Projects Serie: meet David Hawing, Pact Care CTO/ Co-founder

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On the day of the date we present a new interview to the CTO and Co-Founder of Pact Care, David Hawing.

He will tell us what this union between IOTA and the world of health is about.

Ezequiel Outon
Writer & Editor, IOTA Hispano


Leer versión en Español

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Tell us a little about your background. How is the team made up?

We have a great, international team consisting of talented and energetic individuals, each with their own unique skillsets due to their different backgrounds.André Fialho has a Ph.D. in Bioengineering from MIT / IST and was previously working for Philips Healthcare as a strategist and market analyst in population health. Chao Zhou, MD Ph.D., is a practicing physician-scientist in the Netherlands who helps to ensure that whatever is built truly provides value to the user in a safe manner. Sebastian Fuhrhop, who is a German developer experienced in eCommerce and IOTA development. Finally, myself, David Hawig, I am a German industrial engineer and self-taught coder, who worked on different healthcare related research projects as well as on start-up projects.We all met over the internet early 2017 and because of a shared vision about health data and how new technologies could increase its value, we started working in our free time on  Florence, a 24/7 available AI-powered virtual health coach. Florence is now often mentioned next to larger companies (e.g. Babylon Health or Ada Health) who are starting to make an impact on health care globally also by leveraging software and mobile technologies. Because of a conviction, we can do an even better job with the right people supporting us, we founded PACT Care.

When and how was your first approach to IOTA?

By the end of 2017, we realized the amount and extent of the problems in healthcare globally due to data being locked away in data silos. For example, almost every company that develops software, including those who develop chatbots in health care, does so with their own data storage solution. This severely impedes the transfer of information.

We have experienced first-hand, both from the patient as well as the provider’s perspective, how important timely and judicious exchange of health information is. In some cases, it saves lives, literally. So, we considered decentralization of data storage a must. We then started to explore the different options that would enable this. At that time, IOTA seemed quite promising. We know there are a lot of Ethereum based healthcare ICOs at the moment, but do users really want to pay for sending their healthcare data?

We felt that IOTA, in particular, the MAM Layer was particularly appealing because it theoretically allows an individual to store their own healthcare data without the need for a third-party. It also allows sharing of data with anyone who that individual sees fit. To ensure that all healthcare stakeholders can use this data, we will store it in a standard healthcare FHIR format. To make this possible we started to develop a Xamarin and IOTA based Chat App, the IOTA C# Port, a MAM FHIR integration code as well as a web interface and a MAM FHIR API. After all this practical experience, we are now convinced that IOTA is the right technology for us.

How did you come up with a project related to health?

Apart from the fact that healthcare is the common ground between all four of us in some way or the other, we wish to use healthcare data and IOTA for good. What is better than trying to improve the health and lives of everyone around us? Furthermore, each one of us has experienced – either in their professional or personal lives – the errors, inefficiencies, waste, and harm in healthcare, which IOTA can help address.

Could you explain what the UntangleCare project is about?

The goal of “Untangle Care” is to give people full control of their health information.

We envision a future where you as a person have easy access to all your health data and, if you see a doctor in any country in the world, you can provide him/her with all the important information about yourself, so that he/she can make the best decisions.

It’s important to note that full control about your health data means, in one hand, that there isn’t a single company in the background, which can suddenly decide that you have to pay to get access to your data. On the other hand, it also means that it should be as easy as possible for you to manage your own data.

This is where IOTA and the Florence chatbot come in. IOTA as the background layer for data management and Florence as the front end for a user-friendly engagement.

What is Florence and what do you want to achieve with it?

Florence right now is a publicly available and free to use healthcare chatbot. You can chat with Florence inside Facebook Messenger, Skype or Kik and for example, use her as a medication reminder. I started to develop Florence because I discovered during a research project that most older people have problems using a smartphone app. However, these same group is actually using the Messenger app for chatting. So why not using the conversation as an interface? We hope we can use the technology behind Florence to make the interaction with your own healthcare data as easy as possible.

In which phase of the project are they found and how long would it be available for their use?

To start making this vision possible, we have already developed:

·        Florence.chat (www.florence.chat), which consists of Medication Reminder, Health Tracker (e.g. Mood, Weight, Period), Information, Medical Triage, Location Finder, trained NLP and special software to further improve the understanding (e.g. for basic follow up questions).

·        IOTA Chat App (www.github.com/Noc2/Chiota), which consist of Xamarin Code, seed/address based NTRU encryption, an SQLite/Azure Table Storage solution for snapshots

·        IOTA C# Port (www.github.com/Felandil/tangle-.net)

Currently, we are working on the MAM FHIR integration code as well as a web interface and a MAM FHIR API.Over the coming year, we want to initiate pilots with medical institutions and medical device manufacturers. These pilots will allow us to test how our IOTA based virtual health assistant works in the real world.We aimed at having this solution widely available in about 12-18 months from now.

Are you having conversations and meeting with people from the health world? What returns are you getting from them?

We are actually talking to a lot of people from different sectors of the healthcare world at the moment (e.g. medical doctors, nurses, patients, and healthcare investors). Naturally, some are more open about our solutions others have more concerns. In general, a good thing is that there is currently a big discussion in almost every country about similar topics: healthcare data storage and sharing, patient engagement, medication adherence, and patient satisfaction.Given that our vision aligns well with these topics, our conversations usually resonate very well with the healthcare community.

How are you currently financing the development of the project? What do you think of the IOTA funding system?

We are currently bootstrapping ourselves and the development of this  distage and start making actual implementations in the real world, we need more talent to join us. And obviously, to hire talent we need the support of funding systems like the IOTA one.So far, we’ve had a great experience with the IOTA funding team. They have been very open and communicative with regards to timelines and the challenges they have faced (e.g. setting up the Foundation). We are looking forward to collaborating with them.

To go closing, are you looking for developers for your project? With whom can you contact?

Absolutely. At the moment, we are looking for talented developers with experience in C# / Xamarin and UI/UX background, but actually, anyone interested in our project can reach out to us. We are very happy to share more about what we are doing, our vision, and even if you are only available to help in your free time, we would still like to hear your ideas.

If you like what we are doing help us to continue working!
Donate: http://www.iotahispano.com/donate/

 

 

 

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