000 hotels under its services, making sure that its software could reach as many places as possible, anywhere food is served.
Other Companies Governments Are Working With
Tyler Technologies (NYSE:TYL)
Tyler Technologies provides information management solutions and services for local governments across Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and the Caribbean. The company recently acquired Digital Health Department, an SaaS company that offers an environmental health software for public compliance.
IBM is often considered one of the most innovative companies, known for developing cognitive supercomputers and hardware. Over recent years, the company has placed more emphasis on cloud computing and analytics, with service agreements secured at various government levels.
Ecolab offers water, hygiene, and energy technology services to the healthcare and hospitality industries. These include sanitizing programs, pollution control, and energy conservation. Currently, its business reaches over 170 countries worldwide.
CDW Corp. (NASDAQ:CDW)
CDW is a provider of IT solutions for enterprises and governments in Canada, the U.S., and the U.K. The company's portfolio includes more than 100,000 products and services from over 1,000 brands.
SaaS Businesses Hold The Key To Food Safety
Overall, the healthtech sector deserves attention for both its ability to minimize health risks in our food chain, and for the $228 billion market the technology addresses. The addition of blockchain technology to this rapidly growing sector has the potential to fuel investor interest in the healthtech space throughout 2018.
Though experts have been raving about the disruptive potential of blockchain in the finance industry, the technology could also have a major impact on our health.
Companies like HealthSpace have become a rare breed in the healthtech industry, as big firms have already been swallowed up most independent players (ie. Accela acquiring Decade Software in 2014). As the largest independent company left in the healthtech SaaS business, it's possible that HealthSpace Data Systems Ltd. (CSE: HS) (OTC: HDSLF) may merge with another leading firm in the industry, especially with current revenue figures of $2 million.
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