One of the most exciting components of blockchain, in my opinion, is the ability to record data across multiple systems without being able to modify or change the initial entries. Trust among health care providers has been an issue for many decades. In my own experience, I have seen major initiatives in health care halted simply because hospitals don’t want to share their data (especially if they are low-performing hospitals). But what about patients? What about all of these fantastic ideas that could literally save lives if we were to just look at the data and learn from our experiences? I believe blockchain is going to create a level of trust that will benefit us as providers of care. After all, every hospital’s purpose is to put itself out of business, right?
I had the pleasure of interviewing Jide Anyigbo and Ayile’ Arnett. Jide Anyigbo is a tech-savvy pharmacist using blockchain technology to connect individual medication donors with underserved patients. Born in Nigeria, Anyigbo immigrated to the United States as a child with his family, graduated from high school in Texas and went on to earn degrees from Spring Hill College and the University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy. Since 2016, he has worked with Good Shepherd Pharmacy and RemediChain to steward the integrations of pharmacist-driven patient care and blockchain and to serve the underserved.
Ayile’ Arnett is the Founder and CEO of Communiride, LLC, a web-based platform that provides schedule management and connects the community to transportation. A native of Wisconsin, Ayile’ has spent that last 18 years working alongside innovative disruptors who have dedicated their lives to improving community outcomes in Tennessee. Having approached her sixth year in Memphis, Tennessee, Ayile’ was blessed to become a founding partner with RemediChain, LLC, a blockchain solution that addresses the financial and environmental problems of prescription waste.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you share with us the story of how you decided to pursue this career path? What lessons can others learn from your story?
Jide: While I was in pharmacy school, I recognized the incredible problems associated with prescription waste — both environmental and financial. Nationwide, more than $100 billion worth of medication is destroyed each year, while 32 million Americans report that they can’t afford their medication. Countless other medications are flushed down the toilet and into our water supply. I began working with Phil Baker at Good Shepherd Pharmacy, which utilizes a membership model and provides its members with medication at cost or free. RemediChain was a natural progression from that. We see the most vulnerable patients, those who cannot afford the lifesaving medication they need. At the same time, unused medications are being destroyed. We can change that.
Can you tell me about the most interesting projects you are working on now?
Jide: RemediChain is a technology platform that — for the first time — enables individual patients and their families to donate their unopened oral chemotherapy medications for redistribution to vulnerable patients who would not otherwise be able to afford them. Using blockchain technology provides a public, immutable record of the medication’s pedigree and track and trace data, from the individual donor to the licensed pharmacist who inspects it to the patient who receives it at no cost. We also hope to expand the platform to accept other types of medication.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful toward who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Ayile’: I have to credit Phil Baker, CEO of RemediChain. He and I met about three years ago while I was working at a hospital in Memphis. I was responsible for reducing readmissions and improving outcomes post-discharge. I came across a presentation he made to our case worker team about a free medication program he was launching. Knowing the impact that financial barriers have on the success of a patient’s care plan, I knew I had to learn more about his pharmacy. He’s been one of the most innovative people I have ever met, and the trajectory of his success is directly related to his energy and love for his community.
What are the five things that most excite you about blockchain and crypto? Why?
1. Opportunity to build trust among health care providers — One of the most exciting components of blockchain, in my opinion, is the ability to record data across multiple systems without being able to modify or change the initial entries. Trust among health care providers has been an issue for many decades. In my own experience, I have seen major initiatives in health care halted simply because hospitals don’t want to share their data (especially if they are low-performing hospitals). But what about patients? What about all of these fantastic ideas that could literally save lives if we were to just look at the data and learn from our experiences? I believe blockchain is going to create a level of trust that will benefit us as providers of care. After all, every hospital’s purpose is to put itself out of business, right?
2. Potential innovation in identity theft protection will be an exciting development in blockchain. Patient records and the misuse of insurance policy coverage will become exponentially difficult, as identity verification will be made through biometric information stored on the blockchain.
1. Health wallets: This will truly allow for a health ecosystem in which the patient owns and controls their health data.
a. Recently, there’s been movement in financial sector to invest in their own stable coins, which could be leveraged in a health wallet to incentivize health outcomes.
2. Supply chain integrity
a. Industrial IOT and mesh networking (Track and trace giant TraceLink launches a blockchain solution)
b. Blockchain can also enforce safer drug production. If errors occur, they can be caught and traced to the source. This helps prevent recalls, or at least allows manufacturers to quickly contact retailers to lessen the impact of unsafe drugs on patients’ health and businesses’ finances.
c. DSCSA serialization
d. Mediledger plug (https://www.hda.org/news/2019-03-12-five-hda-member-companies-honored-with-2019-dma)
3. Ride sharing/delivery
a. Blockchain could inject new options into that dynamic. With a distributed ledger, drivers and riders could create a more user-driven, value-oriented marketplace.
b. We are currently developing a platform called ScriptRide, which allows individuals to safely deliver medication to people who are unable to get to the pharmacy. It will work kind of like UberEATS — the delivery person won’t know what medication(s) he or she is carrying or the details of the recipient’s health status, but he or she will provide a much-needed support for the patient.
What are the five things worry you about blockchain and crypto? Why?
Ayile: For me, the idea of blockchain, was daunting. When I was first introduced to the concept, it was very overwhelming. I liken my introduction to blockchain to someone from 1950 being introduced to the credit card. The concept takes a little while to get used to.
1. I think for the health care community, the applications of blockchain may be too overwhelming, and I fear this may cause providers to look for other opportunities to manage their patient data.
2. The potential for insurance companies to more accurately adjust risk based on a patient’s health status and number of chronic diseases is particularly worrisome, specifically for patients with insurance who live in low-income communities. Should deductibles and insurance premiums increase due to the availability of more accurate information, this could create reasons not to seek treatment or to forego insurance coverage.
a. Blockchain is relatively new, and how it’s governed is still a big question mark.
a. GDPR (Right to be forgotten) is in direct contrast with the immutability provided by blockchain. It’s really uncharted territory.
a. We currently have multiple parties creating their own blockchains that do not communicate with other blockchains. If this trend continues, we will have the same silo issues that exist in current legacy systems.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share a story?
Ayile: I am blessed to be part of a team that assists community members who otherwise wouldn’t have access to live-saving chemotherapy medications. I am pleased to share, along with my colleagues, that RemediChain recently provided life-saving cancer therapy to our first patient, in Franklin, Tennessee, at no cost to her. We received the donation from a patient in Indiana, who returned the unopened medication to a pharmacy. The pharmacy tech connected with us, and we found the patient through a nurse in Nashville who was on the recipient’s treatment team. It’s truly a joy to see the difference we can make.
Jide: We facilitate donations of medication that can cost up to $45,000 for a one-month supply. This is literally life-saving for the patients who receive the medication, and it’s got benefits beyond the individual, as well. Nationwide, more than $100 billion worth of medication is destroyed each year, while 32 million Americans report that they can’t afford their medication. RemediChain is helping address the environmental and financial problems of prescription waste.
As you know, there are not a lot of people of color in the tech sector. Can you share three things you would advise other men and women of color to do in the tech space to thrive?
Ayile: Three things that I would share to others, and still fully understand the value today are:
1. Networking — You never know who you will meet at meetings, conferences and functions who will remember your passion for what you are doing. I have never been a big believer in elevator speeches. I believe when you meet someone and you have a chance to share your passion, regardless of the amount of time you have, you will capture that person’s attention and eventually, you two will connect again if it was meant to be.
2. Mentorship — Similarly, you may inadvertently interview a future mentor that could ultimately change the trajectory of your career. I met my mentor (and was later referred for a position at his hospital) by sharing my passion for providing service to the community. At the time, I didn’t realize he’d be an important person in my career, nor was my intention to network with him. I just wanted to share what I had been working toward in my previous city, and I wanted to learn how to implant myself in the Memphis ecosystem.
3. Celebrate your success! — When you’re dedicating yourself to improving the conditions around you, it’s important to create a buzz about your initiative and inspire others to join in your efforts.
Can you advise what is needed to engage more men and women of color into the blockchain industry?
Ayile: Highlighting the stories of those involved with blockchain projects is a great start! Seeing people of color in this space is very inspiring.
Jide: Educate the next generation on resources available to them as guides into the technology and blockchain sectors. A few examples are:
● Opportunity Hub, co-founded in 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia, by Rodney Sampson (https://opportunityhub.co/ohubpresentation/)
● The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is another great resource. MBDA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce that promotes the growth of minority-owned businesses through the mobilization and advancement of public and private sector programs, policy, and research. (https://www.mbda.gov/)
What is your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that had relevance to your own life?
Ayile: My favorite quote is from Billy Graham. “Take one day at a time. Today, after all, is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.”
This quote has so many applications in both my professional and personal world. I think in life, especially as entrepreneurs, we have the tendency to take ourselves too seriously. Part of growing as a person (and founder) is failing. I learned recently that failing is not necessarily a bad thing. God has so much growth left for you to discover. If you spend your time worrying about things that are out of your control, you’ll never leave room for the opportunity to learn and grow from that mistake. My mentor has always reminded me to fail forward. If you don’t take the time to understand why you failed, you’re bound to repeat that mistake.
Jide: “Ideas are cheap. Execution is everything” — Chris Sacca
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Ayile’: I believe being a part of this RemediChain project has been an amazing beginning to what could potentially be an intentional movement to improve cancer rates among vulnerable communities. There is not a vast amount of knowledge about the donation of medications, especially life-saving medications. I believe Dr. Phil Baker’s vision of accepting donated chemotherapy drugs from across the United States will spark a giving spirit in those who may hold the power to beat cancer for others who need help fighting along the way.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Jide: LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jideanyigbo
Ayile’: LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ayile-arnett-9bb499172
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
About the Author:
Tyler Gallagher is the CEO and Founder of Regal Assets, a “Bitcoin IRA” company. Regal Assets is an international alternative assets firm with offices in the United States, Canada, London and United Arab Emirates focused on helping private and institutional wealth procure alternative assets for their investment portfolios. Regal Assets is an Inc. 500 company and has been featured in many publications such as Forbes, Bloomberg, Market Watch and Reuters. With offices in multiple countries, Regal Assets is uniquely positioned as an international leader in the alternative assets industry and was awarded the first ever crypto-commodities license by the DMCC in late 2017. Regal Assets is currently the only firm in the world that holds a license to legally buy and sell cryptos within the Middle East and works closely with the DMCC to help evolve and grow the understanding and application of blockchain technology. Prior to founding Regal Assets, Tyler worked for a Microsoft startup led by legendary tech giant Karl Jacob who was an executive at Microsoft, and an original Facebook board member.