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 Tal Rapke, CEO of ScalaMed, 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 ScalaMed? Why and how did you begin?
TR: I am a physician, with experience across hospitals, technology and pharmaceuticals and have seen first-hand how medication mismanagement impacts people and healthcare system. It is a $528 Billion dollar disaster. I started ScalaMed with a belief that we can help patients make better medication decisions by making prescriptions smart – utilizing the process of receiving and filling a prescription to empower patients with the right information at the right time.
2. Please describe your use case and how ScalaMed uses blockchain:
TR: Prescription management is a disaster – in fact medication mismanagement is probably the most expensive “disease” that exists.
When we tried to work out why it is that medications are sending patients to hospital rather than keeping them healthy, we realized there is an inherent problem in how prescriptions are managed. In fact in the USA today, and in many parts of the world, the prescription is nothing but an authority for someone to procure a medicine. Yet these prescriptions carry no warnings, alerts, reminders, pricing information, education, and support – they are essentially dumb. The worst part is that for the most part in the USA, the prescriptions bypass the patients, who remain disengaged and disempowered, and are sent on their behalf to a pharmacy.
In the process, there is no visibility for the providers on how patients are managing their meds, and there is nothing there to help support patients with their medication.
We realized, if we could create a secure prescription that couldn't be defrauded, and then layer smart technology over the top, we could not only improve workflow, engage patients, and help people stay safe and healthy, we could create an incredibly valuable piece of real-estate on a patients' phone – introducing ScalaMed.
By rethinking the flow of prescriptions, and allowing doctors to ePrescribe and send the prescription directly to a patient's phone, we can truly support patients to make better medication decisions.
3. Could you share a specific customer/user that benefits from what you offer? What has your service done for them?
TR: We are all about making medication management easy. Today, prescriptions mostly bypass the patient – moving from doctor to pharmacy. We created a way for patients to gain full ownership and control over their prescriptions and allow them to access them and forward them to any pharmacy they want on their terms and with the best possible access to information, pricing and data on their meds.
4. What other blockchain use cases in healthcare are you excited about?
TR: I like the idea of giving patients distributed ownership over their medical records, but feel we are still 5 years off making this a reality.
5. Where will ScalaMed be in 5 years?
TR: Every patient will seamlessly be able to control their medications, and will have 24/7 access to their prescriptions. We all manage our health and our medicines uniquely. We will have created a system that works for the patient, and autonomously helps support patients to engage, learn, and be supported in arguably the most important part of our lives – our health.