The buzz around Blockchain technology is only getting louder primarily in the Ontario healthcare industry. Currently “The healthcare industry is an intertwined web of multiple business organizations working in different domains in the same sector.” (YourStory) We know that the provincial government has begun the integration of its very own Blockchain inspired technology called ConnectingOntario (Read more about that here) but how are Canadian companies keeping up with the changes?
Medchart, a University of Toronto start-up established in 2014, uses cloud-based technology to help Canadians safely store and easily access their medical records. It is no secret that the process of obtaining personal medical documents from healthcare providers can be timely and frustrating. Medchart solves this pain point and gives patients the access they should be entitled to when it comes to the ownership of their files. Founders James Bateman and Derrick Chow began this journey when they themselves were having difficulty tracking down medical records.(TechnaInstitiute.com)
You can start by crafting an account at medchart.ca and filling out the necessary fields to create your profile. Instantly you will be taken to a user-friendly and detailed dashboard that displays the records stored to date. You can see a history of medications, allergies, vaccinations, medical and family history. For the information you already know, it is easy to click on a field and update the records. Medchart will reach out and collect your records. This process can take up to thirty days, but you can keep tabs on your order status on the “Order History” page. The only downside is that there is a fee for patients to obtain the records only because the Canadian Healthcare System does not cover personal medical records.
Dot health provides the same premise as MedChart. Currently, in the beta phase of operation in Ontario, Dot Health’s key feature is that it will automatically update your files for you. After you have added all your health care provider information to your profile and you return to that provider, your data will automatically update to include your appointment notes and information.Dot Health is explicitly tailored for patients, unlike Medchart which has specific interfaces for law firms and hospitals. Synced with your OHIP number, Dot Health provides users access to their test results and files, but it also provides context around individual health data. “Dot Health then packages the results, notifies the institutions, and presents the information in a way that lets users understand trends in their health and share that with their loved ones.” (siterocket.com) No more de-coding difficult medical jargon. This approach builds a story-like a presentation around a patient’s medical history so that it can be easily comprehended.
Bowhead Health is a tool that is changing the way people have access to health monitoring technology and professional medical advice. This is the first company to combine medical hardware and blockchain technology through a physical device to gather and disseminate medical information. (coinsquare.com) Using the all familiar cryptography technology to maintain data security, users have direct access to medical tests, their results, as well as relevant medical professionals.The device is controlled by a mobile application that has three key features:
1. Users can test their nutrient and hormone level imbalances through the use of blood or saliva samples in real time.
2. The tool has the capabilities to dispense up to six supplements right on the spot.
3. Users have ultimate and instant access to their own medical data.
The device, still in development, will not only feature test cartridge and dispensing capabilities, but it will also allow licensed healthcare professionals the ability to recommend supplements and care plans based on the biometric data that the tool collects. The mobile app connects users directly with their confidential test results that the unit has analyzed. The program is in the testing phases of launching the product live. “These tests will arrive at the user’s home within 3-5 business days and users will return the kits along with their blood or saliva samples, depending on the test. Users will then interact with a licensed healthcare professional on the mobile app to receive recommendations.” (bowheadhealth.com) The potential of this technology could not only revolutionize current pharmaceutical testing and dispensing methods but also give researchers the means to study illnesses and drug responses with the real-time data collected from users.As the Bowhead product makes its way through the FDA approval process, it will be interesting to see what it will look like once it is on the market.
What are the Healthcare Technology Impacts?
These start-ups are among few organizations that saw an opportunity to improve the Canadian healthcare system by way of blockchain technology. This by no means is a short-term fad within the innovation world, and the Toronto based Blockchain Society is fully aware of this. “In a conversation with Coinsquare News, The Blockchain Society founder and CEO Bill Hennessey discussed how Canada’s blockchain industry could establish itself as a world leader in blockchain tech.” (Coinsquare.com) It began as a small side project within the Entrepreneurship Society, and now TBS has expanded given the emerging potential the field has demonstrated within Toronto and other areas of Canada. Medchart, Dot Health and Bowhead Health are providing a means for Canadian patients to take control of their health and wellness efficiently. The concepts of these innovative thinkers have revealed the potential the healthcare system has to be able to operate proficiently. A system that cannot adequately communicate and work together will most certainly have a lack of efficiency and co-related expenditures. With the support from organizations such as The Blockchain Society, we can only expect to see Toronto and Canada continue to reveal itself as a leader in this digital healthcare information movement.