Each company had 10 minutes to
present their ideas to a panel of four judges and were asked to focus on
answering fundamental questions like what problem they sought to solve and why
blockchain technology is really needed for their solution. The judges then had
five minutes for a Q&A after each presentation.
The judges included Lin Wan, the
co-founder and CTO at Stella Technology; Charles
Aunger, managing director at Health2047 and member
of the Forbes Technology Council; Jeanine Martin, a Bill and Melinda Gates
Fellow and global vice president of business development at Midas+ (Xerox/Conduent);
and Marcus Whitney, president at Briovation.
The scope of the problems addressed
varied widely amongst the presenters, but it was clear that all of the
presenters were passionate about fixing their identified problems. Only a fraction
of the startup pitches verged on half-baked, while most were clear and precise about
the problems they were tackling and how their solutions would work.
For more details on each pitch, see
the recaps below:
to Nashville as the winner of Distributed: Health’s accompanying hackathon in
2016, Dr. Mathew Rose discussed identity theft, data control and identity
access management. According to Rose, “81 percent of data breaches are due to
password hacks contributing to the massive amount of insurance fraud.”
solution is to use voice recognition technology to function as a password.
Saavha wants to be the premier security choice for identity authentication
using their proprietary APIs, replacing the need for users to log in to a
website using their Facebook or Google accounts. Blockchain technology will be
leveraged for the platform’s auditing and logging components.
is currently using the Bitcoin network but claims to be blockchain agnostic. Rose
was seeking a seed round of $1.5 million in convertible notes.
the Ethereum blockchain and sitting on the Microsoft Azure cloud, Verif-y has
developed an identity verification platform to provide individuals with the
ability to own and control their identities.
Zabar, CEO of Verif-y, explained that the ultimate goal for society is for
people to become self-sovereign, but admitted that the best we have right now
is a quasi-self-sovereign solution. Verif-y provides an identity score based on
a fully live credentials wallet.
to Zabar, “21 percent of individuals have fraudulent degrees on their bios.”
Verif-y intends to verify each piece of identify from the source. For example,
the company will reach out to Stanford University to confirm that a person
actually graduated from the school and received their degree. The individual
has complete control over who can access pieces of their identity. This gives
providers the ability to share information about their identities with
hospitals to ensure that their identity claims are all true. Zabar was seeking
a $3–5 million funding round.
3. Collaborative Healthcare Solutions
Ziegler, CEO of Collaborative Healthcare, explained the underserved problems
related to lack of data sharing around interpersonal violence. His company
wants to build a platform to facilitate the sharing of information for Domestic
Violence and Sexual Assault Mandatory and Forensic Reporting requirements. It is
considering three use cases for blockchain technology that would “protect the
core data itself, evidence chain of custody [and provide] smart contracts to
work with states and hospitals,” Ziegler said.
February 2018, the company has been working on a pilot with the California
Clinical Forensic Medical Training Center. The judges thanked Ziegler for his
commitment to fixing such a challenging issue and commended him on his work.
4. Clinical Blockchain
Data interoperability has eluded the health IT
ecosystem long enough. Dozens of data standards have been introduced to help,
but we’re still not able to align the incentives of providers and technology
companies. Ed Bukstel, CEO of Clinical Blockchain, described how secondary data
silos can be leveraged to improve the patient experience and help make better
His company, Clinical Blockchain, is marketing its
platform idea to employers and benefits plans. Bukstel argued that “they want
their employees to make better decisions, and health data generated during the
claims adjudication process can help.”
The judges tried to dig in to the technical
details around the blockchain platform, but Bukstel’s answers to their
questions did not appear satisfying. Indeed, this solution would be a major
undertaking, but with Bukstel’s extended executive experience in health IT, his
approach may offer new insights to patients. The company is based in
Philadelphia and signed its first client in September 2018.
5. Citizen Health
Citizen Health is an open-source software
company that wants to connect healthcare buyers and sellers directly, saving on
costs. Led by Brennen Hodge, it aims to achieve this by developing an operating
system, marketplace and four crypto assets.
Its first phase is to build a personal health
record app on which people can earn “medit” tokens from their wearable data. Hodge
was looking to raise $5 million and pilot in Houston, TX, and Jackson, MS.
ConsilX Digital, a clinical trial patient
management platform, introduced their LifeLedger system, which facilitates the
clinical trial process from patient identification to trial reporting and
collaborative learning. Dr. Rajesh Jain and Himanshu Verma discussed how their
platform can streamline and improve transparency in the clinical trials of
tomorrow. The company is based in Singapore and was also a sponsor of the
Distributed: Health conference.
disjointed experience of getting, tracking and using prescription medications
poses real risks for patients. Dr. Tal Rapke, founder of ScalaMed, implored the
audience to “not blame the patient anymore” but to “change the system.”
30 percent of Rapke’s patients weren’t picking up their prescriptions,
sometimes at the risk of life-threatening conditions. Using their
patent-pending software and blockchain technology, ScalaMed will be connecting
pharmacies, healthcare professionals and patients to improve the ecosystem. ScalaMed
plans to launch in Houston next month at clinics that serve over 80,000
Sinderbrand, the CEO of Betterpath, based in Brooklyn, NY, illuminated the
problems of having many health data silos. His company aims to use BetterHSA, its
initial digital product, to “scrape” consumer’s health data by acting as a
personal data broker. Consumers can securely collect their own information and
get insights about their savings. The patient can manage their personal health
records and can use machine learning to help them understand long-term
treatment outcomes. With appreciation for the other presenting startups, Sinderbrand
invited them to partner with Betterpath.
Ogrey, CTO of QCMedchain, discussed the problem of fake drugs in Tanzania.
Verifying the supply chain of drugs and thwarting counterfeits is the startup’s
ultimate goal. One of its aims is to use IoT devices to measure temperature and
location of drugs to ensure that cold-stored medicines are handled properly
during transit. Cold chain monitoring on a blockchain could help to guarantee the
expected efficacy of drugs.
10. Unity Health Score
self-proclaimed high school dropout, Austin Jones, CEO of Unity Health Score,
explained the typical major issues healthcare providers face. He also described
how frustrating it is to be a patient who needs to provide their medical and
medication history multiple times, when instead a patient-owned system could
put them in control. He explained that Unity Health Score wants to leverage
decentralization to make patient data, specifically health records and
wearables data, work for the patients. It is seeking $500,000 to develop a minimum
viable product and keep it online for a year.
Polyn8 team eagerly pitched its platform, which is improving the post-visit
patient surveys. It wants to manage privacy and transparency on a blockchain.
According to Arvin Magusara, CEO of Polyn8, “The speed of survey validation is
faster if it’s on the blockchain.”
winner of the competition was ScalaMed, the startup focusing on a digital
wallet for prescriptions. Rapke passionately and effectively re-pitched his
presentation on the main stage during the final few hours of the conference.
Having traveled from
Australia to participate in the competition, Rapke was feeling really grateful
to be selected first out of all the other admirable startups. His enthusiasm
can be heard on a short audio clip included in a mini-interviews
episode from the conference on the Health Unchained Podcast.