With strategic investment from Guardian, PokitDok sets sites on blockchain

By Jonah Comstock
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San Mateo, California-based PokitDok, which offers a suite of API-based software tools for appointment reminders, price transparency, patient check-in, and more, has received a new investment from the investment arm of Guardian Life Insurance Company of America. While the company didn't disclose the amount of the investment, they did say it will be used to fund the development of a blockchain for healthcare, dubbed DokChain.

"The infusion of strategic capital from Guardian, a Fortune 250 mutual insurer, validates the new financial and technological innovations taking place in healthcare, with PokitDok providing vital access,” Lisa Maki, cofounder and CEO of PokitDok, said in a statement. “Outdated, centralized infrastructure cannot support real time integration of new services and is heading to obsoletion. Guardian recognizes that a seismic shift is taking place through APIs, and now blockchain, with this investment, will be part of it.”

Blockchain, the technology that makes Bitcoin possible, allows for the sharing of data in a way that's highly secure and tamper-proof by decentralizing the storage of encrypted data. While it began in finance, the technology is being explored in a variety of industries, including healthcare. Last summer HHS held a contest for whitepapers exploring the potential of blockchain and just today Google Deepmind announced it was working on a blockchain project for healthcare.

Guardian's role as a strategic investor will give it access to PokitDok's expertise, the company said in a statement, including exclusive first access to the DokChain product.

“PokitDok’s technology approach and vision have the potential to make the healthcare experience easier for patients and more efficient overall which would lead to a positive impact on the healthcare economy,” Bob Thompson, SVP and head of corporate finance solutions at Guardian said in a statement. “For Guardian, this investment aligns with our interest in fueling technology innovations that improve life and wellness.”

PokitDok says it has raised $48 million to date from investors including Lemhi Ventures, New Atlantic Ventures (NAV.VC), Rogers Venture Partners, and Subtraction Capital. This is at least the second undisclosed strategic investment for the company -- the last was from McKesson in February 2016.