Digital Fireside Chats: Jovan Stevovic, Chino.io
Mo’ data, mo’ problems: the number of digital health apps working in the “cloud” is skyrocketing. With it comes a subsequent explosion of personal health-related data in the digital health arena overall. Trust and reliability have since become fundamental issues.
Both highly controversial issues come with an expressed need for robust privacy standards, sustained IT security and EU-wide regulations to safeguard those huge amounts of data. So much so, that there is even a special security regime according to EU laws in regards to sensitive data (e.g. health, racial, social, physical/mental information) now.
Italian startup Chino.io is working on that particular problem, and has already achieved numerous awards for their development of a secure API (Application Programming Interface) and storage system for health data in accordance to EU laws.
Among those accolades are winning the prestigious EIT ICT Labs Idea Challenge 2014 on Privacy, Security & Trust, and becoming finalist at the eHealth Week Competition 2015, Trusted Cloud category, placing them among the eight best eHealth SMEs in the EU.
We had the pleasure to interview Jovan Stevovic, CEO and co-founder at Chino.io.
Could you briefly introduce yourself? Who are you, and what do you do?
Previously to my current position, I was a PhD at University of Trento and researcher in a large company working in the healthcare sector, mainly operating in Italy. I am passionate about ICT (Information and Communications Technology) in healthcare, the mobile world and the evolution of tech in general, and its impact on our lives.
Why Digital Health and what was your pathway into the field?
I ventured into digital health because of my previous experience – starting from the MSc internship at the University of Trento, Italy, and GPI Spa. In that position, I developed an EHR (Electronic Health Record) system for the Province of Trento and I got passionate about IT in health and topics such as privacy, integration, API, interoperability etc.
I then looked into founding my own company, started out with Chino.io and with some luck, was quite successful until now, thankfully.
What is the unique appeal of the company you lead?
The possibility to scale at international level and help many digital health startups and developers. We could have a considerable impact at EU market level if we will be able to scale and succeed in that.
What was your biggest professional / career challenge so far?
Finding a way and the motivation to conclude my PhD.
What was your biggest professional / career success so far?
Starting Chino.io and managing it until now.
What drives you to continually advance your company?
Well on one side there is the fear and excitement about failing with the startup, on the other there is the possibility to succeed on an international level, and thus have a huge impact on other’s lives.
Which Digital Health development so far do you consider the most remarkable?
All sectors are evolving fast, but they are still having only a low impact on our lives. One sector that really surprised me about its efficacy are social networks for patients, like PatientsLikeMe, where people can learn about their diseases.
Which game-changing product/service can we look forward to?
I would like to live in an integrated world where sensitive data are integrated securely in comprehensive EHRs that can be used by different devices and different actors to provide their specific services.
Data sharing is fundamental for increasing the efficiency of delivered services by startups since they have access to a low amount of data due to their size.
In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge in the field of Digital Health?
Disrupting a sector that now accepts only big players and big companies, which are able to lobby and to deliver their low quality services to public sector. It is about making the public health sector (at least in the EU) pro-actively seek higher quality solutions. At this very moment, this is simply not the case. It’s a closed circuit.
How is Digital Health going to change our lives and society in 5‚ 10, 25 years?
It will change by transferring information, communication, assistance to the Internet. Reducing distances, time to intervention, precision, access to information and knowledge.
What advice would you give graduates who want to join the Digital Health industry / a Digital Health start-up?
To learn about health sector first. Its a complex sector, and requires understanding many different things. Public, semi public and private companies are jointly delivering a huge number of services.
Which concrete problems or challenges within the field of Digital Health are these graduates going to face?
If they want to invent or create something, they first must know and learn the trade of the healthcare sector. Technologist are not always good at understanding the needs of health professionals and patients.
What new, relevant perspectives do you think recent graduates will bring to the table of their company?
To work in a dynamic, funny and enthusiastic environment. They can find freedom and space for creativity. Things that they cannot find in large companies working in healthcare.
Which three qualities should an ideal candidate have?
- Passionate about digital health or security or ICT in general
- Proactive and collaborative
Jovan Stevovic, digital health CEO and co-founder at Chino.io, thank you very much!