This Is How Blockchain Is Changing Healthcare

Joresa Blount
Written by Joresa Blount


Illustration: Simon Landrein

Chrissa McFarlane, founder and CEO of Patientory, has connected healthcare and blockchain in a way that will save everyone a lot of time.  Patientory stores health records for patients and providers which eliminates the need for filling out paperwork every time you visit a doctor’s office.

McFarlane raised $7.2 million over three days in a crowdfunding token sale.

Joresa Blount: How did you get interested in the tech world?

Chrissa McFarlane: It was more or less through my consulting with healthcare technology companies. I wanted to be part of the solution to a very broken healthcare system and industry in our country. I knew one of the only ways to solve that is to invent implementation of dynamic technologies that can create a more efficient system. I started working for healthcare startups and just loved what the companies were doing in the space, tackling the problems, and creating a solution to really difficult problems using technology.

Joresa Blount: How does Patientory work?

Chrissa McFarlane: Our online technology utilizes blockchain which is distributed ledgers to eventually give patients lifelong access to that information regardless of what healthcare institution or provider they see.

Joresa Blount: When did the idea come up to start  Patientory?

Chrissa McFarlane: It was through my experiences. My last experience with a startup — a pill medicine startup — it was a pain getting a hold of patient information.  That was the inspiration to starting Patientory.

Joresa Blount: One of the things I talk often about with founders and CEOs is the necessity of having the right team. How were you able to find that right mix of people?

Chrissa McFarlane: When I started the company, I definitely started out looking for the right advisors, and they’ve come from all different aspects of the business world, especially healthcare entrepreneurs who sold and exited their businesses.  They were able to point me in the right direction into building a solid team, which we’re still doing today, in order to scale and grow.  It’s really looking at – especially early stages in a company – those people who can bring varied skill sets and experiences, not just what you hire them for.  They should be willing to roll up their sleeves and get down and dirty.  It sounds cliche, but it really goes a long way when you have not only a team but like a family that you can grow and build your company with.

Chrissa McFarlane, founder of Patientory. Photo: Forbes

Joresa Blount: Tell me the people that don’t work out when you have a startup.

Chrissa McFarlane:  I think the people that don’t work, especially when you’re solving a really hard problem, are those looking to become rich overnight or just looking to get a title. I understand it’s important to want to have that, but you’re not going to get that in 90 days in a startup. It’s really looking at people who are more long-term visioned.  It’s important that those values are aligned, and they’re aligned with the mission of the company and what it’s set out to do.

Joresa Blount: Have you found being based in Atlanta to be a plus or more challenging?

Chrissa McFarlane: It was challenging because, in terms of fundraising, the capital is in Silicon Valley. But I found Atlanta to be very supportive. The community around the city, the different organizations are very supportive of young emerging companies and founders.

Blount:  In the last 2 years, what has been one of the toughest moments or a setback you’ve had?

Chrissa McFarlane: That’s a good question. I would say it was letting go of one of our key developers. This was before our token sale, so we were still scrambling for funds. So that was a setback in a sense. But in a sense, I feel like all setbacks are for a reason. Then we really got a chance to really deep dive into how we were implementing the technology and make the necessary changes so that we can move much faster.

Joresa Blount: Where do you see the company being a year from now?

Chrissa McFarlane: Definitely building a more holistic, collaborative consortium of companies that can help to tell the Patientory story and drive that adoption. Two years ago when I said blockchain healthcare, it was like, what? No-one knew what that was. Our goal is to really bring it mainstream and have it at the forefront, especially of our customers’ mind.

Joresa Blount: Are you connected with any medical organizations right now?

Chrissa McFarlane: We are talking to a bunch who are interested in piloting our platform, once it is enterprise market-ready in regards to HIPAA. So that’s basically managing those relationships through the funnel.

Joresa Blount: I know there’s always talk about data breaching and especially with the whole Equifax thing that happened last year.  How are you communicating with people on the safety of using Patientory?

Chrissa McFarlane: It’s letting people know that there is technology out there now, that this doesn’t have to happen today. So it’s really about being able to tell that story, and that’s what we’re working on.

Joresa Blount is an author, host of “The Comeback Series”, and creator of Brown Girls Innovate Too which provides tools and connections for women in tech.

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About Joresa Blount
I am a journalist, author, and the host of The Comeback Series, a digital talk show where women discuss their most defining setback and how it propelled them to go after their purpose. When I am not sitting down with local women heroes, I am hosting a monthly talk series, Brown Girls Innovate Too. I bring women in the tech industry together for discussions on funding, getting their seat at the table, building their tribe, and taking their startup to the next level.