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Apierion holds promise for next-gen healthcare services

Michael Dershem, CEO of Apierion (Photograph by Duncan Hall)

As the island moves towards sweeping changes in healthcare, a digital product developed for the Bermuda Health Council may be used as a model for the world by the local company that developed it.

The five-year-old healthcare technology company is seeking to deliver a product that could house a digital medical history for patients, as it expands its remit both geographically and in terms of the solutions it provides.

MAPay was set up on-island as a payment portal for use by healthcare providers, the patients they treat and healthcare insurers. It is now also into digital identification and digital frameworks.

On its fifth anniversary last month, it rebranded to Apierion, Greek for “everything’s possible”, and now continues to increase staff on its Bermuda platform.

CEO Michael Dershem said: “Payment is still one of our silos of services, but the whole area of digital identification, and digital frameworks, means we have moved well beyond payment.

“We were a payment company that played with digital IDs. But now we are more about digital identification and data integrity as well as payments.”

“We analyse trends, customer feedback, or unmet needs to guide product development. The focus is on creating solutions that address specific problems or desires expressed by the market.”

Mr Dershem said the Bermuda Health Council is using an app developed by Apierion for the digital licensing of healthcare providers on the island. The app creates a digital identity, called a professional digital twin, for each provider that rides on the blockchain.

“We want to use that app as a showcase to take to other countries.”

The company plans to introduce a cross-border payment facility that would benefit both public and private sector healthcare providers, as well as insurers.

Apierion has also created a minimum viable product called a digital medical twin. It also rides on a blockchain in Bermuda, and is designed to include a wide variety of data for each patient — including hospital records and other clinical information as well as social determinants of health including environmental factors such as where a person lives and the pollution count in that location.

It creates a digital medical archive for each individual, and the technology will also facilitate payments for services in fiat currency as well as cryptocurrency.

Mr Dershem said: “None of that medical information is available to you now. You have more information about your Amazon purchases. That’s why we created it.”

He said the roadblocks in the way of sharing of such medical information on a blockchain is more of a business and regulatory issue than it is a technology challenge.

“Data is walled off and that does not allow the free flow of patient-centric data.

“Let’s say I moved from St Kitts to Nevis. I move, my furniture moves, but my healthcare data does not move. It’s a problem.”

Mr Dershem said Apierion has agreements in place with three states in India to provide digital medical twin technology for the more than 150 million people that live in those locales. That, and other global applications, will be built on the Avalanche blockchain.

He said: “None of that would be possible had we not started in Bermuda.”

Mr Dershem, 60, is based in Apierion’s office in Voorhees, New Jersey, but visits the island quarterly. The company also has offices in India and Namibia.

It has a team of 25, including one part-time employee in Bermuda who handles account management and business development.

Mr Dershem said Apierion is looking for additional full-time and part-time workers in Bermuda.

“Our plan now is to build out additional human capital resources on-island, including account management, technologist and senior management. We are actively pursuing that right now.”

The Covid-19 pandemic exposed a lack of healthcare access, and healthcare inequities, pointing to a need for shared resources across national borders, with all of its jurisdictional challenges related to accreditation and licensing.

“What we want to do is work with the regulatory folks in various regions so that we can create that framework to address access and inequities.

“Sharing resources across jurisdictions is absolutely vital if we are going to look at healthcare, and the needs of Bermudians. It’s about the agility of healthcare resources.”

While on-island recently, Mr Dershem visited CariGenetics, the healthcare technology company founded by Carika Weldon, to have his DNA sequencing done.

He said Apierion’s intention is to make such healthcare data in his digital medical twin available across jurisdictional borders on a patient-permissioned basis.

Mr Dershem said: “That would show that the portability of healthcare can be done.”

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Published June 14, 2024 at 7:59 am (Updated June 14, 2024 at 7:34 am)

Apierion holds promise for next-gen healthcare services

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