Tunisia’s Hippocrate employs big data for healthier lives

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The use of big data in healthcare is becoming more and more common, with the likes of Intel and Fujitsu employing data analytics in genome sequencing to identify which type of people respond best to which type of drug.

But it is not only major global players that are making waves in the space. Tunisian startup Hippocrate, launched in 2014, is one of those involved in modernising healthcare provision for better outcomes.

The startup has developed a Big Data Health Platform, able to collect, process, anonymise, analyse and secure the generated data. Using the platform, Hippocrate searches for correlations between different health variables, such as how much eating or any other random variable can influence diabetes or other diseases.

It allows all those subscribed to the platform to leverage the power of the crowd’s data in determining the best treatments for a certain patient, while Hippocrate has built a free cloud platform for medical doctors on top of it, allowing them to increase their collaboration and revenue by improving their patient acquisition and engagement process.

“With big data doctors can understand more precisely how patient recovers from their diseases, what factors other than medication can influence their health,” said Hippocrate co-founder Dhafer Ben Amor.

“This business has a huge social impact, to improve the quality of disease treatments and discovering new treatments.”

Ben Amor claims the Hippocrate product is unique, the first big data medical platform able to analyse the human genome in a few seconds. It also allows poor patients to get free consultations from the most reputed doctors, while doctors that use it generate as much as 22 per cent additional revenue.

Though it is free for doctors, the bootstrapped Hippocrate is monetising by making its data available to researchers, something that will only become more valuable as more doctors and healthcare institutions use the product.

“We make money by allowing research labs to use our medical data for improving or discovering new treatments,” Ben Amor said. “We offer an annual subscription to have access to anonymised medical data and advanced medical analytics tools, like genomic analysis.”

Doctors are certainly taking up Hippocrate. In Tunisia the company is working with five private hospitals, and Ben Amor said the company is looking to expand to the Middle East.

“We also have huge traction coming from the United States (US), because doctors there country are very tech-enabled. We have made the effort to be certified HIPAA and ICD-10 for this market to be able to sell easily, without regulation restrictions,” he said.

The company is also looking for partners in China and India to introduce the product in those markets, with Africa also on the agenda. Handling this growth is, however, a challenge.

“In the medical sector each country has its own rules and standards for medical informatics,” Ben Amor said. “So wherever we go we have to adapt quickly to meet the demands in time. Our solution to this was to implement a mix of design thinking, lean management and agile project methodologies to go very fast in terms of time to market without exceeding budget.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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