Bowhead, the first company combining medical hardware and blockchain.

It’s about time to disrupt the multibillion companies that sell and store patients data without their knowledge or approval.

The healthcare industry, ironically, is notorious for the exploitative methods whereby personal data is sold to third parties for profit. Some unsanitary facts:

  1. A growing number of companies specialize in gathering longitudinal information from hundreds of millions of hospitals’ and doctors’ records, as well as from prescription and insurance claims and laboratory tests.
  2. Other businesses are willing to pay for the insights that they can glean from such collections to guide their investments in the pharmaceutical industry, for example, or more precisely tailor an advertising campaign promoting a new drug.
  3. The dominant player in the medical-data-trading industry is IMS Health, which recorded $2.6 billion in revenue in 2014. Founded in 1954, the company was taken private in 2010 and relaunched as public in 2014. Since then, it has proved an investor favorite, with shares rising more than 50 percent above its initial price in little more than a year. At press time, IMS was a $9-billion company. Competitors include Symphony Health Solutions and smaller rivals in various countries.
  4. Three quarters of all retail pharmacies in the U.S. send some portion of their electronic records to IMS. All told, the company says it has assembled half a billion dossiers on individual patients from the U.S. to Australia.
  5. Every year, for example, Pfizer spends $12 million to buy health data from a variety of sources, including IMS, according to Marc Berger, who oversees the analysis of anonymized patient data at Pfizer. But companies engaged in the data trade tend to keep the practice below the general public’s radar.

Above is taken from report and article published by Adam Tanner on The Scientific American.

Currently, the individual has zero power in controlling the access to their medical data by commercial third parties. In 2011 a US Supreme court ruling struck down a Vermont law restricting the sale, disclosure, and use of records that revealed the prescribing practices of individual doctors, ruling that corporations’ right to free speech trumped individuals’ right to privacy.

In comes a blockchain centered solution to the problem, Bowhead (weird name). The company offers real-time biometric test in a smart dispenser, an platform and app that allows for users to submit and track their test results and receive expert health advice. Neat feautures are in the likes of, access to a community of medical/naturopathic doctors and wellness coaches, timely app notifications to stay on top of supplement/vitamin intake and last but absolutely not least, control of your own data.

It still doesnt prevent big data brokerages from lurking in the background and reaching for personal data though other channels, but Bowhead sets a precedence in giving the power back to the individual.

The question of whether or not to use individual medical data in the interest of private corporations should be up to those individuals, Tanner concluded. “If there’s a chance to advance medical science, let them make the case to we the patients. If you want to donate your data to science, that’s great, but you should have the choice. Right now, we don’t have the choice.” — Adam Tanner, Author of our bodies, our data.

As per Bowheads whitepaper: “ Bowhead envisions a decentralized Blockchain-based health data repository controlled by the patient to ensure optimal security, portability and personal benefits.”

How it works

The blockchain platform is designed a P2P network which allows for customers to anonymously submit health data and if so choosing, lease access to it and be financially rewarded with the native token. The same token can be used for purchasing medical consultation.

By connecting the data directly between the customer and buyer, it eliminates the middle man companies and consequentaly the risk of sensitive patient data leaks. What is the most appealing with this model is the power to choice. The control and benefit of the data lies in the individuals hand, not the corporations as it is now.

Users have full control of their health data. They decide if, when, where and how it can be used.
Any access or study privileges that the user has configured could also be revoked by them at any
time.

Now if a research institution or healthcare company wants to access that data they can purchase via the platform and the profits generated will be distibuted 70/30, where 70% is returned to the individuals and 30% to the Bowhead token holders. No billion dollar companies will make money off your test results. You will. If you like.

App functionalities

  • Ability to pair with the Bowhead device
    • Add/manage cryptocurrency and fiat credit cards
    • Track frequency of supplementation and medicine
    • Enable the addition of family members or roommates with different viewing settings
    • Notifications and reminders for dosing
    • Secure chat with medical or naturopathic doctors
    • One click ordering of vitamins/supplements and diagnostic tests
    • Communicate directly with chat and help topics
    • View Anonymized Patient Token offers
    • Gamified interaction to promote healthy activities throughout the week — incentivized by tokens

Potential monetary and societal gains

In the best of worlds, the platform is seamlessly deployed and user retention steadily increases. As an one and only actor in the healthcare industry actually prioritising customer privacy, anonymity and transparency, it also might set a example for other industry actors. As more people make concious choices of sharing their data with responsible and value adding networks/companies, the bad actors have no choice to recognize the crowd sentiment and align accordingly. The issue so far is that there has been no alternative. Whether Bowhead suceeds with this or another company does, it won’t be a day too soon.

Closing word on status and ICO details

40 million tokens will be released to in the crowdsale the 17th of July. The total supply is 100 mill, with 20mill going to team, 40 mill allocated for user accquisition and 40mill to the token holders. 30% of revenue generated from user leasing will be ditributed on a quartely basis to tokenholders.

The 40mill kept for user retention/accquisition are released on a decreasing schedule of issuance that follows similar Bitcoin’s decay of supply, however, using health data as the value store. Tokens can be burned by Bowhead and tokens can be sold by Bowhead at no less than 1.1X token market value.

Do keep in mind though that this is still in prototype mode and the health care industry is heavily regulated, specially in the EU/US market. It remains to be seen if Bowhead manages to receive the govermental blessing to proceed with this new system. In the whitepaper they inform: “ We understand the complexities of developing this system alongside The Health Insurance
Portability and Accountability Act or HIPAA compliance. Therefore, we will work with Medstack (a cloud-based hosting platform for Healthcare Apps), which currently has HIPPA compliant AWS (Amazon Web Services) infrastructure and roll out the entire Bowhead infrastructure gradually to remain in compliance and mitigate risks.”
They estimate a one-year waiting time for FDA approval of the bio-metric tests, but in reality it could potentially take much longer.


Pros and cons

Pro’s
-First mover advantage
-Solid, professional and accredited team with relevant skills
-In-demand product
-An actor within a booming industry with no signs for reclining (Global health supplement industry market is currently vallued at 200Billion USD)
-Privacy and transparency oriented, values increasingly demanded by customers
-Potentially profitable investment for investors as tokenholders receive 30% of generated profits within data leasing processes.
-Well developmed mobile app with fiat and cryptocurrency payment options.

Team interview

Cons

-Might take long time to realise due to legislative impediments
-Significant competition from heavy capitalized competitiors who might choose to launch similar product
- The team might not pull through and deliver as promised.

-No ready product as of yet to check out.

For those of you who want to dig in for more information there is a comprehensive whitepaper listed on bowheadhealth.com.

Disclosure: I am a part of the Bowhead bounty program and plan on potentially investing in the ICO as I see great potential for the platform.