Vietnamese entrepreneur pioneers use of blockchain in the healthcare sector

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Vietnamese entrepreneur pioneers use of blockchain in the healthcare sector

Dr. Quy Vo-Reinhard is seen as the moderator of the Connect2Innovation event at the One Global Vietnam Summit, which was held in Paris, France, on November 4-5, 2021. Photo: AVSE Global

After first learning about blockchain technology seven years ago, Dr. Vo-Reinhard Quy, CEO, and co-founder of the Switzerland-based Dhealth Foundation, now believes she can take advantage of the technology in more areas.

As a pioneering entrepreneur applying blockchain technology to Vietnamese healthcare, Dr. Vo-Reinhard Quy, or Vo Cam Quy, is still looking for innovative ways to help people benefit equally, first in the healthcare system.

Success through self-study

Dr. Vo-Reinhard Quy will never forget the paper on the relationship between blockchain and privacy that a team of Massachusetts Institute Technology researchers issued in 2015. The paper was a turning point for her, opening up an alternative world of technology and a new career path. It compelled her to study blockchain technology as hard as she could.

Dr. Quy Vo-Reinhard speaks at the AsiaBerlin Summit 2021 event on October 8, 2021, in Berlin, Germany. Photo: Asia.berlin
Dr. Quy Vo-Reinhard speaks at the AsiaBerlin Summit 2021 event on October 8, 2021, in Berlin, Germany. Photo: Asia.berlin

In fact, the paper helped her figure out what path she wanted to take. She decided to quit her job to continue her studies and earn a Master of Business Administration degree at EBS Business School in Germany.

As she took her next steps, she spent all of her time studying blockchain technology. In addition to reading books, technical documentation, and attending workshops, she focused on reading white papers published by organizations and groups using the technology in their businesses.

A white paper is an informational document usually issued by a company or nonprofit organization to promote or highlight the features of a solution, product, or service it offers or plans to offer, according to the definition on the Investopedia website.

A few years ago, blockchain was still fairly new to many people, and Dr. Vo-Reinhard Quy had to learn everything she wanted to learn on her own.

“Outside your comfort zone, there are always extremely interesting and new things. Only when you dare to go out, can you get to know and enjoy them,” Quy told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

“But to do that, you definitely need to have your own goal. It’s called “WHY DO YOU DO and WHAT DO YOU DO?”

“If you know what you definitely want, you will know what you need to study and what support you need,” the businesswoman said, recalling the lessons she learned in the past six years.

The “moment of chance” came for Dr. Vo-Reinhard Quy in 2017 when she met Prof. Eberhard Scheuer, whose idea of tokenizing health data in Zurich interested her so much. After realizing that they had a lot in common when it came to using blockchain, they founded the dHealth Foundation together in Switzerland in November 2017.

Dr. Vo-Reinhard Quy’s “DHealth work” is the leading blockchain platform in healthcare, minimizing fraud risks, and improving data security and data processing efficiency. So far, dHealth Foundation has used the technological infrastructure in checking health or vaccination status, tracking COVID-19 contacts, and tracking treatment duration in a way that rewards patients.

Centralization of patients

In 2020, dHealth Foundation partnered with Hanoi Lung Hospital in the capital city of Hanoi to conduct a pilot program to apply blockchain systems in tracking treatment progress over time.

Aiming to encourage patients to adhere to treatment progress, the dHealth Foundation’s application creates a reward system.

Accordingly, pulmonary patients earn reward points when they log into the app and report their health status with specific information by filling in the required fields. Patients can exchange these points for gift vouchers, such as a health package at Hanoi Lung Hospital.

Doctors can use patients’ information to adjust the course of treatment if they deem it necessary, and the same applies to the dosage and type of medication.

Currently, the dHealth Foundation is in talks with VTS, a company belonging to Viettel Group, to develop a digital solution for a COVID-19 vaccination passport.

Quy believes in convenience for the end-users of the app, hoping to develop a module that can be integrated into an existing health application.

The dHealth Foundation has operated as a nonprofit since its inception in 2017. None of the users’ data are stored on the company’s servers.

The data relating to the app is controlled by the healthcare organization, which uses it under an agreement with patients. This is considered a distinguishing feature of dHealth Foundation that sets it apart from other companies that use Big Data.

The way the company handles patients’ data helps it meet the standards of users’ data protection rights under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

In this way, the foundation can also convince developed countries with strict rules for data protection.

A patient uses Dhealth Foundation's app at Hanoi Lung Hospital in a supplied photo
A patient uses Dhealth Foundation’s app at Hanoi Lung Hospital in a supplied photo.

Making a contribution to the home country

Although she is very busy with her business tasks, Vo-Reinhard Quy has invested a lot of time in projects that contribute to Vietnam’s prosperity and development, especially in her professional field.

She is the co-founder of V-Space Global under the AVSE Global organization, which was established in Paris, France, in 2011 with the aim of bringing together Vietnamese experts and scholars living abroad to contribute to the motherland.

Among the roughly five million Vietnamese living abroad today, there are many who want to contribute to the country but do not know how to start, Quy said. With the establishment of V-Space, Dr. Quy hopes to create a focal point for these people whose hearts always beat for their hometown.

In fact, V-Space has, not only Vietnamese members, but also many foreigners who want to support Vietnam. Dr. Quy is proud to have built V-Space into an organization that has a multi-faceted network with members in different countries around the world.

“Contributing to your hometown does not mean you have to return to Vietnam, this is especially true in our time,” Dr. Quy said.

She is a mentor for many startups in Vietnam such as Children’s Angels, DAC – a smart walking stick for the blind, and Mindfully – an app with over 300 guided meditations and courses from experts around the world.

An initiative for girls affected by COVID -19

Dr. Quy has launched an initiative called “Women Empower Women” in hopes of helping girls negatively affected by the COVID -19 pandemic. She raises money by organizing consultation meetings between a female expert and a person who wants a chance to speak with a successful and inspiring female leader from around the world. The fee of VND3 million (US$132) for these three-hour talks will be transferred to AVSE Global, which in turn will use the fund to support girls affected by the pandemic. The fund will help the girls affected by the pandemic to continue learning until they graduate from high school.

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