Apple is making great progress giving access to their data to patients. We believe Apple is doing the right thing: no data is stored in the cloud, everything is on the patient’s mobile phone, the patient is in full control, Apple does not access the data. Apple is connecting to many hospitals via FHIR. Andaman7 has been doing exactly the same thing for 3 years. And we do it also for Android, thus covering 100% of the market. In this article, we explain the benefits of this approach and we compare what Andaman7 offers in addition to what Apple is offering. We are very grateful to Apple to show the way and use their marketing power to educate the market to what is the right thing to do. Andaman7 want to contribute, in our modest way. We are a “patients for patients project”. We are not in a competition, we are about helping all patients live a better life.
Our vision is the 25th article of the universal declaration of human rights: Everyone has a right to good health and well being for himself and his family.
Andaman is about :
The app is free to all individuals. The company makes money on hospital integration projects and clinical research - always with the patient consent.
Very good news for patients and the health sector in general ! In the fall, Apple will open its Health Records platform to developers and researchers around the world. This is great news for patients who can now have more of their health data on their iPhone from over 500 hospitals and clinics using their favorite trusted health apps! But the Cupertino giant is not the only innovation of its kind. The portable health dossier devised by the Belgian startup, Andaman7 also aims to empower patients. The application shares more than one common point with Apple but is also distinguished by a few specific strengths!
It is now possible to manage your health data with a simple smartphone! After banking, leisure, mobility, and shopping, the arrival of mobile health applications and platforms announces a true medical revolution which benefits the patient above all. The ICT giants are starting to understand the importance of this innovation and earlier this year, Apple included a new feature on its iPhones called Health Records. This allows patients in more than 500 US hospitals and clinics to have a view of their medical information from these institutions using only their iPhone. More recently, Apple announced plans to open the Health Records application to developers and researchers around the world, laying the foundation for an ecosystem of applications that use health record data to better manage treatments, nutritional plans, disease diagnostics, and much more.
Andaman7 and Apple: united by the same philosophy
"This is great news for patients," says Vincent Keunen, a patient himself and CEO of the rising Andaman7 startup behind the innovative mobile applications and peer-to-peer platform available since 2014. "We are pleased to see that a company like Apple shares with us the same philosophy of giving patients access to all of their medical data in an effort to empower them. The ultimate goal of our project is to contribute to the good health of every human being. So we do not really see ourselves as competitors of Apple, but rather as complementary players, having the same calling to help patients," says Vincent.
In fact, high-level contacts have already been established between the Belgian-American startup and Cupertino. This is proof of the interest of the big tech companies including GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon) for the Andaman7 solution.
Andaman7 and Apple's Health Records do not just embrace the same overall health approach. The two digital solutions also share many other common features. For example, with regard to data security, which is the source of many fears. "At Andaman7, like at Apple, patients' medical data is not stored on any server, only on their smartphones. There is, therefore, a much reduced risk that they will be used or processed without the explicit agreement of the users. Patients privacy is also respected in the sense that it is the patients and only them who decide what is done with their medical data.” The excellent work done by Apple is also accessible to other applications, including Andaman7. But on top of that, Andaman7 has also access to other sources of health data like connected devices, questionnaires (for PRO or Patient Reported Outcomes), etc. Andaman7 is also able to host data from hospitals outside the US, even if they do not yet support the FHIR interfaces on which Apple is based.
Andaman7: its specific assets
Beyond what Apple offers, Andaman7 explicitly provides the possibility for users to share their medical information (using a secure peer-to-peer system) with a Circle Of Trust™: relatives (parents, children...) or healthcare professionals equipped with Andaman7 (free) or compatible software. "In all modesty, this is a big advantage our platform has over Apple’s Health Records," says Vincent Keunen. Unlike Health Records, Andaman7 doesn’t just evolve within Apple's iOS ecosystem but is also available on Android, which covers some 80% of the smartphone market. Andaman7 can also be installed on tablets, unlike its Apple alter ego. "In some circumstances, especially with older users, the larger screen size is more convenient to use as it allows users to better visualize their medical documents," says the founder of the Belgian startup. While Apple Health Records is only for the medical data of the iPhone owner (single user usage), Andaman7 makes it possible to manage several health records (your children data, your senior parents, carers of patients with a mental handicap...).
Also for health professionals
As a platform of exchange between all actors in the health ecosystem, Andaman7 is not limited to the patient only. From the beginning, it has been accessible to all health professionals. This includes doctors of course, but also home nurses, physiotherapists, dentists, pharmacists, osteopaths, and midwives among others. And here again, the app is free to all individuals as part of the company’s social goal (the company makes money on hospital integration projects and clinical research - always with the patient consent). The application also allows all health actors to set up joint and multidisciplinary care, for the benefit of the patient.
A list of additional services, open to third parties, will also be available on the Andaman7 platform. "I am thinking in particular about the Polish startup, Consonance, which offers a scientifically validated evaluation of cardiovascular risk based on some anonymized data from the patients files," says Vincent Keunen. "Patients could request this risk evaluation, directly from within Andaman7, after sharing an anonymous copy of (only) the data needed by the algorithm. A report will be generated by Consonance and sent back to the patients, securely, directly into their health record. And the patients may, if desired, share it further with their doctor. We are moving into a new form of prevention and medical collaboration between patients and physicians thanks to these types of services. It's a big progress! As such, Andaman7 is not only for patients but also for healthy people that want to stay healthy." Vincent Keunen also invites companies offering such "health services” to contact Andaman7 to offer their services via the platform.
Market Research Facilities
Other services are already available on the platform, such as the possibility for patients to contribute to medical research by participating in clinical studies organized by hospitals or research centers such as the EORTC in the field of cancer. "Forms are sent to patients who have agreed to participate in the study. The collected data is first anonymized on our platform before being sent for clinical analysis. This process offers a lot of advantages. With this 'paper free' system, data analysis takes place much faster and patients are no longer required to travel. Everything is done from the smartphone! We are entering an era of virtual clinical trials (also known as “siteless trials”) and virtual cohorts. And even if pharma companies only have anonymous data, Andaman7 can offer longitudinal studies through pseudonymisation techniques." says the CEO of Andaman7. No doubt, in terms of shared and connected health, the Belgian platform does its job of pushing the innovation to new heights!