Your health records in several languages? Not as easy as it sounds!

Since the creation of the project, we decided to make Andaman7 available in several languages to maximize our users’ comfort. It seems only natural to manage your health in your native language.

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But having our app available in several languages is only a small part of the solution… The complete “medical content” should also be translated … and that’s where the troubles begin.

If the medical content is codified (meaning a user cannot write whatever she wants: she has to make a choice in a list of codes), it is possible to translate it automatically. As an example, let’s take simple fields like the “gender” field: the “female” word is stored as a code, and therefore is easily and automatically translated into other languages. For other fields, it gets less obvious.

One can codify all illnesses, symptoms, medications… based on existing codification systems. It would therefore be possible for other fields to be automatically translated but this would bring up 2 main problems:

  1. There are various medical coding standards (ICD, ICPC, SNOMED, LOINC …) but none of them has been unanimously chosen (yet)…making it complicated to commit to one of them.
  2. Making a majority of fields codified means less freedom for the users and a much heavier process to input their data than “free text” fields.

Nowadays, free translation tools are widely available and make an automatic translation process possible… but far from perfect. The inaccuracies of general translation systems like “Google translate” and others quickly make you realize that in a field such as health and medicine, you just can’t risk translation misinterpretations.

So, an immediate translation of all content of our app is not something we can offer right now. However, we think this could be the case in a near future, when technology will have made sufficient progress in that field.

Meanwhile, just being able to change the language of the application and translating the codified items is already useful. If you go in a country speaking a different language, you can change the language of Andaman7 before showing your medical file to a local doctor. Even if the contents are not all translated, having fields in their own language will allow the physicians to navigate a little better and understand at least partially the content (because from one language to another, there sometimes are similarities in the technical terms being used).

Managing medical data has always been hard. And translating even harder. But we’re making progress fast. Feel free to install Andaman7 (free on AppStore and Google Play) and tell us if we are doing a good job.

Our mission is “Contribute to the good health of every human being, all over the world”.

Vincent Keunen

Patient and entrepreneur
Founder and CEO of Andaman7
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Open Letter to SAP CEO Bill McDermott : Welcome to the club :-/

Dear Mr McDermott,

I am very sorry for your recent eye accident. I just read several articles on various online publications about it. I particularly appreciate the way you manage that adverse event… “It’s important to stand back up again, if you fall down”. And you seem to wish to push SAP into more healthcare projects.  Good!

Welcome to the club, M McDermott… I am a 51 years old entrepreneur and 8 years ago, I was diagnosed with blood cancer (leukemia). And as you say: “I’m still alive.” I am very fortunate to be treated by a magical pill called Glivec, from Novartis.  The same year, 2007, my son Pierre, then 10 years old, was diagnosed with bone cancer.  Two cancers in the family, at 3 months interval.  No fun.  But he is also alive today.  He lost his leg to the cancer, but he’s still enjoying life, sports, friends… His whole story is at pierre.keunen.net

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Last year, I was fortunate enough to sell my software company Manex to Lampiris, one of the new green energy players in Belgium. Yes – we are neighbors Germany – Belgium.

So I decided last year to invest some of my money in a new, hopefully disruptive project to improve healthcare too.  Like you, when we were in hospitals for my son and I (more than one year in our case), I realized that there is still a lot of work to do to make sure doctors, patients, and all related health care practitioners have the right information at the right time – while still preserving privacy.

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So I used my expertise from 3 large scale successful projects in Belgium (in EHR and secure medical messaging) to build a new solution that I called Andaman7.  Andaman is an island that, according to wikipedia, was isolated from the rest of the world for a long time.  Pretty similar to the current medical IT situation.  And the 7 is for HL7, but also 2007…  that famous year for our family.  Andaman7, the company, is a 1 year old startup but we’ve been working for 3 years on the technology.  We just raised our first 1.3M€.

So welcome to the club!

And if you see collaboration opportunities, let’s talk.  Small can help big, big can help small.  🙂

Vincent Keunen

vincent.keunen@andaman7.com

Andaman7 – Connecting doctors and patients

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(Version française de ce texte ici)

Those who know me personally remember that 2007 was a difficult year for our family. In March, I learned that I was suffering from leukaemia (a blood cancer).  I was 43 years old. Only 3 months later, our son, Pierre, was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma (a bone cancer). He was 10 years old.

Today, years later, we are both alive and in good health. Pierre lost a leg (he was amputated below the knee) and every day I take a magic pill called Gleevec. We are, therefore, both cancer survivors. This shows how modern medicine is truly of excellent quality, and is continuing to improve quickly.

Pierre, ages 14 and 19

Before Gleevec, patients with CML like me would have a few months to 2 years life expectancy at most. So learning that diagnostic was a death sentence.  With Gleevec, the life expectancy is reverted back to normal values. Thank you Novartis!

There is a big difference between our two cancers.  Mine was very easy to cure – one pill per day, for the rest of my life – but Pierre went through 2 very difficult years of treatment, and his leg is lost forever…

Therefore, I don’t need to tell you how important it is, and how motivated I am, to contribute to medical research and help the pharmaceutical and medical devices industry work faster and cheaper. And this will be even more important for rare diseases for which the cost of development is high compared to expected revenue.  With a pill for Ewing sarcoma, my son would still have his 2 legs…

Pierre and I, family holiday, 2014

Pierre and Vincent, family holiday, 2014

There were other problems we faced too, as patients or caregivers.

During Pierre’s treatment, which involved many doctors and several hospitals, I witnessed first hand how difficult the medical information management was. Being myself a software engineer, I was particularly concerned with the lack of quality in the handling of information; I even felt a little bit responsible for it. In fact, I have participated in various large medical IT projects: secure medical messaging systems meXi and Medibridge in Belgium (15 000 physicians, hospitals, and laboratories) and a large medical / prevention records system for Idewe, managing close to 1 million workers’ health.  Despite all of this, information management in the medical world is still significantly behind.

And finally, for patients, it’s very difficult to have access to their health data.  And it is of the utmost importance. Numerous studies show that the efficacy of treatments is improved with more patient empowerment.

Therefore, I decided to contribute to these unmet needs with Andaman7.  We created a very ambitious platform to ease the communication between patients and actors of the health sector – it’s a project by patients for patients.

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We want to contribute in 3 ways:

  1. Empowering patients: every patient should have access to all their health data
  2. Helping medical research: offering PRO (Patient Reported Outcomes), RWE (Real World Evidence), questionnaires for clinical trials…
  3. Helping care actors: facilitating home care, remote monitoring of patients, etc.

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Andaman7 is first a social project: any patient can install the app today on their mobile device and start managing their health data.  The app is free and will always be. Download it from our website: https://www.andaman7.com.  It both is very safe and completely respects our privacy as patients.  No medical data is stored on the cloud, and Andaman7, the company, does not have access to your data – everything is on your smartphone.

And we want the project to be sustainable.  So we are asking for financial contributions from pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers for PRO, RWE, trials, questionnaires… and from hospitals and care actors for remote monitoring, home care,…

Vincent Keunen, Health 2.0 and TEDx conferences

If you want to participate in this (r)evolution, join us at www.andaman7.com. Install the application and tell me what you think (vincent.keunen@andaman7.com). We are open to any and all suggestions.

Thank you!

Vincent Keunen

Other links:

Post updated in December 2018.

Anti Cancer foods – Richard Beliveau

Get the book at: http://amzn.com/0771011350
En français: Les aliments contre le cancer
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Cancer prevention facts to add to your diet

  • Approximately one third of all cancers are directly related to diet.
Book: Foods that fight cancer

Book: Foods that fight cancer

  • A diet containing three or four weekly servings of broccoli, nothing too excessive, was shown to be sufficient to protect individuals from colon polyps.
  • Cruciferous vegetables (brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale) should be lightly cooked and thoroughly chewed when eaten in order to fully benefit from their anti-cancer potential. Chewing releases the active molecules.
  • Freshly crushed garlic is by far the best source of anti-cancer compounds and should be preferred over supplements.
  • The key to benefiting from the anti-cancer effects of soy lies in consuming about 50 grams per day of the whole food, such as raw (edamame) or dry roasted soybeans. Supplements containing isoflavones are not an acceptable alternative to the whole food and should be avoided.
  • Colon cancer appears to be one of the cancers on which curcumin may have the greatest positive impact. The daily addition of a teaspoon of turmeric to soups, salad dressings, or pasta dishes is a simple way of providing curcumin intake sufficient to prevent the development if cancer.
  • Green Tea contains large amounts of catechins, compounds that boast many anti-cancer properties. To maximize the preventative effects afforded by tea, select Japanese green teas, allow for an eight-to-ten minute brewing period and always drink freshly brewed tea, and avoiding Thermoses.
  • Eating cranberries should be preferred over drinking cranberry juice.
  • The best way to increase omega-3 levels in diet is to eat fatty fish (wild salmon, sardines, and mackerel) once or twice a week or add one tablespoon of freshly-milled flax seeds to your breakfast cereal.
  • Eating two tomato sauce-based meals per week may lower your risk of developing prostate cancer by up to 25%.
  • Citrus fruits are essential foods in cancer prevention: for their capacity to act directly on cancerous cells as well as their potential for enhancing the anti-cancer effects of other phytochemical compounds present in diet.
Richard Beliveau

Richard Beliveau

  • The resveratrol present in red wine possesses powerful anti-cancer activity which may be responsible for the beneficial effects of wine on the prevention of certain cancers. Grape juice and cranberry juice contains resveratrol but at levels ten times less than red wine.
  • The daily consumption of 40 grams of dark chocolate (chocolate containing 70% cocoa mass) may have definite health benefits and should replace or reduce that of sugar- and fat-filled candies with no phytochemical content.
  • Many herbs and spices used as seasonings, in particular ginger contain large quantities of molecules that act as anti-inflammatory compounds, which also reduce the risks of developing certain chronic diseases.
  • Instead of replacing butter with margarine, use olive oil as much as possible as a source of dietary fat; you will benefit from its healthful lipids knowing that it also possesses anti-cancer properties of its own.

This is just a summary.  It’s good to read the book to get a better understanding of why all these foods have an impact on cancer – when we understand better, we are more efficient at adapting our diet correctly.

PS: If you already have cancer, ask your doctor first – but make sure your doctor is open to “global therapy”, ie modern medicine + diet + alternative means.
PS2: These foods will not cure your cancer alone – modern medicine is very efficient in curing cancer (more than 50% of cancers can be cured and it’s improving); but these foods will significantly improve your chances of success.

Vincent

Can we eat to starve cancer?

There is a very interesting TED talk on how we can significantly improve cancer treatments and reduce cancer appearance “simply” by adapting our diet.  (There is a transcript in 36 languages).

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I was particularly happy to hear about all the progress around that subject as well as the numerous scientific and experimental evidence that has been built in the last few years. David Servan-Schreiber was right quite a few years in advance, so his book “Anti-cancer” remains a very good read if you are concerned – or if you wish to reduce the risk of being concerned…

I mention that book and a few others on my previous blog post “Anti-cancer tips“.

I also wrote a blog post on good books on cancer, but it’s in French.

Here is a short summary of the video if you are in a hurry;

  • Angiogenesis = proliferation of blood vessels (ex: in a woman’s uterus each month, to repare damaged tissues and… to feed cancer tumors);
  • All cancers need angiogenesis to grow;
  • There are more and more medications targeted at limiting angiogenesis, so cancer treatment is improving;
  • The author mentions cancer treatment, but also prevention… and relapse avoidance;
  • The vast majority of cancer causes are related to “environment” – and diet is a significant one:

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  • One can think about “what to remove from our diet”, but also about “what we can add to our diet” (which may be easier if you think about fruits, colored vegetables, cabbage, red wine…);
  • Some foods are very good for angiogenesis (green tea, red wine (one glass per day), strawberry,…) but combining foods helps boost their beneficial effects.

The video does not go deep into what foods are good.  For that, I refer you to Foods that fight cancer by Richard Beliveau.

Andaman7 – Lorsque médecins et patients collaborent…

(English version of this post here)

Ceux qui me connaissent à titre privé se rappellent que 2007 fut une année difficile pour notre famille. En mars, j’apprenais que j’étais atteint d’une leucémie (cancer du sang). J’avais 43 ans.  A peine 3 mois plus tard, notre fils Pierre était diagnostiqué d’un sarcome d’Ewing (cancer des os). Il avait 10 ans.

Aujourd’hui, des années plus tard, nous sommes tous les deux là et en bonne santé. Pierre a perdu une jambe (il a été amputé sous le genou) et je prends chaque jour une pilule magique: le Glivec. Nous sommes donc deux survivants du cancer.  Ce qui montre à quel point notre médecine est d’excellente qualité – et elle continue à progresser à grande vitesse.

Pierre à l’âge de 14 et 19 ans

Avant l’existence du Glivec, les patients atteints d’une leucémie comme moi (LMC) avaient une espérance de vie de quelques mois à deux ans maximum.  Depuis le Glivec, l’espérance de vie est revenue à la normale. Merci Novartis!

Cela fait donc une grande différence entre le cancer de Pierre et le mien. Ma leucémie est “facile à soigner” – une pilule par jour, pour le reste de mes jours – mais Pierre, lui, a dû passer par deux ans de traitements lourds, et sa jambe est perdue à tout jamais.

Inutile donc de vous dire à quel point je trouve essentiel de contribuer à la recherche médicale en aidant les sociétés pharmaceutiques et les fabricants d’appareils médicaux à innover plus vite et pour des coûts moindres.  Ce sera d’autant plus important pour les maladies rares, pour lesquelles le coût de la recherche est élevé comparé aux espoirs de retours financiers.  S’il existait une pilule magique pour le sarcome d’Ewing, mon fils aurait toujours ses deux jambes…

Pierre and I, family holiday, 2014

Pierre et Vincent, vacances en famille, 2014

En tant que patients ou aidants proches, nous avons aussi rencontré d’autres problèmes.

Pendant le traitement de Pierre, de nombreux médecins et hopitaux sont intervenus.  J’ai pu constater à quel point la gestion de l’information était difficile. Étant moi-même informaticien, je me sentais particulièrement concerné – et peut-être un peu responsable?  En effet, j’ai participé à divers projets d’informatique médicale d’ampleur: les messageries médicales meXi et Medibridge en Belgique (15.000 médecins, hôpitaux et laboratoires d’analyse), ainsi que le dossier médical de prévention de Idewe, gérant la santé de plus d’un million de travailleurs. Malgré cela, l’informatique du monde médical me semble significativement à la traîne.

Enfin, il reste très difficile pour les patients d’avoir accès à leurs données médicales. Or c’est un droit, mais c’est aussi très important. De nombreuses études montrent que l’efficacité des traitements est améliorée quand le patient comprend et participe.

J’ai donc décidé d’apporter ma pierre à l’édifice en démarrant un nouveau projet: Andaman7.  Il s’agit d’une ambitieuse plateforme pour faciliter l’interaction entre les patients et les acteurs du monde de la santé – c’est un projet par des patients, pour des patients.

Nous contribuons aux problèmes mentionnés plus haut de 3 manières:

  1. L’empouvoirment du patient: chaque patient doit avoir accès à toutes ses données de santé
  2. L’aide à la recherche médicale: nous offrons des outils pour les études cliniques, les études en vie réelle, des questionnaires patients,…
  3. L’aide aux acteurs de soins: nous facilitons le suivi du patient à domicile, la surveillance à distance, PREM, PROM, etc.

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Avant tout, Andaman7 est un projet social: chaque patient peut installer l’application et commencer à gérer sa santé.  L’application est gratuite et le restera toujours. Vous pouvez l’installer à partir de notre site web: https://www.andaman7.com.  Andaman7 est à la fois sûre et respecte intégralement la vie privée.  Aucune donnée médicale n’est stockée dans le cloud. La société Andaman7 n’a accès à aucune de vos données.  Toutes les données sont sur votre smartphone.

Mais nous voulons que le projet soit durable.  Pour le financer, nous demandons une contribution financière aux société pharmaceutiques et aux fabricants d’appareils médicaux afin de réaliser des enquêtes de suivi, des études cliniques, des études en vie réelle, etc.  Aux hôpitaux, nous demandons une contribution pour les projets de suivi à domicile, de télémédecine,…

Vincent Keunen, orateur aux conférences Health 2.0 et TEDx

Si vous voulez participer à cette (r)évolution, rejoignez-nous sur www.andaman7.com. Installez l’application et dites-moi ce que vous en pensez (vincent.keunen@andaman7.com).  Nous sommes ouverts à toutes les suggestions.

Merci!

Vincent Keunen

Autres liens:

Article mis à jour en décembre 2018.

Uber bravo !

First Uber experience: wow!

This is my first Über experience and I must say I’ve been *very* impressed!

I installed the app – it’s straightforward and the app is well designed and very easy to use. I entered my personal info, including PayPal and credit card payment details.

When I tried Uber, I was in Montreal – and I don’t know Montreal so finding a bus, subway or even a taxi was not obvious.  I fired up the app. It found my location (a great apartment rented via AirBNB – another great and disruptive tool which I recommend, by the way).  So I didn’t have to explain where I was… (1)

I entered my destination. Über displayed the cars in my area: there were a few. I confirmed my request. A few seconds later, it was accepted: I was informed that I would be picked up by a driver named Bolivar in 3 minutes!… (2)

On the map, I could see my driver approaching: good to stay inside while waiting (3) – Montreal is cold at this time of the year… 🙂

The car was there on time and when I opened the door, I was greeted by a warm “Good morning Vincent”!… (4) Yes, the driver knew my first name via Über… Cool! So I replied “Good morning Bolivar “… Felt almost like old friends…

I knew Bolivar was a serious driver: he was rated 4.5 stars out of a max of 5. (5)

We chatted:

  • Bolivar has been an Über driver for 3 months
  • He likes the system but there are more and more drivers so he has less business…  Market laws in effect…
  • He is also a bit frustrated because he does not know why he sometimes does not get a 5 star.  🙂
  • He also told me that, unlike taxi drivers that take “people on the street”, he only carries identified people (Uber identifies all passengers and all drivers thru email and credit card) – a much appreciated extra security for him, and for me.  (6)

It was also very clear from our discussion that Bolivar was extremely interested in my satisfaction…  (7) The number of stars I would give him was important to him.  Quite a difference with many taxi drivers that just don’t care about you because, “anyway, I won’t see that stranger anymore”.  The benefits of being evaluated and in a public and trustable system: extra motivation to do good.  And it was fair too: as a customer I would also be evaluated by my driver…  (8) So both parties do have an interest in behaving correctly, being polite, being honest.  This is the benefit of local communities where everyone knows everyone, but on a worldwide scale!  “Community of trust” has a real meaning here.

While driving, I could follow on my Uber GPS the roads that Bolivar was taking.  It felt good to know that he was taking the shortest / fastest road.  (9) With taxis, you never know what trick they will use to make the trip more expensive.  Besides my control, Uber also knows the number of kilometres and time of my ride.  So I’m pretty sure that they can make sure all drivers stay honest with a bit of statistics.

We arrived at destination.  I greeted my driver and hopped out of the car. No money involved! (10) My trip would be charged to my credit card.  No unexpected extras for you-never-what-your-taxi-driver-will-add (extra for late hour, extra for luggage, extra for blablabla…).  (11).  A few seconds later, I received all the details of the trip by email (12):

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Which makes it also easy to create a quick expense report if your company requires it – without the wait in the taxi for a driver that hates doing that.  (13) And by going to the web site, you can see all your previous trips… (14)

Update: Since that first trip with Uber, I travelled a few times more in Montreal, but also in Budapest. Always the same great experience.  And an extra benefit in Budapest: everything goes smooth even if you don’t know the local language and your driver is not too good in English! (15). Congratulations to Uber!  Keep up the good work!

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PS: I don’t want to make too big a deal of that, but in practice, Uber has completely changed the local transportation by car, and made it a much better experience.  Somehow, the world is a bit better without all those taxi problems…  Technology can indeed improve our ways of living.

(1) the numbers in parentheses in my text count the advantages of Uber over conventional taxis…  I’m aware that some mention also disadvantages but most of them are related to taxi companies loosing their privileges.  They will need to evolve.  The world is changing.  The world is improving.