The World’s First Medical Instrument Powered By The Blockchain

We are still aspiring towards a future where all systems controlling digital health data will be able to communicate with each other, with the ultimate goal being to improve patient care, reduce medical errors and lower costs.


Coinist was recently fortunate enough to chat with the team behind Bowhead Health, a project which can be found in our ICO calendar in the health and wellness ICO category. The project aims to offer the first medical instrument powered by blockchain technology. It’s an incredibly exciting project and we’re excited to share the interview with you below. However, before we jump in, take a moment and watch the short explainer video below.

First off, congratulations on your project. Your initiative is bold to put is lightly. Essentially, you’re seeking to build the healthcare platform for the future. Which, of course, is no small undertaking. Let’s begin by giving our readers a quick summary of what Bowhead Health does. Explain to us, using a real world example, the steps a user goes through to use a Bowhead Health machine.

Thank you so much. Our project is very ambitious, yes, and we’re incredibly grateful to our partners and collaborators, particularly our device and diagnostic cartridge manufacturing partners who have the expertise, infrastructure and resources in place to help us bring our bold vision to reality.

Happy to walk you through a user’s journey using a Bowhead device: User X downloads our mobile app and is prompted to create an account with us. She fills out a survey to share health and medical history and lifestyle information and is introduced to the app’s gamified daily health tracker where User X will obtain points through tokens in exchange for daily tracking of digestion, sleep, food and fitness. After some days of incentivized health tracking, User X hears from a Bowhead qualified medical practitioner on the app with recommendations based on her inputs.

She is recommended a vitamin D test and is instructed on how to place a sample of blood (via blood prick) into a cartridge that came with her device. She is instructed to place the cartridge into the Bowhead device where an optical engine will read the sample through a colorimetric reaction with results sent to a Bowhead medical practitioner for review and interpretation.

Within 24 hours User X receives personalized recommendations on the app based on her quantitative and qualitative data, illustrated in a clear and concise manner. Based on the recommendations, she orders a few different selections of supplements and vitamins, including a 60-day supply of Bowhead vegan vitamin D3 supplements and is sent detailed information on dosing, frequency of use, potential interactions with other supplements and medications and education on the role of these critical nutrients in the body. She is also referred to recipes and other lifestyle suggestions and tips based on her unique needs and data. When her supplements arrive in the mail, she is instructed on how to place the tamper proof and humidity-resistant supplement cartridges into the device.

She continues with her incentivized daily health tracking and is able to use the tokens she receives to purchase future Bowhead services. User X’s anonymous health data is stored in a private key in her Bowhead wallet, fully encrypted and controlled by her. She is the sole owner of her health data and can decide who to share her information with using public keys. User X’s health status will be updated and monitored on the app, based on her daily health tracking, follow up surveys and adherence to her prescription. In a month’s time she will be prompted to repeat the vitamin D test.

You mentioned two major problems that Bowhead Health aims to solve. First, that we need access to personalized health care we are not currently receiving that. And secondly, that large companies control our private healthcare data. Tell us how Bowhead Health solves these two problems.

Bowhead intends to solve the first problem through our patent-pending diagnostic and dispensing device. Our platform’s medical practitioners will be able to make recommendations to Bowhead customers using data from qualitative surveys on our app and from our point of care tests that will measure blood and saliva levels of critical hormones and vitamins. Users will be able to share the data from these tests with their primary care physicians and other healthcare practitioners to ensure future recommendations and diagnoses are made according to their unique needs.

To address the second problem, we are using Blockchain technology to create a decentralized infrastructure for patient data, where users are fully in control of their personal health data through multi-signature wallets and can share data with practitioners and research institutions using public keys. This model guarantees data security in addition to interoperability, keeping middlemen out of the equation.

One thing that really jumped out at me about your project was the use case for Interoperability (the cross communication of systems). On your website you mention that Blockchain technology gives users the ability to have their health records updated across different platforms, systems and services. While interoperability exists in many blockchain projects (due the nature of the technology), in the medical industry this feature is of paramount importance and helps us solve a major real world medical problem; The inability for cross system, cross hospital, cross border communication. But with your system, the results from saliva sample I took 5 years ago in New York will show up when I need to show a doctor in Madrid 5 yeas from now. Can you talk more about how interoperability is built in your platform and specifically provide some real world examples of how this feature will benefit your users.

We are still aspiring towards a future where all systems controlling digital health data will be able to communicate with each other, with the ultimate goal being to improve patient care, reduce medical errors and lower costs. While global adoption of health data interoperability is not yet here, interoperability will be a part of our platform using smart contracts between patients and stakeholders (clinics, hospitals, research institutions, governments, connected digital health devices).

In our model, patients maintain 100% control over digital health data via their private key in their Bowhead wallet, similar to how they would manage their own finances on the blockchain. They can use public keys to share parts of their data with various stakeholders, and assign timelines associated with those keys.

In this way Canadian User X can share her vitamin D data with her nutritionist and health coach without sharing her genetic data. She might want to share her genetic data with a research institution, however, in exchange for payment. In this case she would assign her genetic data to that specific institution through a public key in her wallet. When User X travels to Madrid and seeks emergency medical care, she can give permission through a public key to the doctor in Madrid to access her medical history. When she returns to Canada she can revoke access, as needed. In this way User X can control who views her data and how much of her data is shared.

Are you planning on integrating your project into existing hospitals? If so, what are the biggest challenges to integrating into the current healthcare system?

We will start by developing a proof of concept for the integration of our Bowhead solution with one hospital and from there identifying key learnings and implementation considerations across various areas, including governance, organization, technology, interoperability, deployment options and risk and mitigation strategies.

You also bring up the possibility of Kiosks which can connect people to their health history and provide real time assistance. In your whitepaper you gave a great example of how a worker in Nigeria could use a Bowhead Health Kiosk. Are health Kiosks a major focus for your team right now?

We envision solar powered Bowhead kiosks in rural geographies in the developing world where access to medical diagnosis of malaria and tuberculosis and related services might not be accessible. In this case, a blockchain-powered diagnostic kiosk could be utilized by an entire community through private keys to reduce costs and long wait and travel times.

Right now we are focusing on our consumer prototype that users will purchase for their home or office. We have, however, identified a potential kiosk partner and are beginning the development of malaria and tuberculosis diagnostic cartridges. In 2018 we aim to expand on our kiosk plan.

Another thing which really jumped out at me about your project was how you’re planning to bridge the gap between internet technology and blockchain technology. On your website you say “the Bowhead device is connected to the internet and can monitor the health of individuals at home and can also be a resource used by healthcare professionals to provide timely advice to people in need of health attention and direction”. Has the process bridging internet technology with blockchain technology been difficult? There are more internet developers than there are blockchain developers. Have you found it difficult to find the talent to complete these technological tasks? Is it something you’ve actively starting working on? What are your biggest challenges on this front?

Yes this is something that we have started working on. Bowhead has found that many of the fullstack developers can get up to speed rather quickly on developing for the blockchain. There is a great community around blockchain developers and it is growing quickly. The one challenge to be mindful of is that the planning and testing cycles take longer.

You mentioned that users have the ability to control their privacy settings. From a technological standpoint how are you making this work? Is your blockchain private? Public? Pseudo-private?

As mentioned earlier all patients and customers will have their own Bowhead wallet which will hold their encrypted data within a private key which only they have access to and have the power to decrypt. On an as needed basis, patients can share relevant data with expiry dates with various stakeholders (doctors, nutritionists, research institutions) via public keys.

Users of Bowhead Health can also get paid for sharing anonymous health data. This is a very cutting edge feature of your platform. Users get the opportunity to decide whether they want to lease their anonymous health data to research institutions. This process would be executed through the use of smart contracts. As you point out in your whitepaper, research in healthcare is a multi-billion dollar industry. Therefore you’ve incentivized the sharing of anonymized data by giving users 70% of the funds paid by researchers. The other 30% goes to Bowhead tokenholders. Can you explain the logic of the 70/30 split?

We didn’t want to reinvent the wheel and found that many great ecosystems where there are buyers and sellers have a 70/30 split. For example, Apple’s app store.

Also you mentioned smart contracts. Tell me what role Ethereum plays in your project.

The blockchain we’re developing will be a clone of Ethereum.

Tell me what role Waves plays in your project?

We are using Waves exchange to distribute our AHT because Bowhead token holders will be able to trade tokens from day 1 of issuance on this platform.

In your Q&A you are asked why you use blockchain for your project and not just a good centralized architecture. To answer this question you state that “We believe in a hybrid model of architecture with a few managed Bowhead nodes for speed but existing within a decentralized system that is founded on the zero trust model where patients can control their own data”. Can you tell me more about the “managed Bowhead nodes”. What is their purpose? How do they work?

The managed Bowhead nodes will be HIPAA compliant nodes hosted on Amazon Web Services that will be used in case we need to communicate with a legacy hospital system. The data on these nodes will still be completely encrypted and the data will only be viewable by the user with a private key or those who have been authorized to view patient data with a public key.

Let’s switch gears now and chat about your Initial Coin Offering (ICO). It seems to be going very well so far. You’ve already sold over a million tokens priced between .25 cents – .45 cents. What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced after launching your ICO?

Because of the skepticism floating around the blockchain and ICO community due to recent attacks, credibility means everything. One of the biggest challenges we’ve faced is simply staying on top of every question, concern or bit of feedback from the community, which is a 24/7 job.

From an ICO marketing standpoint, what have been some of the most successful strategies you’ve used to date?

Here’s a list of our most successful strategies to date:
Working with experienced community managers to answer and filter questions in our various channels
Short animated videos describing key features of our ICO
Youtube interviews with crypto influencers
Youtube advertisements

Thank you greatly for taking the time to chat with us today! To our readers, if you’re interested in learning more about bowhead Health you can visit their website here:

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