▲ Alexander Antoniou
Founder and chief medical officer
A more detailed view of BlockMedx and their work can be found here
Fintech Review (FR): What is BlockMedx?
Alexander Antoniou (AA): BlockMedx is a software solution and platform for secure electronic prescribing and predictive analytics which is purposed fight prescription drug fraud, abuse, and non-adherence.
FR: How does BlockMedx simplify the medical system for patients?
AA: The BlockMedx ecosystem is patient-centric with a specific mobile and web UI for patients, to take control of their healthcare data and interact with other stakeholders, such as their providers, pharmacists, and health insurance carrier. Patients will be able to manage their entire prescription history regardless of which provider wrote the prescription, which healthcare system they visited, and which pharmacy they used, even if they all use different systems or are in different states.
FR: What incentives would medical providers have to join the BlockMedx ecosystem?
AA: The way the ecosystem is set up, it’s free to use for patients and pharmacies. Providers are incentivized to join the ecosystem because we’ve improved user experience cutting down on workflow and are offering our solution at a fraction of the cost of legacy systems. In addition, and importantly, states are collectively seeing the value of improving privacy and security, and eliminating fraud by moving prescription of controlled substances from paper to an electronic format. Many states have bills in legislation mandating this switch and medical providers are in the market actively searching for a solution such as BlockMedx.
FR: How would token volatility be handled, because patients can pay for services and prescriptions using the token?
AA: We are partnering with one of the leading cryptocurrency wallets to integrate the functionality of converting from fiat to token and vice versa in every UI including the patient mobile app. We will make an official announcement with more details in the coming weeks.
FR: What would happen if a user loses their private key and is unable to access their profile, how would doctors access the user's previous data when treating the patient?
AA: In this case, a new identity would be created for the user for authentication purposes and the old identity along with its transaction history would be tied to this new identity.
FR: Would users only be rewarded with MDX tokens by pharmaceutical companies for their data? What would the pharmaceutical companies be able to access and what uses do they have this data?
AA: The MDX token allows healthcare stakeholders to offer incentives to users and also allows us to tie them to smart contracts for payment-based incentives for prescription non-adherence. Pharmaceutical companies are just one such stakeholder in the system and depending on what the user would like to share, they can be paid for marketing & sales data, paid for their medical data which can be used to improve clinical trial endpoints, and even be offered the opportunity to join specific clinical trials that would be of benefit to them.
FR: Why isn't the medication that users are prescribed on the platform tracked from supplier to pharmacy on the blockchain?
AA: It isn’t, but it will be. In addition to the opioid crisis, the counterfeit market is a multi-billion-dollar market--in fact, the largest fraud market in the world. The US Drug Quality and Security Act (DQSA) requires pharmaceutical companies to identify and track the entire supply chain by 2023 and this is leading to a lot of research and investment in the ability to track and trace drugs from manufacturers through distributors and ultimately to the pharmacy. While we are working on the front end to track prescriptions from doctors to pharmacies to patients, the MediLedger project led by Susanne Somerville and other similar projects are working on the back end by setting up standards for how prescriptions can be tracked and traced back to their source.
FR:Will your platform be limited to only in-person visits or will people be able to consult with doctors online?
AA: Both. Our solution will be made available to physical clinics as well as to telemedicine platforms in the US and internationally.
FR:What differs BlockMedx from MedicalChain and other similar projects?
AA: We are solving different pain points in the market and our focus is specifically on prescription transactions which help us solve problems of drug fraud, abuse, and non-adherence. What MedicalChain is attempting to do as I understand it, is to specifically build a 'personal' health record (different from what we know as an EMR in terms of access) where the patient controls the record and instead gives permissioned access to clinicians to read/write in their personal health record. Providers of an in-person visit would likely write the clinical note on their own electronic medical record systems for record keeping for legal and other reasons such as high switching costs, and so the target market here would be clinicians who are brought on to the telemedicine platform to be able to read/write on a patient's personal health record. MedicalChain's personal health record management system and telemedicine platform is a great use case for blockchain but it definitely deserves a more nuanced discussion to understand their business model and potential impact on healthcare.
Our solution is very much focused on the transaction level of prescriptions which total 4.4 Billion transactions in the US alone and our roadmap is focused on integrating with existing healthcare infrastructure including provider electronic medical records and pharmacy management systems. We are providing a solution to a problem with a clear market demand and putting the patient in control of the single source of truth when it comes to their prescription history. Other telemedicine or digital health startups built using blockchain technology would be our potential clients and it would be a great opportunity for us as a community to showcase the interoperability of blockchain technology when we link patient identities and data between two different blockchain based projects.
FR:What do you view as the biggest hurdle for you to overcome to reach mass adoption of BlockMedx?
AA: We are fortunate that our solution solves a pain point in the market and we have existing market demand. Our biggest hurdle is something many startups face and that is moving from almost a year in product development to a rapid scaling stage. For that, and especially since we are in conversations to scale globally, we are spending resources putting together a well supplied sales team and a well timed sales strategy to take effect later this year.