Bitcoin becomes a potential method of payment for COVID-19 testing for point-of-care tests performed by one Florida laboratory
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in numerous innovations and had a profound and lasting impact on clinical laboratories. There have been many changes and adaptions that clinical laboratories have made to remain competitive while simultaneously providing high-quality COVID-19 testing at large volumes.
In a potential first for diagnostic laboratories, a clinical lab in Florida has recently announced that it will allow patients to pay for COVID-19 tests using Bitcoin. This digital currency has been widely available for years but has only recently begun to gain widespread acceptance for use in ordinary transactions.
Progressive Care Inc. is a Florida-based personalized healthcare services and technology company offering pharmaceutical and data management solutions. Progressive Care offers point-of-care COVID-19 testing through PharmcoRx, its pharmaceutical service arm that expanded during the pandemic to offer COVID-19 testing.
“We believe in the future of blockchain technologies, generally speaking, and we want to extend our market-leading services in rapid COVID-19 testing solutions to those who prefer to pay through Bitcoin,” said Alan Jay Weisberg, MBA, CEO and Chairman of Progressive Care, in a June 4, 2021, press release. “This is an excellent alternative for post-pandemic tourists coming into our communities from abroad. It also allows those with an alternative view of payment systems to get the testing services they require as we strive to maintain a shield against a fresh resurgence of this terrible virus.”
Bitcoin in the Healthcare Space
Bitcoin is a digital currency, also called a cryptocurrency, and allows people to send and receive payments digitally without being traced. Bitcoin has gained attention as a decentralized currency option that allows anonymity, but also is subject to severe price fluctuations because it is not tied to any underlying asset or regulated by any government organization.
Businesses have been wary of allowing people to pay using Bitcoin; however, in recent months, many businesses have shifted to allowing payments via Bitcoin as its use has become more ubiquitous. Companies such as Microsoft, Home Depot, and Starbucks allow customers to make purchases using Bitcoin, and it is beginning to gain acceptance on a wider scale than was previously thought possible.
While Bitcoin has enjoyed a recent surge in popularity, few, if any, healthcare businesses have allowed patients to use Bitcoin as a method of payment. Progressive Care appears to be the first time that an entity providing a clinical laboratory test has allowed payment for the test using any type of cryptocurrency.
Progressive Care’s PharmcoRx noted that this change comes on the eve of Bitcoin 2021, the largest Bitcoin conference in the world, held in Miami, an area that PharmcoRx serves. Over 50,000 Bitcoin enthusiasts are expected to attend this conference, potentially making this change a wise marketing move.
More About PharmcoRx and Bitcoin
Progressive Care has also used its recent acceptance of Bitcoin to promote its brand as inclusive and on the forefront of technological development. “PharmcoRx is invested in becoming the leading testing destination for Rapid COVID-19 Testing solutions for international airlines, Fortune 500 global entertainment companies, chain restaurants, corporate employers, and financial institutions,” Weisberg said. “PharmcoRx has tested over 10,000 people for COVID-19 to date, generating over one million dollars in testing revenues. We are happy to invite Bitcoin holders to our locations for all of their COVID-19 testing needs.”
It remains to be seen if Progressive Care’s openness to Bitcoin payments for COVID-19 testing will last after the Miami Bitcoin conference or if this is a temporary change to accommodate a specific situation. Clinical laboratories may, however, want to consider the potential brand benefits, the publicity, and the increased accessibility that accepting Bitcoin may offer, weighed carefully with the potential financial risks of this new currency.
—By Caleb Williams, Editor, STAT Intelligence Briefings
Company: Progressive Care Inc.