This interview is part of our new Blockchain In Healthcare series, where we interview the world's leading thought leaders on the front lines of the intersections between blockchain and healthcare.
In this interview we speak with Roxana Nasoi, CCO at Aimedis B.V. , to understand how this company is using blockchain to transform the healthcare business, and what the future of the industry holds.
1. What’s the story behind Aimedis? Why and how did you begin?
RN: The story of this e-health platform actually started approximately 10 years ago, when founders Ben El Idrissi and Michael Kaldasch won an award for an e-medicine business plan. After working in different hospitals across the globe, the two doctors found that the healthcare industry lacked an all-in-one solution to bridge the relationship between patients, practitioners, and health institutions (hospitals, pharma, insurance companies).
Aimedis began with a simplified version 1 in 2017, serving 10,000 patients and several hospitals across Germany, slowly expanding to other markets (Europe & Asia), with plans to launch a version 2 by 2019, that will make use of a proprietary blockchain built for the ecosystem, and a deep learning layer (2020) to support research efforts.
I joined Aimedis in 2017, as Chief Communications Officer, as the company’s vision to improve healthcare aligned with my personal mission to improve interoperability and to give back to the Diabetes patient community.
2. Please describe your use case and how Aimedis uses blockchain:
RN: I believe one of the use cases is in the interoperability layer itself. Let’s talk blockchain x healthcare from the “10minutes, not 3days” narrative.
Health-tech has its own architecture (HL7, Fire, other databases), which is severely fragmented. In emergencies, every second counts. Can we really afford to waste time cross verifying centralized databases? How do we verify if the patient is insured or not? Available ICU bed? Blood bank availability? Etc.
Patient experience. Is the doctor seeing me certified? How fast can I order the prescription from the e-pharmacy app? Can I be sure I’m not given counterfeit medication? With so many tests, from genomic testing, to patient medical history, how can I know who is accessing my data? Can I own my own data?
We do our best to answer these questions. Aimedis uses blockchain as a foundation for the interactions within the ecosystem – because this is what we are, an all-in-one ecosystem. A data right management allows the patient to know who is accessing their data (IPs of parties stored on public records). Along with doctor signatures, certificates, discharge letters etc., but never sensitive data. The patient can pay with supported cryptocurrencies (BTC, ETH, LTC, our native AIM token), and has complete transparency over the costs. I will reveal later the other use-case for blockchain.
3. Could you share a specific customer/user that benefits from what you offer? What has your service done for them?
RN: The patient is the heart of the ecosystem, and main benefits should always go to the patient: video chat, online prescription module, language support, opportunity to consult various experts from different parts of the world, medical tourism, complete transparency over medical costs, data rights management, cyber security.
Two of the elements I believe bring utmost value are: a) support from not just experts, but also from a global community of patients, and b) being involved in the health cycle of your loved ones (elderly) and contributing to society (research, medical trials).
I strongly believe that aside from the medical and technological benefits, we offer our users a meaningful experience. How? By making them part of the emotional and psychological support that we give to fellow community members (independent if they are family, friends, or strangers). I will give you an example: Google “parent elder”. Search bar suggestions will showcase the following: “elderly parent refuses assisted living”, “elderly parent refuses medical treatment”, and 3 more about lying, refusing medication or to see a doctor. These are some of the most common searches on Google. This tells us there’s a real problem regarding our inability to be part of their wellbeing. It’s time to focus on the elderly, as well.
4. What other blockchain use cases in healthcare are you excited about?
RN: The consensus mechanisms used across blockchain protocols can benefit an industry where the patient – although the core – has been left out for decades. This opens a new path to incentive programs, transparent flow of data (which can’t be tampered with or altered), and governance.
Due to the nature of its sensitive data, some instances may require the use of private blockchains. This is a never-ending debate among healthcare companies.
I am very excited to witness the intersection of artificial intelligence with blockchain, although we might have to limit it to machine learning in the beginning. As we know, “AI” is a big topic in healthcare this year, thanks to companies like Neuralink, followed by news in CRISPR.
Back to blockchain… Our team sees a future where governments and patients would run full nodes, actively validating transactions and blocks, earning and contributing to the global flow of rightful information. Imagine if instead of competing nations in medical trials and research, we would welcome similar consensus of collaboration as the mathematicians’ community have?
Ultimately, “together we stand / divided we fall”. We are still very far from a health community canvas.
5. Where will Aimedis be in 5 years?
RN: Serving millions of patients and hundreds of hospitals and pharma companies is where you can find Aimedis around the year 2024.
Perhaps I can share a bit of what we are working on, that second blockchain use case I was referring to earlier on. We called it AimSocial, and it's still in paper draft mode: a community space for people who believe that “sharing is caring”. While I cannot share too much, what I can say is that this community space will ultimately back and support the ecosystem from the sidelines. From nurses and doctors sharing e-learning content for their peers, to regular people just recommending a good workout, healthy diets, or small “life hacks” about a certain medical condition.
Blockchain plays a significant role here in terms of community governance and incentive economy. Deep learning will quantify the data, and provide an in-depth understanding of chronic conditions, and how patients globally lead normal lives. I think, ultimately, it will help us understand in the form of Big Data that we are not that different, and we have common struggles independent of location, gender, income, background, ethnicity, religious views, etc.