Dennis Giokas, former Canada Health Infoway CTO, joins Medchart as CIO

After 14 years as the chief technology officer at the crown corporation that has been working on the implementation of Electronic Health Records with the provinces, Giokas is looking to tackle the problem from a different angle Medchart seeks to put the power of the medical chart back in the hands of the patient. Canada’s health laws already make clear that the individual owns their data and can request it from their healthcare providers at any point, but in practice that is rarely done. Medchart seeks to simplify the process. Individuals sign up and give MecChart permission to collect their information on their behalf, and Medchart pulls together the data from multiple healthcare providers into a centralized online portal that patients can visit and manage as they see fit.

But the consumer-driven approach is just one aspect to Medchart’s business. After working with Medchart founder and CEO James Bateman in his role as volunteer adviser at MaRS Discovery District, Giokas convinced him the real opportunity was in providing solutions for healthcare providers.

Medchart pivoted to a business-to-business model where Medchart would serve consumers on behalf of healthcare providers. Giokas joined to help in that mission thanks in part to a MaRS Embedded Executive Funding program. Medchart has also received support from York Region-based business incubator VentureLab Individuals can still use Medchart to compile their health records on their behalf, but now the business model is to serve as an outsourcer of managing those health records for other businesses that touch health data.

“We’re taking a pain point away from their core competency, where it’s delivering insurance or being a legal firm,” Giokas says. “We make it easier for them to deal with all the payment processing and we make it easier for the holder of the health records to release them.”

Healthcare’s data broker

The bigger promise of Medchart is to reduce the costs of administering healthcare right across the board. By digitizing the entire chain of health records exchange, there’s a few corners it can cut. For example, with authorization forms receiving electronic signatures, there’s no need to print records, fax them, or mail them. Efficiencies are just the start, with a centralized portal of health data being a prime resource for researchers looking to slice different demographics, there could be new business ventures realized soon enough. All the while, the consumer is in control of their personal information.

“The health information custodian is no longer the holder of the record, the consumer is,” Giokas says. “They can authorize that data to use at any organization or with any individual that they are inclined to share with.”

Before Giokas and Medchart can realize that analytical utopia, its undertaking a big job in wrangling all the data. Medical records are stored in a variety of formats, depending on the organization using them. Often enough Medchart is getting a PDF rendering of a piece of paper. Just having an electronic version of paper isn’t fantastic, so Medchart uses machine learning to extract the relevant information from it. The flat document is transformed into data fields that can be requested by other service providers.

Written by: Brian Jackson @ ITWorld Canada

Join the movement to improve health information exchange