“YOUR DATA – YOUR RIGHT”

The digital disruption in the healthcare industry is turning heads. The value of medical health data is on the rise, evidenced by the increasing threat of medical data theft worldwide. In fact, these days, it’s been said to be even more valuable than that of personal banking data. It came therefore as no surprise when the European Union announced its new regulation on data protection and included the protection of personal health data as part of its coverage. From May 2018, the European Union aims to increase the protection of personal health data by requiring patients to give explicit and unambiguous consent to the processing of their personal data. Patients also have the right to access their own personal data, the right to transferring their data to another entity or person, and the right to object the processing of their data.

This process is a timely development. It means patient empowerment. It returns the ownership of personal health data to the control of the individual and effectively unlocks the monopolizing control of the companies/institutions that collected that data in the first place. But what does this decentralization of data really mean and how will this revolutionize research and development in the healthcare industry?

Driving population health through meaningful health data exchange

The robust exchange of medical health data as well as ease of access are crucial in advancing research and development in the healthcare industry. The decentralization of personal health data brings us one step closer to such an eco-system, but not quite. This is because individuals generally prefer to remain anonymous when it comes to matters of health and are less likely to participate in the exchange of medical health data especially if they have concerns about data security.

According to the founders of the HIT Foundation, this is where their platform comes in. HIT (Health Information Traceability) Foundation is an organization that aims to be the leader in blockchain technology for the healthcare market by empowering patients with their medical health data ownership.

We recently met the foundation’s co-founders, Dr. Quy Vo-Reinhard and Ms. Elizabeth Chee at our last Women in Digital Health event, where they shared about the foundation’s blockchain-based online marketplace for personal health data and explained how this platform will inevitably enable collaboration to take place between companies/institutions in the healthcare industry – through the meaningful exchange of health data between stakeholders in a secure environment, and with the consent of the individual data owners.

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Image 1: Dr. Quy Vo-Reinhard, Chief Data Officer & Co-Founder, with the HIT Foundation team and advisory board on the slide behind her.

“I believe blockchain is the technology of the future. It ensures that collaborations can happen in an open and secure manner. Our platform allows entities that store the medical data (e.g. hospitals, pharmaceutical companies) to connect with those who need access to it (e.g. policymakers, research and development divisions), with the individual data owner facilitating this exchange through his/her consent,” explained Dr. Quy Vo-Reinhard.

By using blockchain technology, HIT’s online marketplace secures individual data owners’ anonymity – making it more attractive for people to participate. Through the platform data seekers can incentivize individual data owners with tokens that can be earned when participating in a data exchange.

Integrity of data is of upmost priority

To ensure the integrity of the health data exchanged on their platform, current stakeholders who store the data (e.g. hospitals, pharmaceutical companies) are very much part of the eco-system. Their participation in the eco-system ensures that the medical health data of the individual that is exchanged has been officially verified and maintains its integrity. The foundation’s platform also makes it easy for current stakeholders to participate in the market without needing to completely build a new system; just plug and play. “You, the individual, are the person who can connect the dots and facilitate a meaningful exchange. We want the critical intermediaries to be a part of the system, but it has to serve a social purpose. Your data could be used to facilitate quality of care, prevention, and drive population health,” shared Elizabeth Chee.

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Figure 1: Token Economy in three phases

The next steps

Blockchain technology’s increasing application in the healthcare industry is set to benefit many stakeholders. It will first and foremost benefit the individual by securely unifying his/her medical health data and provide a comprehensive medical history that can be easily shared by the individual to medical institutions regardless of where the data resides in the first place. It will secondly benefit medical institutions and companies who are sitting on valuable medical health data but have had no options to exchange this knowledge, because of a lack of secure data transfer options and a lack of systems in place to easily engage and facilitate consent from individual data owners. The potential of blockchain technology’s application in the healthcare industry is tremendous and will most definitely play a defining role in revolutionizing its future.

The HIT Foundation’s blockchain-based marketplace for personal health data will be launched in summer 2018. They were recently recognized as one of the” Blockchain for social good ” projects at the World Economic Forum 2018 and was invited to participate in the panel discussing “Blockchain for Humanity”.

About the author

Aisha Schnellmann is a Singaporean native who spent four years recently working within an international philanthropic foundation. A sociology graduate from the National University of Singapore, she was as often at the floating villages of Cambodia conversing with beneficiaries, and the boardrooms of multi-national companies, speaking with executives and donors.

Currently based in Zurich, her interest in digital healthcare grew from the conversations she had with committed medical staff in rural hospitals in Asia, who remain hard-pressed with the technology available to them.

In the life of a person, for whom daily intake of various medications is a necessary evil, an easy-to-use and efficient reminder is a life-saviour. When it comes to meds, everything has to work precisely. I know how easy it is to forget to take a pill on time. I also understand that the price is high for forgetting to take the medicine. After all, you can never expect to reach the desired effect from pills if you don’t take them, right? The challenge of keeping track of the prescribed medications can be met with a smartphone in your hand and MyTherapy Med Reminder downloaded on it.

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MyTherapy is a must-have application for every person who has to take medication regularly. This digital helper can take some weight off your shoulders by allowing you to set reminders for all kinds of medications, measurements and activities. I am going to present you a list of strong points of this application and explain why, in my opinion, it is one of the best reminder apps I have ever used.

  1. If you are looking for an application that can connect you with your doctor and do all the job of explaining him how successful you are in following the prescription, MyTherapy is a good tool for that. The application allows you to share reports with your physician. These reports are handy because they visualize the progress in your treatment which makes it easier for the doctor to detect any inconsistencies in your medication schedule. He can also decide if the dosage of your medication needs some correction, because all the measurements and symptoms can be entered and saved, making it easier for your doctor to understand the effect of the given medication portion.
  1. MyTherapy is an application that is incredibly easy and convenient to use. After registering and entering your personal data, you can create a list of all the medications you take throughout the day. If the medicament is not in the database, you can enter the data manually, thus saving all the necessary information about the medicament and creating a reminder. There is a long list of symptoms and activities that you can choose from when you are to report in detail how you feel and what you do during a day. You can also be reminded to describe how you feel after taking a medicament and save this information for later to review with your doctor. Another useful feature is the ability to set reminders for meds that demand a different schedule of intake – every hour, every day or every week. Afterwards, all you need to do is just cross them out as you complete the task, feeling satisfied and happy.

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  2. In many applications, the importance of communication between app developers and app users is neglected. However, the creators of MyTherapy seem to be willing to change that, communicating actively with the app users and trying to help in any way to work on the improvement of the app. They are working with us to deliver a product that meets our needs and ensures that all users are satisfied with the results. It is essential to be able to share your opinion and, in some cases, criticism with the people responsible for the usability and functionality of the app.

There was just one little drawback that I encountered while using the app. The list of medicaments that I could choose from was very short and I had to type all the information manually. Scanning the barcodes of the meds didn’t help, because all the medicines I take were not available in the database. It is just a minor flaw but it was a bit frustrating because the list of the pills I am taking is pretty impressive and not a single one could be scanned. Fortunately, this little thing doesn’t have a bad influence on the overall performance of the application, because once you are done with entering the data, you can relax while the app is working its magic.

Conclusion

All in all, I would say that this application is great. If you use it, you don’t have to be afraid to miss a single pill anymore. It takes all your medications and overall health data under control and helps you stay organized to help regulate potential health problems. The application does its job in simplifying complex medication schedules and taking your mind off from constant control over your health maintenance. This very sophisticated reminder has everything that a person with a chronic condition needs to maintain his health and lifestyle on the habitual level.

The application is free to download on the App Store or Google Play.

Evgeniya Jung, a digital nomad, studied at the department of International Relations in Russia. She moved to Switzerland two years ago and since then she has been travelling and working on improvement of her German skills. She has particular interest in digital healthcare due to having Type 1 Diabetes, which gained her vast experience with the health care systems in different countries.

Pictures: zVg by MyTherapy / http://www.smartpatient.eu/de/

From 10th to 12th May 2016 the 7th edition of Health 2.0 Europe will be back in Barcelona. Ready to reshape digital healthcare, the fascinating venue comes along very internationally, with healthcare actors from all over the world, showcasing more than 50 live demos on stage. We asked Aline Noizet, one of the organizers of the conferences at Health 2.0 Europe about the objectives of the upcoming event and her engagement at the Bayer Grants4Apps® Coworking in Barcelona.

Aline, what makes the Health 2.0 movement so special and how does the upcoming Health 2.0 Europe conference in May 2016 differ from the many other venues about digital healthcare?

Health 2.0 conferences are very international, very hands-on and with a special focus on digital health startups. We believe that they will lead the way into the future of healthcare.

Aside from our 7 international conferences taking place once a year (US, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, India, Japan, Korea), we are spread around the globe with nearly 100 local health 2.0 chapters. And that’s very much reflected in our conferences: Our speakers and demoers on stage are from many different countries and we make a point in bringing diversity on stage in order to have an overview of what’s happening in the different countries, bringing different perspectives and sharing best practises.

We bring together different actors of the digital health ecosystem in order to improve the way healthcare is delivered through innovation and new technologies

In Health 2.0 Europe in May, you will be able to see more than 50 live demo on stage – 4min presentations where companies are demoing their solutions from a user perspective. No slides no video.

If you want to see how healthcare is being reshaped through innovation and new technology, mingle with international digital health champions who are shaking the system, investors interested in digital health projects, then Health 2.0 Europe is the place for you to be.

Which topics and issues will be discussed at the congress?

This year we really want to focus on bringing digital health champions. We don’t want just talks, we want action. We don’t want just predictions, we want experiences, results and outcomes.

In order to do that, we will be bringing on stage those who are shaking things:

  • Empowered physicians and nurses who are using digital tools in their daily routine
  • Investors who have been investing in digital health projects this past year
  • Successful entrepreneurs whose solution is improving efficiency, reducing costs and proved to be a positive return on investment.
  • Insurance companies that are reimbursing apps or medical devices
  • Empowered patients who have become CEO of their own health
  • Companies who are collecting and analyzing data, leading to better decision making
  • Governments who are references in adopting and implementing new technologies
  • Pharma companies who have found a solution in digital health in the ‘beyond the pill’ challenge

We are also preparing some thematic hands on sessions, which promise to be a great source of information, knowledge and entertainment. More information will be published soon on our website.

Which digital health champions are a must-see?

It’s complicated to pick some, as the champions who will be at the conference, on stage or in the audience are all really inspiring champions in their own way.

Patients like Domingo Escudero o Nuria Zuñiga are great examples of empowered patients who are not only using digital tools to manage their own chronic disease but also to help others.

Another inspiring champion is Rafael Grossmann, the surgeon who carried out the 1st surgery using Google glasses. He will be on stage to share his experience as a pioneer using new technologies and especially Augmented Reality tools. He will also share some insights on the new Google glass project.

Without a doubt, our other keynote speakers Esther Dyson,reference in US in digital health and investor in various digital health related companies, Julio Mayol, digital health reference in Spain,Pēteris Zilgalvis head of ehealth and innovation at the European Commission and Damien Marmion, head of digital at AXA will bit great source of inspiration too.

You are not only a passionate health innovator but also the program manager of the Bayer Grants4Apps® Coworking in Barcelona. What is this place offering for startups?

Grants4Apps® is a very exciting project and very much aligned with Health 2.0 vision, as it is bridging the gap between startups and big industry companies. It is part of Bayer’s global open innovation approach, which includes a number of successful crowdsourcing and co-working initiatives. It started in Berlin 3 years ago as a 3 month accelerator program and was brought to Barcelona last year in a slightly different format. The idea is to support and incubate digital health startups with promising projects and get more involved in the digital space which will without any doubt play an important role in the future of the pharma industry, especially in the ‘beyond the pill’ challenge that pharma are facing.

We always see Pharma as being the ideal target customer because they are said to have money, but Pharma can actually be more partners than customers. That’s what Grants4Apps® is proving.

Bayer has been pioneer in collaborating with startups and an early supporter of Health 2.0.

On June 11 2015, our event at the EB Zurich was a huge success, thanks to our fantastic four speakers, all coming from renowed hospitals in Zurich. There was:

– Andrea Heiniger, Social Media Manager, University Hospital Zurich.

– Stefan Lienhard, Project Leader Social Media, Hirslanden Private Hospital Group

– Renate Good, Head of Corporate Communications, Hospital Bülach

– Patrick Jola, Communications Officer & Assistant to CEO, Forel Clinic

After some opening words by our CEO & CMO, the four speakers presented their institutions social media strategies in a short presentation. After that, the public had the chance to discuss the topic in an inspired atmosphere with lots of questions and a refreshing networking reception afterwards.

Thank you all for making this first event unforgettable!

Take a look at HEALTHINAR’s trip to Barcelona and taking part in the Health 2.0 conference in Barcelona: Watch the story here.

The Health 2.0 conferences really are the place to be if you are interested in patient-provider communication, consumer health, data analytics and healthcare tech. All this was shown in exciting panels and more than 50 demos. Some interesting examples were:

– iRCP: http://bit.ly/1dh3GZw

– Hospital Simulation by Attensi: http://www.attensi.com/

– Simplifying diagnostics my MESI: http://www.mesimedical.com/homepage/

– Sense.ly with their virtual nurse Molly: http://sense.ly/

– The mobile wound management tool Wounddesk: http://wounddesk.com/

And of course we were also very impressed by the Jessica Feder, Chief Digital Officer at Bayer and the Grants4Apps Accelerator-Programme, check it our here: https://www.grants4apps.com/accelerator/

However, they were many more impressive demos and panels, we would like to thank them and of course to the awesome organisation of Health 2.0. See you all next year the latest!

Last but of course not least, we are proud to present to you our 4th speaker at the next HEALTHINAR-event: Renate Good, Head of Corporate Communications, at Hospital Bülach, near Zurich in Switzerland.
A few years ago, Renate wrote a paper about social media and hospitals, titled “Wie viel Social Media braucht ein Spital? Quantifizierung der Social Media-Nutzung Amerikanischer, Deutscher und Schweizer Spitäler“, where she took a look at the social media use of diverse American, German and Swiss hospitals. Her conclusion, back then in 2011, was that it was unclear if and how much social media a hospital was needed. There were very few examples of institutions that used this new communication channels. However, Renates Goods prediction was that with an increasing competition and therefore more competitive pressure between hospitals, the need for more customer or patient loyalty would also rise. In terms of that social media would be taken into further consideration for a communication strategy in hospitals. If we look at the situation today this has mostly become true. With SwissDRG (Swiss fee-per-case system) there’s more competition, especially between private and public hospitals in Switzerland and also quite a few institutions are using various social media channels.
So it’s most interesting that the Hospital Bülach, where Renate Good works, is still not present on these channels. We are looking forward to Renates presentation and a lively discussion, thanks for participating!

More about the Hospital Bülach: http://www.spitalbuelach.ch

More about Renate Good:  http://www.spitalbuelach.ch/index.php?id=1652

We are proud to announce that the Social Media Manager from the UniversityHospital Zurich in Switzerland will be one of the four speakers at our first showcase about hospitals and social media. The hospital exists since 1204 and is today one of the largest hospitals in the country including exceptional academic research. It consists of 43 departments and institutes and provides medical support to 39’000 inpatients every year.
Their social media campaign has been long awaited and was finally released in April 2015. So we are very excited to see their extensive campaign expanding and have Andrea Heiniger speaking on behalf of the USZ as a social media newcomer at our event.Thank you!

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More about the UniversityHospital Zurich:
USZ
More about the social media campaign of the USZ:
http://blog.usz.ch/willkommen-in-den-social-media/Blog
Twitter: Twitter
For more information on HEALTHINAR follow this blog or visit us on
Twitter: https://twitter.com/healthinar

The next speaker at our first showcase on the 11th June 2015 about hospitals and social media will be Patrick Jola, Communications Officer at the Forel Clinic, near Winterthur in Switzerland. Treating addictions and abuse of alcohol, medication and smoking, the Forel Clinic has established a center of competence for addiction disordners in Switzerland.

So this makes it even more special that they have launched a well-thought marketing and social media campaign. It’s appealing but still with respect to the delicate topic.

Thank you, Patrick, for participating!

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More information about the Forel Clinic: https://www.forel-klinik.ch/

Check their social media campaign: https://www.facebook.com/Forelklinik

More information about Patrick Jola: https://www.forel-klinik.ch/mediencorner/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/patrickjola

For more information on HEALTHINAR follow us on Twitter: @healthinar

We are proud to present HEALTHINAR. The idea of our start-up project is to expand your know-how of digital communication & marketing for hospitals. We are based in Zurich, Switzerland but will operate worldwide – digital nomads, bound to no location. HEALTHINAR is where we are: online with webinars, blog articles and videos but also with LIVE showcases and great speakers.

Stay tuned for more information about our first showcase in Zurich focusing on HOSPITALS and SOCIAL MEDIA on the 11th June 2015!