Patientory Association is a global not-for-profit healthcare member-organization dedicated to advancing emerging technologies in healthcare, currently centered on blockchain. Chrissa McFarlane is the CEO of Patientory Association.
Peter Lee: Chrissa, thanks for including the Patientory Association as one of our “BIG Non-Profits” and for taking the time to do this interview with us. Tell us more about yourself? Also, given how new this whole area is, the Patientory Association has actually been around for a little while. What is the Patientory Association and how would you describe its purpose?
Chrissa McFarlane: Peter, thank you for having me. A brief background about myself, I was named one of the top women, “leaving their mark on the MedTech field in health IT,” and I am the Founder and CEO of Patientory, Inc., which is headquartered in Atlanta. I founded Patientory in December 2015 after seeing the need in the market for more personalized and secure consumer-driven health information management solutions.
I also serve as President of the Patientory Association, which is geared towards gaining adoption of emerging technology in healthcare. The Patientory Association, a global nonprofit healthcare member organization, facilitates the adoption of emerging technologies in the healthcare industry. Currently, the foundation connects healthcare industry adopters of the PTOYNet blockchain, which comprise the PTOYNetwork blockchain consortium.
The PTOYNetwork blockchain securely stores and manages health information in real time, and such storage and management is facilitated by a blockchain based token (called “PTOY”).
The Patientory Association facilitates the development of standards that are essential to the implementation and adoption of the PTOYNet platform and token in securely protecting and managing healthcare information. Such standards are necessary for interoperability, auditability and for transparency purposes. These activities will help ensure the safety, reliability, and usability of the PTOYNet platform by its members and the general public, a prerequisite to the wide acceptance of the PTOYNet platform as a viable means of transacting business by the public and the acceptance of the industry as a whole.
Peter: When you first started Patientory in 2015, were you already set on utilizing blockchain technology? If not, how did that develop?
Chrissa: No, I was not.
We had a short list of technology that we were researching that would solve our problem of data interoperability. The blockchain technology was chosen over API and Cloud storage networks because of its advantages in security level, immutability, backup data, transparency and cost savings. This was before enterprises started to consider blockchain adoption.
Working as a consultant for health care companies in the past gave me a chance to experience the struggles in accessing patient data and gathering all the pieces of their E.H.R into a complete health record for telemedicine implementation purposes. Thanks to the impact of the HITECH Act, the use of electronic medical records at hospitals and care organizations is increasing rapidly; however, they are also facing the risk of healthcare breaches that restricts the interoperability between care units. According to HIPPA, patients have the right to see their health records, but that process will take at least 30 days which is too long for any critical patients. Understanding these challenges of our current healthcare system with my passion for digital health, and noticing the enormous potential of blockchain technology, Patientory was born as a solution.
Peter: Who/what benefits from the Patientory Association and how?
Chrissa: Healthcare organizations, developers, startups in healthcare that want to implement and learn about the cross-section of disruptive technologies, and its adoption in healthcare.
By joining our Patientory Association, Healthcare organizations will be able to access Patient Data, especially out-patients where their health records are not available to review. Only members can share their data when they have signed agreements or smart contracts that promote the data interoperability and enhanced care coordination.
Developers can contribute to our storage network and receive profits by letting data stores in their nodes. For healthcare startups looking to implement and adopt blockchain, instead of building their own blockchain network, they can integrate with our PTOY network with their healthcare start-up use case.
Peter: From the user’s point of view, how does Patientory change the patient’s experience of health and healthcare? How does it work?
Chrissa: Patientory is not simply a secure all-in-one box to store health data, but also a health community platform where users will be supported to improve their health condition and well-being by communicating with their doctors, caregivers and other patients who have the same symptoms, transferring data from wearable devices, receiving educational materials and care plans which are tailored to fit individual patients. Gaining instant access to their health data anywhere, anytime without worrying about the data loss can save patients’ time, effort and money while easily keeping track of their health. Faster registration process by presenting their Patientory account at the point of the register to any care units in Patientory network is another advantage for being a Patientory user.
Peter: How will Patientory benefit the doctors too?
Chrissa: Ever since the U.S healthcare system is shifting from fee-for-service- to value-based model, more responsibility is put on doctors’ shoulders. Now, they are evaluated and getting paid based on the outcome of their services. Patientory allows doctors to have access to patient’s data from the past to up-to-date and see all the medical tests their patients had from different hospitals and clinics including out-state in just one application. This gives doctors the idea of the whole picture of patient data history, which leads to more accurate diagnosis and best treatments to their patients. Besides, Patientory created a user-friendly tool that allows doctors to communicate and follow-up with patients after they were discharged. This will lessen doctors’ burden, increase the quality of care and avoid penalties for not meeting the new health systems’ criteria.
Peter: From a technology point of view, what makes Patientory stand out?
Chrissa: Patientory is the very first leader in the trend of utilizing the Cybersecurity Blockchain technology in the HIPAA compliant mobile health app. It functions like a drop-box in which patients’ data is securely stored in distributed nodes of care organizations and protected under multiple layers (presentation, middleware, data layer, and schema). Smart contracts and ledgers in the second and third layers make each data block transparent and impossible for hackers to alter.
Peter: Tell us more about the Patientory App. When did it become available, it’s main purpose and functions, and how it’s doing it terms of downloads and adoption?
Chrissa: The Patientory App was first available on the Apple Store in Summer 2018 through our private beta testing. We just launched our Android version in September 2019 in another private beta testing; both of them are still private for thoroughly testing purposes.
Its main purpose is to empower people to take charge of their health. The app allows users to integrate data from their wearable devices into one place and calculate their health score based on an algorithm, gives users an overall idea where they are right now and what actions they need to take to pursue better health. Users can easily manage all their medical records and share it with anyone with agreed authorization under smart contracts and HIPPA compliance. We create a secure platform for patients, and their doctors can directly communicate with each other effectively in a convenient way and take actionable insights towards improved health outcomes.
Peter: In your opinion, why is it so difficult to ensure that healthcare systems have modern, efficient management of data?
Chrissa: I think because our healthcare systems have not stabilized after the transition from paper-based to electronic-based yet. There are too many E.H.R software available in the health market. As a consequence, our health data has an inconsistent format which is quite a challenge to manage with such a tremendous amount of data. Plus, hospitals are still adapting themselves to stage 3 of Meaningful use. The expense can be one big factor that blocks small and mid-sized hospitals from investing in a new data management system.
Peter: Tell us about your PTOY cryptocurrency and its purpose? The market capitalization, as represented by the PTOY cryptocurrency, was nearing 50 million at one point. Currently, it’s under 1.5 million. Can you tell us a little more about what’s happening there with the fluctuations and when or under what circumstances you think the price of PTOY will make a recovery?
Chrissa: PTOY is Patientory’s tradable ERC20 token. It allows patients to purchase storage for their medical data, and to pay medical providers for their services – thus shrinking the opportunity for healthcare payment fraud.
We are an independent cryptocurrency. Currently, our product is still in private mode, so it is not available to the public, yet it also dictates current adoption of the technology. I think when more people start using our network and product, which is built on the network, we will see more adoption of the currency.
Peter: What’s the one biggest thing people don’t know about the Patientory Association that you wish they did?
Chrissa: I wish they knew that we have a partnership with Dubai Smart City / World Trade Center to establish our BlockHealth Summit at the 2020 Future Blockchain Summit. The reason we target Dubai is that it initiated a government mandate to be on blockchain by 2021, and will be the world’s blockchain capital. I hope people will take advantage of this opportunity.
Peter: What has surprised you most about your journey with the Patientory Association?
Chrissa: The amount of education that needs to be done, especially, at high level C-suite healthcare organizations. Still, the blockchain technology is so new and so transformative which takes a heavy lift in seeing change. To get people understanding the whole blockchain network is not an easy task, but it is a requirement before asking them to join or invest in the network. I am glad that more people are getting familiar with the technology now thanks to the effort of the Blockchain community in Atlanta.
Peter: Tell me about the future? What does the Patientory Association look like 5 or 10 years from now?
Chrissa: In 5-10 years from now, the Patientory Association will be the epitome of a global healthcare ecosystem in which a collaborative healthcare environment was created to benefit individuals overall but seeing a combination of healthcare organizations and entities coming together to push healthcare delivery further. The seamless interoperability data system in healthcare will no longer be a far future with our association.
Peter: This is not directly related to the Patientory Association, but we should all be thinking of this. How can we save the earth, this world and humanity? Name one person, company or organization you feel is really having an impact in this area and why?
Chrissa: The Earth, this world, and humanity can be saved by reducing, reusing and recycling. For instance, people can reduce their trash into the landfill by using reusable bags or glass containers instead of plastic bags when shopping, recycle used papers and old clothing, conserve electricity and water when they can, only buy environment friendly products, use public commute or drive bikes to reduce the air pollution, shop for sustainable items and plant more trees. Educating people on the significance of protecting our environment and what they can do to make small changes with great impact is key to saving our world.
Elon Musk, an environment activist, a CEO, an entrepreneur, has a great impact in the area. His disruptive technologies launched over the years consider its impact on earth, creating healthier communities. He focuses on producing a product that is energy efficient, environment friendly, and sustainable technology (example: Telsa) while others only care about their profit. Just a few days ago, he donated 1 million dollars on trees to support a Youtuber who’s currently campaigning for climate change fundraising.
Peter: Can you tell us about yourself that our audience probably doesn’t know?
Chrissa: I went to Bronx High School of Science which has the most Nobel Prize winners for a high school. It is a competitive school that accepts less than 3% of over 12,000 8th grade applicants that take an exam for entrance.
I started out doing bimolecular research in high school and won one of New York City’s top science awards which sparked my interest in the healthcare industry. And yes, the reason I became a business woman in Tech instead of a researcher was because research requires a lot of time and human resources, but the impact on society is not as big as utilizing technology. And what I want to do is directly impact people’s lives through innovative technology in healthcare.