Tell us a little about your story and background, as well as what you work on now.
I founded Health Wizz in 2016 along with co-founders Dr. Nitin Desai and Sirish Bajpai. My mother was admitted to ER that year and they couldn’t find anything wrong. She was discharged and then ended up being admitted to another hospital. They repeated all of the tests from the first hospital because they couldn’t share her medical health records in time. It cost a lot of money, a lot of time, a lot of pain, and was incredibly inconvenient. After this I just knew there had to be a better way to manage medical health records.
Our CTO, Sirish Bajpai and I have always been interested in distributed applications and data management. We both have a telecom background and have a track record of building large scale distributed systems. I have known Dr. Nitin Desai, our Chief Medical Officer since college and he was working on a wellness app that he had independently developed working with another company. We began discussions with Dr. Desai who has vast experience in hospital administration and medical health records, and plans were laid to develop Health Wizz.
Recently we have seen multiple data breaches, increased government interest and greater consumer awareness requiring an effective solution for medical health records data management. The passage of the 21st Century Cures Act, a far-reaching piece of legislation that calls for greater interoperability and less information-blocking, allows patients to easily access to their records for independent use. We believe the best tool for consumers to manage medical health records is the blockchain- enabled Health Wizz mobile application, which provides the security and management capabilities needed to securely aggregate and share medical health records.
What is Healthwizz, and how are you driving nextgen health management?
Health Wizz is a mobile application platform for individuals to aggregate, organize and share/donate/trade their medical records on a blockchain. Using a digital ledger technology called the blockchain, Health Wizz gives users even more control over how their medical data is used. Health Wizz provides the ability to share and trade access to their data to Pharmaceutical companies, medical data research firms and other businesses in the healthcare analytics industry. Always, it is the users who manage what, where, when and who has permission to access their data. Under the Health Wizz system, medical records will be managed using OmCoins, a digital token issued by Health Wizz. Patients can even sell their data if they desire, with smart contracts governing each step of the transactions.
How does Ethereum play into this?
Health Wizz mobile application works to establish trust via tokens. These are ERC20 tokens, named OmCoin, function as access keys that give users the power to securely aggregate, organize and share medical records on Ethereum blockchain. Additionally, consumers can use OmCoins to buy health related services and merchandise from healthcare providers and or health insurance carriers who are willing to accept payment in the form of tokens. Similarly, pharmaceutical and research companies can purchase tokens from Health Wizz or acquire them through exchanges with consumers.
The healthcare space is in need of some process updating. Can you talk about the current problems you’re seeing in the industry, as well as how blockchain can solve them?
The Healthcare space definitely needs process updating. The first problem I see is that the current focus in health care is not on consumers. Despite years of rhetoric, patients have never really been at the center of the health care universe. When we talk about what Health Wizz is doing with our focus on consumers and the fact that we are making our mobile app available for free, the next question most people ask is, “Well, how do you make money?”. Some people then assume that our business model relies on making money from advertising and selling their data. We believe that it is really important that consumers are in charge of their health records and they start treating them as a valuable digital asset. We want them to be in complete charge of their records and be in a position to monetize this digital asset if they choose to do so. Health Wizz wants to create a marketplace where consumers are trading their medical records for digital currency rewards from pharmaceutical companies, research organizations, insurance companies and even hospitals.
Second, our health records are scattered all over the place – they are with Doctors, Hospitals, medical labs, and insurance companies. There are even paper records stashed away in a file drawer or in a shoe box somewhere in your home. And now we are generating even more data with our Wearables and our genetic information. Today, the problem is there is no single place you can go to and get all your health data. Hospitals and Doctors are routinely faxing reports and images back and forth because they are on two different systems which don’t interoperate with each other. Tests are often repeated because results are not readily available when the Doctor needs them to make decisions about patient care, leading to massive waste. There has been a big increase in ransomware attacks where our health records are kept. Surgeries have to be postponed and patients have to be turned away simply because their medical records are not accessible as a result of a ransomware attack. Third, lack of interoperability of medical records. With the Health Wizz mobile app, we envision a world where you will be able to aggregate your health records at any time from various sources, always keep these records up to date and organized, and they go with you wherever you go on your mobile phone – this is your personal EHR. EHR Systems used by Hospitals and Doctors are mandated to communicate with user’s Apps using APIs. We also leverage patient-directed sharing of their health data using the new emerging standard called FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources), which makes these health records interoperable across systems.
You were founded in 2016, can you talk about your milestones and the traction you’ve seen since then?
February 2018 - Selected for IEEE Blockchain for Clinical Trials White Board Challenge December 2017 - Beta version of the product available on App Store and Google Play November 2017 - Voted #2 of The 10 Best New Apps of 2017 for Working Moms September 2017 - Announced pre-sale in Health Wizz May 2017 - Finalist for ‘Proof of Work’ Competition – Consensus 2017 March 2017 - Selected to present at HL7® FHIR® Applications Roundtable February 2017 - Demonstrated interoperability of medical records with Cerner and Epic using FHIR January 2017 - Wellness Mobile app launched in November 2016 on Android and iOS December 2016 - Winner of “Move Health Data Forward Challenge” (U.S. Department of Health and Humans Services' (HHS) Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) Acquired kreateIoT in October 2016
What resources do you use now to stay updated (podcasts, books, blogs, etc)?
I try and go to every Meetup and conference on blockchain that I can. I also participate on various panels to talk about blockchain and its applications in healthcare. Additionally, I stay current by reading blogs and listening to thought leaders online. We also have a very talented and skilled team at Health Wizz. Just interacting with them helps me stay updated on the latest innovations in blockchain.
Are you watching any company, coin, influencer in the space closely right now? If so, who or what?
Because we are consumer focused, it is important for us to leverage a public blockchain like Ethereum. When you have millions of consumers recording transactions on a blockchain, doing that on a private permissioned blockchain becomes unmanageable. Public blockchains have two major areas where more maturity is needed. The first is privacy. We are closely watching companies like Enigma and Zcash that are working on privacy solutions for public blockchains. The second area of interest is performance and scalability. Here we are watching approaches like sharding and proof of stake very carefully.
Where/when did you first hear of cryptocurrencies?
I had first heard of Bitcoin in 2010 but dismissed it as something shady that drug dealers and criminals were involved in. For the next five years I didn’t pay any attention to Bitcoin other than reading about it in a few articles. In May 2016, I attended this Meetup where people were talking about distributed ledgers and blockchain and Ethereum and the DAO. I was awestruck. I started doing more research and was blown away by the power of blockchain technology and its applicability and its power to disintermediate trusted third parties.