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 Mohammed Rahman, COO of Digipharm, to understand how his company is using blockchain to transform the healthcare business, and what the future of the industry holds.
1. What’s the story behind Digipharm? Why and how did you begin?
MR: Healthcare systems are currently juggling with the dilemma of health spending vs quality healthcare; resources are finite and decisions, incredibly difficult decisions need to be made about what is affordable to provide.
My interest in Blockchain led me to utilise my passion for this technology to ease the pain points across the implementation of value based healthcare, where drugs or therapies are reimbursed according to how well they work.
Our CEO decided to form Digipharm in 2017 while he was working at Roche as a Global Health Economist and developed many of the key concepts we still work on today – focusing on how emerging technologies can overcome the barriers the industry is facing as payment models are moving away from ‘volume’ to ‘value’.
2. Please describe your use case and how Digipharm uses blockchain:
MR: I believe blockchain is the perfect tool to enable Value Based Healthcare to truly be implemented globally. Value-based healthcare can be enabled by using blockchain technology as it allows for trustless reimbursement of therapies, services or drugs against performance or patient benefit. For example, this could mean a reduced price is paid if a therapy or healthcare service does not provide the desired therapeutic outcome. At Digipharm we have built a Reimbursement platform which enables multiple parties to interact using smart contracts to automatically execute once a pre-determined outcome is achieved, this is key to continued access and improved healthcare. I sincerely believe that this will revolutionise the Healthcare industry and the way it operates.
3. Could you share a customer/user that benefits from what you offer? What has your service done for them?
MR: We are working hard with our clients and partners to create the foundations of a digital health economy that puts the care that patients receive as a priority and the price to appropriately reflect the effectiveness of the intervention.
The platform will allow for all contractual parties to automatically transact with each other using digital smart contracts to improve access to healthcare and reduce unsustainable administrative burden between key stake holders. The automation of the administrative effort between these stakeholders will result in huge cost savings (time and effort). The importance of such a platform will also overcome any distrust between the contracting stakeholders as the data will be immutable and shared to all contracting parties. Blockchain encryption provides a security layer to share data between multiple stakeholders and freely interact in a secure environment. Collectively these attributes will all help to promote more efficiency and thus help all the parties involved.
4. What other blockchain use cases in healthcare are you excited about?
MR: There are many different use cases that can utilize blockchain. Blockchain is applicable in many areas such as Medical data, supply chain tracking of pharmaceutical products across the globe and naturally reducing counterfeit medication which is a rising issue and a cause of undesirable outcomes and even death.
I love the fact that it brings many sources of information together to create a single version of the truth for a patient’s healthcare journey, thus supporting continuity of each patients healthcare. By creating an ecosystem using blockchain, we can bring autonomy back to the patient and ensure the health service or medications provide desired outcomes.
Patients healthcare data can also be used to calculate risk and thus medical insurance can be linked to the patients healthcare records. This will encourage patients to look after themselves by changing diets and exercising as this will ultimately dictate their premiums.
5. Where will Digipharm be in 5 years?
MR: In 5 years we want Digipharm to be a global technological solution to enable Value based Healthcare whilst also adding a range of other healthcare solutions to our portfolio. I would love to expand on our platform to offer a whole range of software solutions whilst utilizing AI and Machine Learning to future proof health economies.
Currently we have our foundations in the UK and Switzerland but we are aiming to work and engage with projects in many jurisdictions across the world. We aim to prove, solidify and expand our concepts in key emerging markets such as Middle East, Africa and Asia as digital transformation is a key policy in most emerging countries and then continue to establish ourselves globally.
We also expect to be a lot more advanced in our patient engagement solutions – whether than entails them being paid for sharing data and interacting with our network to helping them negotiate cheaper care in their everyday lives.