The Diary Corporation, a new, multinational developer, seeks to bridge the data gap for patients.
Innovation takes time
When Frenchman Comte Mede de Sivrac created the first bicycle-like invention in 1790, for example, it had wooden wheels, with no pedals or steering. It took six significant prototypes, by different inventors, and 120 years for inventors to design and build the modern bicycle.
I imagine de Sivrac sitting at a wooden table, drawing prototypes in the evening by candlelight on a hunch that there might be a faster (and fun) way for humans to get from one place to another. His neighbors must have thought him a crazy fool, tinkering his time away. De Sirvac’s invention, the Celerifere, was an important turning point in human transportation. It was an innovative bridge that propelled us forward to the modern bicycle.
Innovators are bridge builders
I believe we’re at a similar turning point in healthcare today. Innovators are bridging the gaps in access to care. They are taking risks as they create new ways to promote healthy lifestyles. They are building bridges, one plank of hope at a time, to cure diseases and save millions of lives.
This idea of bridge building came up during my interview last week with Kirk Saunders, Chairman of the Board of The Diary Corporation. The Diary Corporation is developing a software-as-a-service (SAAS) solution that gives users a way to consolidate, and take private property ownership of, their medical records and other health data in one location. Saunders described the product as a bridge to interoperability.
The problem we have to solve today is trying to get our medical records in a single location. I’ve gone out to get my health information from my providers and about 80% of it is still in paper form.
The Lifetime Health Diary™
First conceived by Dr. Atsushi Matsunaga, the 36th generational owner of a 700-year-old medical clinic in Osaka, Japan, the Lifetime Health Diary was a solution to a growing problem Matsunaga found in his practice.
For 600 years, Matsunaga's family knew everything there was to know about their patients: their medical history, their activity levels, and their stressors. But today, with more mobility and an increasingly fragmented market for medicine, reimbursements and the pressure to see more patients—faster—Matsunaga was left with about 6 minutes for each patient. For most patients, that’s not even enough time to discuss their medical history and ask about health changes since their last visit.
Matsunaga dreamed of a web page that would tell him everything he needs to know about his patients in 2 minutes, which would leave 4 minutes for the exam and diagnosis.
“Our dream,” Saunders told me, “and we’re talking 10 years from now, is we’d like this to be a repository that holds all the data from any source…genetics, lifestyle, clinical, psycho-social—any sort of data that can be meaningful.”
New Zealand native Hamish MacDonald, CEO and founder of Lifetime Health Diary, met Matsunaga while studying martial arts in Japan. Intrigued by Matsunaga’s idea, MacDonald returned to New Zealand to build the SAAS solution, which began its soft launch in April.
A learning launch
The Diary Corporation has recently soft-launched the Lifetime Health Diary™, and hopes to enroll 200-300 founding members before launching to the general public. The members receive the services at half-price. Saunders tells me they are “learning a lot and stress-testing the software platform,” and have planned a hard launch sometime in July. Right now, according to Saunders,
the goal is to try to get all the medical records in one place and then we’ll be layering on additional features. We may be at that tipping point, where for the first time in history there’s the perfect storm of need and understanding and availability of the value and cost of getting the data.
With its subscription model and patient focus, the Lifetime Health Diary™ has the potential to be the bridge that helps patients understand the tangible benefits of owning their medical data, and gives them easy, searchable access to it as we await true interoperability, which could be a decade or more away.
The nuviun blog is intended to contribute to discussion and stimulate debate on important issues in global digital health. The views are solely those of the author.