San Francisco-based Akiri is a healthcare startup that leverages the blockchain to create a cloud-based, invitation-only network of trust for sharing healthcare data. Akiri recently received a $10 million investment from Health2047, which is backed by the American Medical Association (AMA). Akiri’s network, branded Akiri Switch, is their proposed solution to the medical and financial problems presently mounting in the healthcare sector due to healthcare data that remains “stuck in silos.”
Akiri Switch is a cloud-based network of trust for sharing healthcare data. The Akiri team strongly emphasizes that Akiri Switch is not a health information exchange (HIE); nor an extract-transform-load (ETL) system; nor an electronic health record (EHR). Rather, Akiri Switch is a “software-defined network (SDN) and secure routing protocol” for transmitting health, wellness and medical data. Akiri Switch never stores healthcare information, but merely transmits it from one trusted subscriber to another, using blockchain technology for secure transmission. The Akiri team argues that their network has built-in support for a wide range of features that are essential to a robust, efficient trust network. These features span security and compliance; identification and authentication; and analytics and application support. According to the Akiri team, the Akiri Switch network is vendor-neutral and has the flexibility to transmit healthcare data between healthcare companies with entirely disparate database systems or “silos.”
To illustrate the scope of their solution, the Akiri team maintains that their trust network offers something for all of the key participants in the modern healthcare ecosystem: patients will have greater peace of mind knowing their healthcare data is transmitted securely through a network of trusted partners; physicians will achieve greater access to secure, trusted healthcare data; providers will benefit from a greatly simplified and streamlined IT infrastructure; payers will enjoy reduced IT development costs; pharmaceutical companies will find it easier to comply with regulatory controls; and developers will have the opportunity to leverage Akiri’s open development platform to build transformative healthcare solutions.
Akiri Switch is available by invitation as a subscriber-based service. Akiri Switch’s first subscriber is the AMA, the largest physician association in the U.S. with over 200,000 members. CEO of the AMA Dr. James L. Madera maintains that the present data liquidity problem, which Akiri Switch aims to help resolve, has been “one of the biggest barriers to improving the patient-physician relationship.” In addition to its first subscriber (the AMA), Akiri has also attracted its first partner-collaborator: Celgene, a leading biopharmaceutical company largely focused on cancer treatments.
The Akiri team includes talent previously from GE Healthcare, Stanford, Apple, Cisco, and other leading healthcare and IT organizations. CEO Adriaan Ligtenberg, PhD, also serves on the advisory board for Health2047. His career has encompassed IT, healthcare, and investment, often in conjunction, as he worked at Bell Labs, taught at Princeton University and founded several successful Silicon Valley startups. COO Daphne Li, MBA, is also the Business Acceleration Director at Health2047, and previously held prominent positions at Apple and ADP after receiving her MBA in Economics from Stanford. The six-person team also includes a former director of Stanford Health Care, a former President of Engineering at GE Healthcare, and a former Software Development Senior Director at the Cisco DNA Center.
Funding and mission
On January 3rd, Akiri announced a $10 million Series A investment from Health2047, which in turn received its founding investment from the AMA. Formerly Health2047 SwitchCo, Akiri is “the first spin out of Health2047.” Based in Silicon Valley, Health2047 describes itself as an “innovation enterprise.” With the help of the AMA, Health2047’s stated mission is to create systemic solutions to longstanding healthcare problems in order to bring about secure healthcare data liquidity; chronic care-focused healthcare models; “radical productivity” throughout the healthcare ecosystem; and value-based healthcare transactions.
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