In a world where companies like Meta, Google, and Apple collect and benefit from vast amounts of data about you, what would it be like if you were in control of your data instead? Specifically, what would it be like if you were in control of your health data? And what if you had it all in one easy to access place?
CEO and Co-Founder Ardy Arianpour came on the podcast to tell Dave Anderson how and why Seqster is giving people that kind of control over their own health data. Ardy says patient-centric data interoperability is healthcare’s biggest challenge and it’s his number one mission.
Seqster is a technology company working to break down the silos within the world of healthcare and make health data interoperability easy and universal.
Making Health Data Interoperable
Data is the gold of the twenty-first century. But interoperability of data is the moonshot. It’s not enough to collect the data, it also needs to be accessible and usable, and it turns out interoperability is hard to do. Ardy says that Seqster is the first company to make the idea work.
Dave asks why interoperability is so hard to do. It’s because lab data is different from wearable data, which is different from data from your doctor, which is different from data from your dentist, and so on. All your data needs to be extracted and keyed in such a way it can be cross referenced.
But putting it all together isn’t enough. You must also think about the patient’s experience.
How do you connect the dots quickly and how do you visualize this data?”
The data needs to be easy for both patients and providers to access and read.
What are they going to do with my data?”
You’re already giving your doctor and other providers access to your data. But you’re not really in control of it from that point on. This year, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services interoperability rules stated that every single patient must have access to their healthcare data. Seqster wants to put the patient in control.
Dave is a big fan of his fitness devices. He wanted to know how data from his wearable devices gets into the system.
Ardy says this is a perfect example of the problem Seqster faces. All these devices capture data differently. Even something as simple as an activity being called cycling in one system and biking in another system can be a problem. The terms must be lined up within the dataset.
This seems to be manageable when it comes to a small range of activities like those captured on wearables. But when you move into the medical realm, it can get very complex. For example, Vitamin K can be characterized in 40 different ways.
Dave follows up by asking what is being done with all this data? Who is using it and how?
It’s mostly clinical and decentralized trials, Ardy says. By using these data sets, both the cost and the time required to complete trials and develop new pharmaceuticals and therapies are vastly reduced.
Imagine what happens when you can collect a million patients’ data in an hour versus 18 months and then look at them all in one place? Ardy says we get more accurate information which results in better and faster development of new medicines and vaccines. Breaking down the silos that contain health data allows for a bigger picture of health for all of us.
Most people don’t think about their health until they are sick. Seqster wants to be able to show you the data so that you’ll care about your health before you’re sick.
Ardy tells his personal story and what brought him to the field of health data.
We realized health data is medicine”
With enough data, from enough patients, and with the right funding, Ardy thinks cancer is a problem we can solve. Dave wonders if health data could be like being an organ donor. Could we mark a box on a form and agree to donate our health data to science after our deaths?
Ardy returns the point that Seqster is like the chip inside your computer. It’s there to facilitate all the different uses for health data, from consumer to provider to researcher. He thinks ubiquitous access to health data will be the next big “How did we live without this?” moment. He wonders if this will be the decade for a digital health and biology revolution much like the industrial and digital revolutions.
The biggest challenge is not scale but having the right leaders and collecting data for the right use cases. There must be a business model for patients, doctors, pharmaceutical companies, and insurance if this is going to reach critical mass.
The show ends with Ardy suggesting that we can reach a more intelligent tomorrow only through collaboration. We must work together to move forward.
Listen to this episode to learn more about:
- The problems around siloed health data and his solution
- How to address privacy concerns around healthcare data
- Ardy’s personal journey that brought him to this field
- Why Big Pharma isn’t evil
- The decade of biological revolution
- The business model to make this work