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 Dr. Abdullah Albeyatti, CEO and co-founder of Medicalchain, 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 Medicalchain? Why and how did you begin?
AA: I work as a medical doctor in the National Health Service (NHS), UK. I found that patients having a lack of access to their medical records was a fundamental barrier to delivering an optimum level of care.
As best as I would try, without the patient knowing their clinical details, or giving me access to their information, I would often be left in the dark playing Russian roulette when making clinical decisions. Patients would tell me that they were allergic to something, but not know the specific name of the drug. I would then have to second guess with them about what they thought they were allergic to. The way we deliver medicine had to evolve, the desire to change this has always been there but the technology needed to deliver this progress has been lacking until recently. We needed a technology that meant patients would be able to digitally access their records and when doctors were given permission to access these also, we could prove the data’s authenticity so that correct decisions could be taken.
Medicalchain was created to solve this problem. To empower patients to have access to their records and when they shared this information, we could be confident as clinicians about the quality of the data they were sharing.
2. Please describe your use case and how Medicalchain uses blockchain:
AA: Medicalchain uses blockchain technology to guarantee the authenticity of the medical records held by the patient so that when these are shared with different clinicians and clinics, they can be confident that medical decisions can be made on these due to the integrity of the information. Our first application, MyClinic.com was made with the view of delivering on this objective. We have built our system using Hyperledger Fabric and support the payment structure within our application by offering users to also pay in cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and our own, MedToken.
MyClinic.com had a short pilot launched at The Groves practice in London and has now positioned itself to launch version 2 of the application on a much larger scale.
3. What other blockchain use cases in healthcare are you excited about?
AA: I am excited by how the middle east is adopting the concept of a decentralised health record system and given their lack of an established digital solution allows for these types of projects to grow rapidly.
Estonia has done an excellent job and set an example of how its population have found it easy to access and interact with their medical information and it’s something we should all try to learn and adopt. This initiative by the small nation even led to the former US president, Barack Obama commentating that the US should have followed Estonia’s example when it came to healthcare.
There are other, less sweeping changes coming about in healthcare that utilise distributed ledger technology such as protecting and improving the transparency of the medicine supply chain which is already maturing at a rapid rate and is set to become an industry standard in the coming years.
4. Where will Medicalchain be in 5 years?
AA: I hope Medicalchain will start to be known as the company name only and more attention and focus will be placed on our products such as MyClinic.com. The important part to blockchain is not to talk about blockchain. The general public and my parents included are not interested in how something works, just that it works. The challenges are multiple but if we can simplify access to personalised health information, we can reduce national spend on healthcare by supporting users to take control and responsibility over their health through better understanding of how to prevent and manage disease.
I hope as an individual I grow, mature and learn more about myself and my role leading the company forwards. As a company, in the next five years we would have reached a few milestones and see ourselves as an expanding international brand which has stayed true to its roots and principles of empowering patients, removing health barriers and supporting health care for all.