Dell Medical School, City of Austin, and Austin Blockchain Collective

Austin Blockchain Collective (the Collective) are making progress with Dell Medical and the City of Austin. Last month the Collective met with representatives from both organizations to put in motion a set of objectives and key results for 2HCY18. Further, as part of our objectives the Collective setup Dell Medical School Working Group to focus on 21st Century Health.

Our initial meeting was held at Dell Medical School Health Discovery Building on May 23rd, 2018. Our agenda was simple — get to know Dell Medical School and City of Austin representatives, their goals and obstacles in order to identify opportunity where we could make progress.

Our Dell Medical School Working Group is not limited to the current list of Collective companies. All Austin Blockchain Collective companies are asked to reach out to the Collective leadership if there is an interest in supporting any of our working group’s objectives and key results.

Dell Medical School and City of Austin representatives include:

Anjum Khurshid, MD PhD — Director Data Integration and Assistant Professor Population Health
Autumn Kaerwer — Program Manager, Data Integration
Kerry O’Connor — Director, Technology Innovation, City of Austin
Rick Peters, MD — Chief Technology and Innovation Officer
Ruben Rathnasingham, PhD — Assistant Dean for Health Product Innovation
Steven Andrews, PhD — Assistant Director, Data Integration

Austin Blockchain Collective members and representatives:

Alexander Antoniou — Co-Founder, Chief Medical Officer and Director of Strategy, BLOCKMEDX
Bogart “Bo” Vargas — CTO Co-Founder, BitMed
Bryan Menell — CEO, Verimos
Hector Torres — CEO and Co founder, ulaHealth
Jay Williams — Founder and CTO, Williams Technology Group
Karyl Fowler — Co-founder and CEO, Transmute Industries
Richard Hurley — Chief Business Development Officer, GovernanceChain

Pete Harris, Executive Director, Austin Blockchain Collective
Joshua Konkle, Associate Director, Austin Blockchain Collective

Much like the above list, it took us a while to make it thru introductions. One aspect of our working group that requires a bit more detail is how Anjum and Kerry are working together ahead of the Collective engagement. Anjum, and Tim Merce of Dell Medical School, covered the relationship between Dell Med, City of Austin, and Bloomberg grant — How Bitcoin technology could help Austin’s homeless.

After two hours of updates and overviews of programs ran by Kerry, Anjum, Ruben, Steve, and Autumn our working group identified a number of objectives with key results to follow.

  1. Evaluating Texas Health Catalyst RFP problem statements for blockchain application
  2. Acquiring City of Austin problem statements, e.g. homeless population health, for blockchain application
  3. HIPAA:Protected Health Information (PHI) and Blockchain, understanding the legal and technical intersection.

Ruben encouraged the Collective to review and consider how their Blockchain startup could impact the Texas Health Catalyst program at Dell Medical School. Texas Health Catalyst supports researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs in accelerating the translation of innovations to health products.

Aligned with Ruben, was Bo Vargas at, who opined during our meeting that “schools like Cornell are calling him/ asking about Blockhain for healthcare, and then how Blockchain impacts other colleges such as computer science.”

Texas Health Catalyst combines the strengths and goals of several colleges and groups within The University of Texas System — the Cockrell School of Engineering, College of Natural Sciences, College of Pharmacy and Office of Technology Commercialization at The University of Texas at Austin. The program serves in a threefold capacity: 1) identifying promising innovations, 2) offering guidance and mentoring, 3) providing milestone-based seed funding (more can be found at Texas Health Catalyst).

Texas Health Catalyst

Of interest to the Collective’s working group, is access to a list of clinical and special interest areas identified by Texas Health Catalyst. Ruben shared with the Collective Texas Health Catalyst RFP for 2017–18. Highlights from the RFP include three (3) clinical areas of focus, including: 1) Neurology and Mental Health, 2) Women’s Health, 3) and Osteoarthritis and other Muscoskelatal Conditions. Within those clinical areas, are six (6) special interest areas including 1) Devices, 2) Diagnostics, 3) Treatments, 4) Digital Apps & Monitoring, 5) Data & Health Records, 6) Care Delivery. All Collective member companies are welcome to review and submit to the RFP a Letter of Interest (LOI).

A call to action or key result for the Collective in Q3CY18 is to review the Texas Health Catalyst RFP, and identify areas where their Blockchain network/application would be an applicable. Any Collective member company may submit a letter of interest to obtain support of Texas Health Catalyst and up to $50,000 in funding*

HIPAA: Private Health Information is driving our final objective. Working with Dr. Khurshid we agreed to setup a bi-monthly engagement with a Dell Medical School project group. Our objectives are to meet bi-weekly, either virtually or face-to-face, to air questions about blockchain and HIPAA, and work to provide answers to those questions. For our part, the Collective will share those questions and answers with the Blockchain community.

We are a startup working group, and we made good progress by engaging the Collective with Dell Med and City of Austin. We did some brainstorming, and identified objectives and key results. We are awaiting guidance from the City of Austin on known problem statements to consider for Blockchain applications.

Key asks for those reading are to 1) review the Texas Health Catalyst list of opportunities for alignment with your Blockchain efforts and 2) other Collective companies should volunteer and engage with us in the Dell Medical School Working Group. Reach out to myself, or Pete Harris, or email the Collective leaders if you would like to become part of the Collective’s results oriented working group.

*Funding provided only when a member of LOI team is UT Austin faculty, including Dell Med Faculty and Affiliates.