I suppose when someone writes a blog about ‘their journey’, the reader naturally assumes the author has arrived at ‘their destination’. They assume that they have now seen out their vision and are reflecting on the end of a transformation process over time, fuelled by hard work and dedication. Turning what was once a concept into a viable real-life business and product. I can declare from the offset that I am as far into this journey as someone who has just put their coat on and grabbed the car keys. The road and hard miles are still to come.
So we should start with where I have come from, moving onto where I am trying to get to and finishing with what challenges I have faced to get to where I am now.
London to Leeds
I am a 32-year-old doctor working in the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK. My career started off by training to be a surgeon in London before switching towards general practice in Leeds. I have worked in over ten different hospitals nationally as well as three different family practices and found that the problems within the healthcare system were chronic and widespread. After speaking with my colleagues who work as doctors in other countries, I soon realized what I thought was a national problem was in fact, a worldwide issue.
The main issue I found was the lack of communication between stakeholders and the sharing of information. This problem was not only between hospitals (secondary care) and general practice (primary care) but also the communication with the most important individual in the whole system: the patient. Patients would regularly ask me about an investigation they may have had the previous week at the hospital and sadly I would not be able to tell them the results as I simply did not have access to that information. Likewise, I may find that a patient I am seeing requires antibiotics. The patient tells me they are allergic to something but cannot remember what and that their previous hospital has that information on file, a piece of data that the patient is happy for me to know, but one that is not shared with me, their current clinician.
It became clear that the solution to this problem was to empower patients to hold onto their medical records, that way, whichever doctor they were speaking with, in whichever setting and in whatever country, they would be able to share that information with them. The one common factor in every consultation is the patient so why wouldn’t we trust them to hold their own data?
We already do this in the UK with two clear examples – the personal child health record (the red book) and maternity care medical records. In both of these scenarios, health records are taken home and brought to appointments to have information accessed from them and added to them. Surely we could make a digital record of health information now, one that as clinicians we could be confident has not been tampered with and would have the highest level of security, while at the same time improving accessibility for those authorized users, being the patient and their nominated doctor.
Medicalchain to $24M ICO
This is the solution at Medicalchain that we are striving for. Medicalchain is a platform for the storage and utilization of electronic health records using blockchain technology and it is our usage of blockchain technology that makes us unique.
Since formalizing these ideas and working with my co-founder, Mohammed Tayeb (Mo) we have managed to raise $24 million through an initial coin offering (ICO) and have gathered a team of over 20 highly skilled doctors, engineers, developers and blockchain enthusiasts.
This really simplifies what it has taken to create the brand, Medicalchain. We essentially have been managing, growing and pushing on two fronts. The ICO process and developing the Medicalchain platform itself. These have been occurring simultaneously and frankly has been exhausting but extremely rewarding.
The ICO process involved myself and Mo conducting our roadshow, travelling to over 15 different cities during 8 months where we were promoting Medicalchain and what we were setting out to achieve.
Our very first presentation took place in Zurich at a ‘Meet Up’ about blockchain. I admit I was nervous and apprehensive about what the audience would think of us and our idea. This would publically be the first time we had spoken about our vision and what we were setting out to achieve. It seems so long ago now, a common phenomenon which occurs in the ‘crypto’ world, where days and weeks feel like months and years. From being an unknown entity we are now one of the largest medical blockchain companies worldwide with an office in the UK and Switzerland and a pilot soon to go live in London.
We have presented at prestigious events like the Financial Times digital health summit as well as alongside distinguished individuals at the European Commission in Brussels.
I believe my medical training and experience has helped me to deliver coherent and well-received presentations as well as allowing me to navigate and negotiate my way through panel discussions with those who have been involved in blockchain a lot longer than myself. However, I continue to work as a doctor as I feel that the only way to make a real difference is to keep doing what got me here in the first place.
Seeing my patients, understanding their medical problems, how this affects them in their daily lives and how we can improve the level of care we deliver to them. I believe that by improving our ability to communicate with each other as professionals and to involve the patient in these discussions is the best way forward.
Our challenges now are to maintain our momentum by delivering on our pilot this summer and making the most of this opportunity we have been given. It is also vitally important that we continue to expand our brand and reach, by establishing Medicalchain in the US as well as the far east.
As with the presentations I have given at several universities, I enjoy sharing my thoughts and experiences with others as they too are quite fresh and memorable for myself also. I hope this short piece has managed to touch on a few areas and I look forward to possibly the next instalment soon.
About the Author
Abdullah is the CEO and Co-Founder at Medicalchain, CEO and Co-Founder of dischargesummary.co.uk, Indicator Governance Board at NHS.
Medicalchain uses blockchain technology to securely store health records and maintain a single version of the truth. Different organisations such as doctors, hospitals, laboratories, pharmacists and health insurers can request permission to access a patient’s record to serve their purpose and record transactions on the distributed ledger. The platform is built to securely store and share electronic health records. By digitizing health records and empowering users we can leverage countless industry synergies.