Andaman7: never without my medical record (virtually) in hand

Par · 07/11/2014

Vincent Keunen is the manager of the Manex Liege-based IT service company (Belgium). For years now, both for personal and practical reasons, he has been reflecting on a project close to his heart. Now in beta phase and set to be launched early 2015, this project is the result of experience gained over the years, while working on various health-related projects and solutions (health record designed for the Newton PDA – remember the very first Apple PDA, end of the 80s ?; meXi secure medical messaging; “JaWS” prevention medical record).

Rather exotically named Andaman7 (see sidebar for definition of this unusual name), this project will allow patients to carry along, any time and any place, their medical record, to access, add to the data, share the record with whomever they want, whether it be a family member or members of the medical profession.

Andaman is the name of… a series of islands located in the Indian Ocean, south of Burma. In the eyes of Vincent Keunen, those islands appear to be a symbol: “various primitive tribes have been living on some of those islands, totally isolated from the rest of the world, well into the 40s. Somehow like the health professionals who still work in silos, handling information islands, often unwilling to share data.”

As for the number ‘7’, it is more closely related to medical matters as it alludes to the well-known HL7 standards (exchange of health, finance and administration-related data between hospital information systems).


Several reasons have lead Vincent Keunen to embark himself in this project: “over time, I realized how much medical doctors or health professionals lacked information to efficiently treat the patient they are meant to be treating.”

The fact is that going to two different hospitals or visiting a specialist is the best way for anybody to experience by himself how much data (medical examination results, medical history,…) are lacking. Quite often, time and time again, the patient also has to answer numerous questions because the needed information rests with another health professional.

Live record

Andaman7 will not only allow the patient to have the needed data in his/her possession but also to make communication between patients and health professionals more dynamic.

Especially built for mobile devices (smartphones or tablets), the solution consists of two elements. First of all, an electronic medical record system meant for the health professional who will then be able to manage all the records of his/her patients. The mobile app will be synchronized with the records he or she already keeps on his/her desktop or a remote server (open APIs will ensure compatibility with existing health applications).

From the patient’s perspective, the solution also includes a personal health record management tool. Both parts will automatically resynchronize whenever new information is created (during medical consultations, examinations, interventions…).

Vincent Keunen: “Preventing patient health data from being timely unavailable.”

This solution brings along a major advantage: medical records aren’t the sole prerogative of the health professionals anymore, exclusively stored on the doctor, specialist or hospital system. From now on the medical records will also be available in a version which the patient will carry around at all times- on his/her smartphone or tablet. For security and privacy reasons, the Andaman7 records will never be stored in the cloud.

The solution has another major characteristic: the records are being created in a collaborative (or participative) manner by all duly authorized stakeholders. “This is a crucial for he patient – or any healthy individual – to get committed into get committed in taking charge of his/her own health”, states Vincent Keunen.

Sharing the records will also be possible. Anybody who generates information meant for the records can choose to share it- or not- with whoever he/she wants. “We have devised quite a wide range of sharing policies”, stresses Vincent Keunen. In a very granular manner: for instance, every single examination result may be shared either with another person (or persons)- on an individual basis, or solely with a given medical doctor or specialist. “Each health professional will be able to decide if it is advisable to share a certain type of information with his/her colleagues or, given his/her state of mind, to convey or not the information to the patient. He/she will be able to restrict the sharing mechanism to certain types of data; for instance, sharing strictly administrative information with the secretary, purged of medical or personal details.”

In the same way, it will be possible to share either the whole medical record or specific parts of it.

Data always at hand

Vincent Keunen sees a lot of advantages in such a portable solution. “Being in possession of his/her lab results will allow a patient to ask another health professional for a second opinion. A health professional won’t be forced to send all the necessary data to a colleague or a specialist, given the fact that the patient can easily bring along his/her complete records. Any medical history will be at hand, including vaccinations, for instance. The patient will also be able to bring his/her records while on holidays abroad, which is quite useful in case of a consultation or hospitalization.” It should be noted here that Andaman7 intends to allow translation of the records in various languages.

Reliable data

Needless to say, making this kind of mobile health record available to third parties requires security measures to be taken, both at the level of the information itself and in terms of data access. A series of mechanisms have been designed, from the ground up, in the Andaman7 solution: sharing policies, data encryption (both for storage and synchronization between the doctor tablet and the patient mobile device), impossibility of modifying a registered data (even in case of erroneous coding). “The health professional will be able to invalidate the information by striking out the previous recording. The new encoding will prevail.”

All records will be kept for history and traceability reasons. Each recording or encoding includes three types of information: the information itself, the identity of the encoder, and the timestamp.

A social-oriented business model

Patients and health professionals alike will enjoy free download and usage of the Andaman7 app. Monetization will occur through a limited advertising space being flashed only on the health professional device screen. “We want the ad content – for instance, by pharmaceutical companies – to stay non intrusive, as unobtrusive as possible”, stresses Vincent Keunen. “Just a few short lines, with a dynamic link, which the professionals can freely decide to click on or not.”

Until now, he whole design and development process has been privately financed. Two full-time developers are working on the project. In order to finance Andaman7’s commercial deployment, Vincent Keunen could possibly resort to a crowdfunding campaign. “We wish to avoid having to resort to investors who would be too much financially or eager-oriented. The social inclination of our project must be upheld. As we seek financing, we hope to catch the attention of benefactors, à la Bill Gates or so. People who are looking first for a social or human return rather than a financial one…”

The Andaman7 project has been selected as one of the startup projects which will be incubated by LeanSquare [a Liège-based incubator]. When he applied for the program, Vincent Keunen’s focus wasn’t primarily on the financing potential – even though  he certainly won’t reject the opportunity. “We first and foremost entered the LeanSquare call for proposals in order to challenge ourselves. The Startup Health Check test was a good exercise. Furthermore, being coached by LeanSquare allows us to benefit from the startup momentum and to be challenged on our weaknesses. LeanSquare will also help on the promotion side. Not to forget the opportunity to get the attention of MeusInvest…”

Vincent Keunen: “We wish to avoid having to resort to investors who would be too much financially or eager-oriented. Hopefully we’ll be able to catch the attention of benefactors who are first of all looking for a social or human return.”

The Andaman7 app should be available next spring. It will first launch on the Apple iPad (the beta version is already up and running) before extending to the iPhone and the Android environment (first on Android smartphones). “We chose this order because health professionals are mainly iPad users while Android smartphones are more popular on the user side.”