Doctors have too little time for their patients – and the communication between doctor and patient is problematic due to the knowledge gap between layman and expert. Now a startup is developing an app to empower patients. This app will manage health data, make diagnoses understandable – and give personalized recommendations for a healthy lifestyle.
The healthcare system is in deficit and overloaded. Diseases are treated by symptom relief and suppression. The main causes of diseases, such as lifestyle and lack of health care or promotion, are not taken into account. Numerous studies show that people who eat the wrong food for years and hardly move at all have a higher risk of developing civilization diseases such as diabetes or obesity. Four hundred and twenty million people worldwide suffer from diabetes. There are hardly any countries in which the obesity rate is still below twenty per cent.
Seven Minutes per Patient
The biggest problem in the healthcare system is the lack of communication between doctor and patient, says Professor Dr. Matthias Bolz, head of the Department of Ophthalmology at the Kepler University Hospital Linz. Doctors can dedicate an average of seven minutes to each patient. However, successful therapy requires a holistic view of the patient.
His theory is also supported by the study results of WIdO, the scientific institute of the AOK: More than twenty-five per cent of patients do not actually know what to do with medical recommendations. Further studies show that only one-third of patients feel sufficiently informed. Only about fifty per cent of the medical information on diagnosis and therapy is understood correctly – half of which is forgotten after thirty minutes. (Sources: Ärzteblatt.de,Refubium – Repository of the Free University of Berlin)
More Efficient Supply Chain
Bolz is the co-founder of the Startup BlockHealth, where he works as a medical consultant together with Fabian Lichtenstein (CEO), Dipl. Ing. Dr. Michael Ring (CRO) and Netural GmbH on an app. The app is designed to make the processes along the supply chain more efficient. The focus is on cooperation between various institutions in the health care sector and doctor/patient contact.
The app is based on Big Data and artificial intelligence. Contents are medical documents and health data, medication, allergy and vaccination passports, emergency data, expert directory and individual prevention. Specific functions support the patient in handling. The data is protected against unauthorized access and changes by means of blockchain technology. The user alone decides who may see which documents.
The patient can find the appropriate experts in his vicinity via a medical register and has the possibility of taking a pre-anamnesis even before the first contact. This is a subject-specific questionnaire for information such as symptoms. Lichtenstein: “Patients are often overtaxed during the initial consultation, do not have important information at hand or do not know exactly what the doctor needs. The pre-anamnesis enables both sides to prepare for the first consultation.”
Before or during the doctor’s consultation, the patient can then release specific information to the doctor – supported by an AI-controlled interface that filters the relevant data. At the end of the conversation, the doctor has the option of activating medication and recommendations for action. These are decisive for the long-term maintenance of the quality of life, especially in the case of chronic lifestyle-related widespread diseases such as type 2 diabetes.
“Diagnoses are translated into a comprehensible, easy-to-understand language. Patients are supported in the implementation of recommendations for action such as taking medication or changing their lifestyle. This is made possible by information, reminder functions and implementation aids, such as for a diet”, Fabian Lichtenstein, Founder BlockHealth
The patient can document symptoms, subjective well-being, wounds, etc. via a diary function. As an option, the patient can receive reminders about taking medication, preventive examinations and vaccinations.
A WebApp is available to the doctor for electronic interaction with the patient. The data is processed visually and quickly conveys a holistic picture of the patient. In addition, the doctor is made aware of reciprocal effects between medications and of possible differential diagnoses. Differential diagnoses refer to illnesses with similar or almost identical symptoms that are to be considered as possible causes of complaints.
The market launch is scheduled for 2019 in Austria and Germany. The target groups are health-conscious people, patients and all physicians. Initially, however, the start-up will concentrate on private physicians in private practice.
BlockHealth appears three years after Elga, the electronic health record, which was strongly rejected by the Austrian Medical Association. The main criticism is of the technology, which offers no filter options and no automated extraction. The doctors are confronted with the entire health history of the patient. The review of all findings is mandatory – and this cannot be implemented in practice, explains Lichtenstein. BlockHealth facilitates and optimizes communication between doctor and patient. The startup aims to cooperate with the Medical Association.