Written by Kelly Stincer.
Every time you see your doctor, get a prescription or undergo a medical procedure, new data is created. This information must be stored and easily shared between healthcare organizations, care providers and patients via the internet, making it vulnerable to hackers. SEED Protocol in Athens, Ohio, is working to provide protection for healthcare records, giving patients peace-of-mind that their medical records won’t fall into the wrong hands. The platform allows people to decide who can see their medical records and how long they have access to them.
“In 2015, more than one hundred million Americans had their healthcare records breached. We live in a hyper-connected world with more and more data being created every day, but people may not realize that it needs to be protected to prevent identity theft,” said Tom Reid, SEED Protocol CEO and lead inventor. “Our solution can help in any situation where there is confidential information that needs to be stored and shared securely.”
In order to access data protected by SEED Protocol, a hacker would have to break through three complex systems, each operating on different computers. The first encrypts all documents. The second is a registry that verifies the identity of each user and allows them to grant access to others. Finally, there is a cloud lockbox, which secures data behind Amazon security and labels each document with a complex code. This ensures that even if hackers were able to get into the lockbox, they wouldn’t be able to tie any documents to a specific user or subject matter.
“All of these elements together create an insurmountable hurdle for hackers,” said Reid. “To the end user, it’s as simple as using a dropbox, but all of these processes are happening behind the scenes to protect their data.”
Before creating SEED Protocol, Reid started a consulting firm and noticed a recurring problem amongst his healthcare clients – a lack of protection for the sensitive information in their systems. He used this experience to build a solution to their security concerns with extensive protection.
Reid took his platform to TechGROWTH Ohio, a southeast Ohio partner of Ohio Third Frontier, and received advice on refining the technology and presenting it to investors. TechGROWTH became SEED Protocol’s first investor, allowing the company to build a prototype, conduct a marketing validation study and apply for patents. The organization continues to support the company, helping Reid make connections and take steps forward with patents, marketing and business partners.
SEED Protocol is currently focused on the healthcare industry, but is looking to expand to other industries that share sensitive data. Reid says Ohio is an ideal place to start a data security business because of the resources in place to help startups, world-class healthcare facilities and Fortune 500 companies that provide demand and feedback.
“In Ohio, there are resources to help you get your idea off the ground and into a format that can be marketed to customers. There is also a built-in customer base looking for real solutions that have real value, and that’s what we’re providing,” said Reid. “Data is everywhere, and the need for our services is expanding every day. The support we receive in Ohio will help us meet that demand and grow to our full potential.”