Demystifying Blockchain and AI in Healthcare with Sam De Brouwer, Cofounder, COO

Improved outcomes by developing a block chain based AI platform that enables deep learning computations on a quantified biology to develop personalized health insights and predictive models

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Demystifying Blockchain and AI in Healthcare with Sam De Brouwer, Cofounder, COO

Demystifying Blockchain and AI in Healthcare with Sam De Brouwer, Cofounder, COO

Hey Outcomes Rocket friends, thanks for tuning in to the podcast once again. As a leader in health care, you have big ideas great products, a story to tell, and are looking for ways to improve your reach and scale your business. However there’s one tiny problem. Health care is tough to navigate and the typical sales cycle is low. That’s why you should consider starting your own podcast as part of your sales and marketing strategy. At the Outcomes Rocket, I’ve been able to reach thousands of people every single month that I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to reach if I had not started my podcast. Having this organic reach enables me to get the feedback necessary to create a podcast that delivers value that you are looking for. And the same thing goes if you start a podcast for what you could learn from your customers. The best thing about podcasting in healthcare is that we are currently at the ground level, meaning that the number of people in healthcare listening to podcasts is small but growing rapidly. I put together a free checklist for you to check out the steps on what it takes to create your own podcast. You could find that at Check it out today and find a new way to leverage the sales, marketing and outcomes of your business. That’s

Welcome back once again to the outcomes rocket podcast where we chat with today’s most successful and inspiring health leaders. I have an amazing guest for you today. She is an outstanding contributor to Health Care focuses on the areas of artificial intelligence and block chain. You don’t want to stick around. Her name is Sam. De Brouwer. She’s a co-founder and chief operating officer at,a block chain based AI platform that enables deep Learning computations on a quantified biology to develop personalized health insights and predictive models. She also cofounded Scanadu in 2011 where she served as V.P. of communications until 2016. They’ve got a fascinating device that has consumer facing mobile medical device that allows to read and understand outcome of a urine sample all through the mobile phone will be touching on some of her experience there. She’s been involved in that even ICO’s initial coin offerings. We’re going to dive into what this very fascinating entrepreneur and health leaders up to. But I want to do is open up the microphones who are amazing guests Sam to fill in any of the gaps of the intro that I may have missed Sam. Welcome to the podcast.

Thank you Saul, very very happy to be with you this morning and your listeners.

It’s a pleasure to have you Sam. Anything that you want to share that maybe I left that in your intro?

No I think that’s you to know is just that I’ve been just maybe that I’m being an entrepreneur in tech and science for the last 25 years. I moved to the U.S. in 2011 2012 to specifically moving to healthcare. Before that I’ve always been in the tech and science. I originally come from Europe more specifically from from France. I’m French.

Fascinating and wonderful company. That’s pretty far ahead and their health efforts so it’s always great to have the international touch on the healthcare system. And Sam it’s folks like you that that help us see things from a different light. So wondering what is it that got you into the medical sector to begin with.

Sam Yeah well that’s a that’s a great question that’s also very personal for me so I have two kids two boys and a pretty grown now but back in 2005 our youngest son has had a very severe accident.

Oh my goodness.

Very very severe brain trauma of brain injury. So he was in a coma. We spent a year in the hospital. And that was crazy. So back then we entered a journey that so many people enter. We chose we were so scared, we were powerless. We did not understand what was happening. I didn’t know anything about health care. So the machines, the result,the language and I was coming from tech and science that was was so so I felt so powerless because I had no information no data I had nothing. And so I think what happened there for years with my husband, we kind of with cope with this situation and survive by becoming very analytical about the situation. Yes. And that was that’s how it started really. And so I think you know with the rise of the smartphone then you know we were very much following what was happening. You know with sensors becoming cheaper and smaller and the rise of A.I. again. My husband Walter was also my co-founder for the last 25 years happens to have a background in artificial intelligence and so he went through the AI winter as we call it. But then he so is still the revival. So he’s coming back and it’s just connecting the dots and trying to do something that matters that can help us as a family and our son but also trying to help others and this is how it started really. And so you can see ignorance about the health care we need a lot of research. We knew a lot about the tech and the science and that’s how it all started really.

Wow. Sam thank you for sharing that very personal story. And you know the confusion, the just the helplessness that you feel when you’re there at that point whether it be you or your or your loved one in your case and you decided to take the matters in your own hands using your science background and your husband using his AI background. Here you are now ten years later founding these companies to make a difference in your life but also in the life of the people that surround you. You’ve been in this for a decade now. Sam, what would you say is a hot topic that needs to be on leaders agenda today and how are you guys approaching it?

Oh OK so a few things. Number one certainly artificial intelligence. I think that’s what is happening right now. So number one when we started the very first company, we started using a lot of machine learning. There are a lot of things that human beings cannot do and you need to augment number one with this scale problem. So there are not enough doctors that’s one so you really need. You need machine intelligence to be able to augment and capture older people who need it. But he’s also in the entire chain. There are a lot of things a processing It can be reading colors to give a result or it can be processing data to have better models. All that has to be done by machines so certainly artificial intelligence is number one on my list. I think also what is very interesting what I’m seeing right now is healthcare that we did not really see before. So we’ve been talking about big data for a very long time and we have all been focusing on data. So healthcare happens to be an industry with a ton of data. What is happening is that I think everybody has been focusing on being able to share that data which has been difficult because this is not how the healthcare systems and industry has been designed for it has not been designed for the data are to be shared so pretty hard to you know be there. However what’s happening right now is that there is not one industry on the planet that is not using artificial intelligence with the data to have better predictive models. It’s the only way and we need to have better results, to be more efficient and to survive as a business. And I’m seeing that happening right now with the health care industry so a ton of data, The AI has become much much better. We also have the possibility to work with better data, structure data. We have learned a lot from there and I see the healthcare industry suddenly really trying to have new predictive models with that data and that that’s a new element and that’s very interesting for us and it doesn’t matter if we’re talking about payers or providers or I mean everybody wants to use that data in order to have better models otherwise the data become toxic. There’s another thing that has happened recently. I’ve been working a lot in regulating environments and I kind of like that because regulation can be very difficult when you when you are an entrepreneur. However I think it can be a great source for innovation and we see that with the GDPR for example you know the new regulation coming from Euro, you that it’s affecting US companies as well because data is global you know it has no frontier. And so that the GDPR is really pushing a new competition that is key I believe true progress in healthcare is to give people the data back and I think that’s you know that idea of you know opting in consent that cannot be used anymore without people’s consent. I think that’s a great great sea change when it comes to healthcare because you see what I have learned my very very first impression when I was at the hospital with my son is that I didn’t have access to my son’s data and no one could give me access. And one thing I know as an entrepreneur. One thing I know having built companies and you know having dealing with technology all my life is that you cannot change the date of tomorrow if you don’t know the day of today. And I think it really applies for patients and consumers as well. And so I’m very hopeful because today I think that if we are able to enable people to get their data I can be able to store them themselves and play. We need to make it smarter and you know keep on collecting and understanding it better. I think this is really a way for people to be able to change that data. But first they need to be able to collect it. So artificial intelligence certainly are very very high on the list.

Sam you’ve offered some great great insight here listeners if you’re understand today’s data you’re not going to be able to change tomorrow’s data. Good friend of mine always says you got to be able to control the controllables and measure them. Sam give us a case scenario of a client or a type of customer that you work with. What problem do they present with them and how did you help them solve it?

Yes so at so we started 18 months ago. We are we are young starter and we’ve been building building building for the last 18 months. I am very lucky I have an exceptional team and very early on what we understood is that you know when it comes to artificial intelligence, everybody’s trying to change behavior or change models. It’s very important to understand that you cannot change if you cannot predict and in order to predict with the AI, you need to be able to collect the data so not real one. What our ecosystem allows people to do is simply to be able to collect all the medical data all around coming from all kind of BPIs those owns tools that we have been a lot of course medical records but also lab tests, blood test, urine test, gelati test, your environment will be expose mix, your microbiome information, your physiom, your phenom. So we have developed a system where people with their phone or their laptop can collect all that data in a very frictionless way and store it on their device on their own device that data like I’d spend before is structured so under the form of OMICS our bodies on 10 million of biomarkers and those biomarkers are structured under informal OMIC’s and so those are biological field and that structure is very good for the AI. It’s numbers, colons, rows. This is a very very good start. So that’s number one. What we’re doing right now so we are working with companies that are in these in search for new predictive models and those predictive models they can present different solutions or try to develop frameworks for it to see what AI could predict. So let me give you a few example that we are going to announce very soon by the way. So for example can an AI predict your risk for allergies, right. Can an AI predict the most optimal anti epileptic drug you take on the epilepsy problem. There are 26 anti epilepsy drugs. You can ask any neurologist, they will all tell you they were a lot of trial and error. They don’t have any model they don’t know what to give when they have patients and all of being epilepsy. They just try and see if it works. So this is not precise, right. So we also dealing with physician medicine. At the end of the day it’s a fermentations problem. Something the machine can process much better and much faster than the doctor and by enabling people to collect all their OMICS data you also have a better idea from a machine perspective and from a medical perspective the UNICity that person based on her genome or other parameters so that’s the kind of models we are talking about. This is what we are being on the platform.

That’s super fascinating Sam and gosh. I mean you put yourself in the shoes of the doctor and the patient and you’ve got 26 drug options for epilepsy. How do you make the best choice. I like to think of artificial intelligence as augmented intelligence. It’s a platform that not only clinicians could use but patients could benefit from?

Totally. So we have we will we really need everybody this is what I love about what we’ve been able to build so it’s not only patients but it’s also an end consumers, people who are just interested but also insurance companies, pharma, CROs, patients organization this is fascinating. I think that the fact that there are a few things we have done. You know I like to leverage on what the technology can offer us and there is a new technology, the blockchain it’s not new. But I mean we can build on that so we’d be building on the blockchain in the public chain, the Ethereum. And so what it allows us to do really it allows us to do three things. Number one it allows via the smartphone tracks that you can program on the blockchain. It allows to write data matching depending on the problem that is broadcast on that people called the data trial you know the question, “Can AI predict this or can AI predict that? You see the set of data that people can share with the project and that can be available for data scientists to build predictive models. So that’s that’s number one. Number two when you are a research sponsor, when you want to finance that research that as scientists you want to make sure that they reach the level of integrity in the data. You know we want to guarantee the provenance of the data which is exactly what the blockchain is doing again with a smart OnTrack because it’s coming from different plats so on the blockchain on the smartphones Ican guarantee that, so the quality of that is that the integrity of good it and guaranteed.

That’s a fascinating application of Blackchain.

Exactly. So that’s that’s very important. But I think for me one of the most important application that is very, very new and that I’m trying to explain. So thank you for giving me the floor today. That’s on track for the financial transaction. So at the end of the day what we have built is a platform where we are considering that the medical data ease has value as financial value. So what we have done is we have put a financial value on every single biomarker in your body.


Yes. And then when the data matching happens when you want to participate in the data trial as a patient or consumer and you get financially rewarded for that. Right. And that’s pretty interesting. So that’s that’s the third smartphone contract that does the financial transaction. And I find it very important for several reasons. I find it very important because I’ve always believed that people should own their data because it’s ours. And also I think people should be financially rewarded when they generate that data and that data is used in the healthcare industry because after all that data already has a financial value we know that.


The only person that has been left out of the equation is the patient which is a pity because you want that patient to be engaged to be heard. And the last thing the last thing is in the U.S., The number one reason for personal bankruptcy is medical bills. I think that the block chain and the crypto world has this great opportunity to be able to rebalanced assymetry and it has the ethos of the open source movement and the features of the free market and that’s the combination I think for healthcare. And it’s very interesting.

Folks. We’ve got Sam De Brouwer here talking about blockchain, AI. Her work at And she brought up a very important stat that two out of every three bankruptcies that happen are because of health care-related issues. So if you didn’t catch what we just talked about hit the rewind button and replay it if you want to do that anyway. I think it’s worth revisiting the value that she’s provided here and her ideas. There’s no doubt in my mind Sam, that you’ve been thinking about this for a long time and I’m very diligently.


So Sam can you give us an example of how you’ve used to improve outcomes. Specific example?

So we have very early as I said we are 18 months young startup so we have built the entire ecosystem. We have given access to our private data to about 500 people. We have a huge waiting lists all the testing went really well. We are actually pushing the public beta early summer so everybody can access. Yes. We have the IOS, via Apple and also the web up so online. It will be for screens free for people to connect at a time and place people own the data. We don’t store anything it’s on the phone. We are just an enabler. And we are about to announce our very first data . The RB has been approved and so on. So that’s very exciting. So I don’t know I don’t I can’t give you that kind of feedback. However there are a few value prob there from the patients perspective as well from the industry perspective where we see insurance is very high.

Now for sure and totally get it right. I mean you guys are early on 18 months in but creating some major traction a waiting list for people that want to get involved. And there’s no doubt that the appetite for us as leaders in health care for insights using these technologies is there. It’s exciting. So congrats on and building it to this point and are excited to see where it goes from here.

Yeah, will keep you posted Saul.

Please do, please do. And so folks you could find out more about at So Sam tell us about a time when you had a setback or failure what you learned from that moment?

So that’s hard to tell because that I had so many

If you have to pick one of the many but you feel like okay this is the one thing.

For all the founders out there entrepreneurs. I think it’s very important very early on to embrace failure and to fail fast because it will be failure. That’s a fact. So I think how they are. Me Really. And so to pick op one, they were all very learnful but one that is very very, I think timing. Don’t wait for things which is very hard in health care by the way. that’s a big dilemma, that’s a big paradox but when you are dealing with innovation, you can’t allow yourself to wait until everything is perfect. You have to iterate, you have to test, and iterate, test and iterate. And so when you know in the healthcare area arena it’s really hard because there are a lot of things where you can’t allow to make mistakes and you have to manage expectations even more than for any other software. So I mean we’re dealing with a product that is with either force you can’t have to dodge but that’s tiny very hard. And I think have made some mistakes there and I just learn from it but there were so many so it’s just it’s just really hard.

Now I get it I get it. Bottom line is just create, create, manage expectations and you’re going to fail. Right? So just get over it, get over it and keep building right. I love it. Sam what’s one of your proudest medical leadership experiences that you’ve experienced to date?

So I think for me also my first medical company, device companies is Scanadu so clearly I think, one of my proudest moment is how we have been able to innovate and comply at the same time she’s really really hard and how we’ve been able to develop that great relationship with EDI to understand what the regulator was expecting from us and what we were supposed to do and being able to build a road map together. I have been with them and it was really was really phenomenal so it’s not easy dealing with the regulator but once you get that, it’s something to be proud of because you know maintaining law complying is certainly not easy but it’s so worth it. So once we do we create such a momentum for your team for the people who support you it’s like opening a door that was not open before. So it feel special really.

For sure and I understand that you guys were finally able to get 5, 10k clearance for the product.

Yeah and so did my first company to U.S. Scanadu, just teceive it’s 5, 10k clearance for the urine test. So it’s one minute urine test, home-based. It’s fantastic so well what we’ve done is we’ve put all these CTPs on one platform for leukocyte, nutrite, glocous, ketone and protein and you just dip that puddle in the car for you at phone and you wait one minute and it’s now on your phone you take a picture of the panel and he tweaks car a change in real time between your phone and in the crowd. And it’s parameter is given you a number so you can imagine for conditions such as pre eclempsia during pregnancy. You need to test yourself sample times a week for positional diabetes. There are many things really can you can follow up. And of course it’s easy enough to hire a urine test reduce one minutes at a fraction of the cost of what the urine tests today. So I think for patients as well as for clinical research, the true application of artificial intelligence and do in terms of helping people, reducing the time, reducing the cost and of course when you’ve seen the margin for error because the machine reads numbers, alot of reading the color change only when your eyesight can be predictable. Not really quantifiable unless you go to Elaso.

Yeah that’s awesome. What happens if there is like a pink film over the camera. Are there controls that would show kind of hey the cameras now properly calibrated.

Yeah yeah they are a few mechanismand you can imagine that with the yeah that’s something also you have to do from a safety perspective. So number one the paddle has a QR code to verify the validity of the paddle because you can only use it once. If the paddle is not valid anymore you can’t accuse it so the camera mean the algorithm recognizes that is been really hard to develop that algorithm being able to performing all those looks corridors, light corridors and if there are any elements disturbing the algorithm which will tell you that you have to redo it or take a your paddle or change on time that he cannot actually. But it took a long time. Because t was so into that operating in different light corridors and having central and corrected. That’s a pretty heavy job.

Fascinating folks the products is called Scanadu. The company is called Scanadu, Sam is part of that one as well. Go to links to and Scanadu do and other things that we’ve talked about AI and block chain here. The transcript everything’s going to be shown notes. What would you say. An exciting project within is today Sam?

Oh we have a few but the first data tools are coming.

That’s amazing.

It’s just huge. So what is so exciting is the amount of people reaching out to us companies and yeah, we to know where do we sign. This exactly what we’ve been looking for. I think the 21st century there are few things we have to do differently when it comes to data when it comes to the model when it comes to the ownership when it comes to the inside so much we can do. But there’s still a lot of work but at the end if you have the right ecosystem where everybody can work together it’s an extra layer. I’m kind of exciting because as I said I think that we’ve been trying. There are many companies that have been trying to build models based on the data sharing and speed again. Healthcare is not be designed for that. So it’s kind of art. However having that extra layer where you enable people to reclaim the medical data. We are always the eyes and becoming the seventh guardians of that data and being able to see a value of that data being able to see that in real time, it its completeness, in its do it but also its real world data and to see the value for third parties so that you can you know get more predictive insights for yourself but also how accurate research I think it’s an equation that really works for everybody for all the pieces, the patients and providers the payers the people. So I think, yeah there’s something in that model that is really I I’m super excited I don’t I don’t sleep that muchly. I have to go.

There’s no doubt you guys are and some wonderful things over there folks. The executive team over at Dach has some of the biggest brains in the business. Walter who is Sam’s husband Sam and Jeremy Howard’s work in over there, Alan Green. Check them out. They’re definitely a company to follow. They are making some really fascinating splashes in our industry. Sam we’re getting to the end here. We’ve got four questions lightening round style. It’s the 101 with Sam De Brouwer on how to be successful with AI and health care. And then we’re going to follow it with a book that you recommend to the listeners and then your closing thoughts. You ready?


All right. What’s the best way to improve health care outcomes with A.I.?

Oh it’s to enable people to own their data and Souths.

What’s the biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid?

To believe that to share the data within the existing healthcare system is possible. It’s just not. It’s not designed for that.

Love that. How do you stay relevant as an organization despite constant change?

Well we are a startup in Silicon Valley. The technology is AI, so by default who we are.

I mean yeah as I said we are filling a little bit every day in order to major in order to book major successful.

What’s an area of focus should drive everything in a health organization?

Oh I think the way I look at it but explanation so I think I explained what I mean for that the value of the data of real world data for the people who generate it?

What book would you recommend to the listeners, Sam?

So my latest book is, “Skin in the game from Nicholas Tayeb. He also wrote Antifragile, and Black Swan that spoke to me DPD. I’m an entrepreneur. And so every time I do something I have my Skin in the Game. I’m also a caregiver for my son I was 19 years old today. Now he’s doing much better. Isn’t it Chinese fantastic. He’s a..

So great to hear.

So what I do with health care is also because I have my skin in the game because my son has this skin in the game so when you have your skin in the game, winning of things is slightly different.

Totally agree with you Sam. Folks you could find all the transcript notes show notes and links to the things that we’ve talked about. Just go to, you can find all that there. Sam before we conclude I’d love if you could just share a closing thought and then the best place where the listeners could get in touch with you or follow you.

Sure. So my niece and my last in the woods. Health care is really hard. I know so many people tried and are still trying. And I think deep deep inside we are all human beings and we want to do good. We finally have tools that might enable us to create some change. So do not despair. Let’s keep moving. Let’s move forward and let’s try to make it happen. And if we can move the needle a little bit every time it’s huge because we are talking about health care. We’re not talking about you know small stuff and you can email me directly. I’m just going to keep my name address which Happy to take your e-mails and answer.

Outstanding. Sam, hank you for that message of hope. There’s no doubt you guys are making some strides in this space of helping people own their data and recognize the true value of it. Excited to keep up with the progress. And again we just really want to thank you for spending time to share your thoughts with us.

Thank you so much for having me. I wish you a wonderful day. I love you.

Hey Outcomes Rocket friends, thanks for tuning in to the podcast once again. As a leader in health care, you have big ideas great products, a story to tell, and are looking for ways to improve your reach and scale your business. However there’s one tiny problem. Health care is tough to navigate and the typical sales cycle is low. That’s why you should consider starting your own podcast as part of your sales and marketing strategy. At the Outcomes Rocket, I’ve been able to reach thousands of people every single month that I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to reach if I had not started my podcast. Having this organic reach enables me to get the feedback necessary to create a podcast that delivers value that you are looking for. And the same thing goes if you start a podcast for what you could learn from your customers. The best thing about podcasting in healthcare is that we are currently at the ground level, meaning that the number of people in healthcare listening to podcasts is small but growing rapidly. I put together a free checklist for you to check out the steps on what it takes to create your own podcast. You could find that at Check it out today and find a new way to leverage the sales, marketing and outcomes of your business. That’s

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Recommended Books:

Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life

Best Way to Contact Sam:

LinkedIn: Sam De Brouwer


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