Over the last decade, the use of data in healthcare has accelerated, as organizations increasingly find ways to get the most out of this valuable asset, fueled by evolving technologies and the increasing awareness of how big data can drive healthcare innovations and improve health outcomes.
In the healthcare space, a massive amount of data is being generated every second. According to a report from RBC, about 30 percent of the data being generated around the world is coming from the healthcare industry. Increasingly, much of the health care data being generated is not explicitly derived from measuring health, but can be associated with it. For instance, a smartphone can collect data on a user’s exercise routine and food purchases, both of which could be considered health data. Thus, technology has widened the scope of what can be considered healthcare data. This broader scope results in healthcare data being even more valuable as a whole.
Because of this, organizations are increasingly seeing healthcare data as a highly valuable asset, with some looking for ways to unlock its value. While some companies have embraced healthcare data monetization, some see monetization as a poison pill and calibrate their efforts with a more altruistic mindset or a cautious choice of language that describes their efforts.
Organizations outside the healthcare industry are getting into this space as well. Through the products and services they already offer, Amazon, Apple, Google, Walmart, and others are all slowly creeping into the realm of healthcare data. With COVID-19 shifting a lot of our actions and transactions into digital formats, the pandemic has likely accelerated these trends. Yet, personally identifying information makes healthcare data privacy an important concern when it comes to unlocking its potential value.
How Data Can Be Monetized
There are two primary ways in which data can drive revenue: directly and indirectly.
Indirect value can be derived when organizations analyze their own internal data to reveal business insights, with the goal of improving efficiency and quality.
Businesses can also use such data to develop products and open up new markets. Data can be used to strengthen business-to-business and customer relationships, as well. If a company processes millions of dollars in sales, increasing sales by just one percentage point can significantly increase margins with little added cost to the company, all by making use of a resource they already have.
Direct monetization of data involves an organization collecting data and then connecting with a third party to exchange data or insights based on that data. Companies looking to collaborate in this way with their data are increasingly turning to data brokers. A number of companies now offer services related to collecting, aggregating, and processing data. In the healthcare industry, such value-added collaborations can lead to major innovations, such as a pharmaceutical company using big data from multiple large hospitals to develop new drugs.
The Democratization of Monetization
The marketplace for big data collaborations has grown significantly in recent years, and this has led to the democratization of monetization. There are now third-party platforms like Snowflake and Neustar that facilitate the purchase, sale, and exchange of data. One notable platform was recently launched by Amazon Web Services, and it contains more than 1,000 products that could be used for artificial intelligence and machine learning. With connections to more than one million businesses, AWS is positioned to become the premier platform for data services and products, such as business analytics. In the healthcare space, HealthVerity, Syntegra, and MedicoReach are becoming major data market players.
These marketplaces facilitate the monetization of data by creating clear paths that businesses can take. Companies can easily turn their data into revenue with extremely high margins. Through competition, marketplaces also enable a streamlining of the process of turning data into revenue.
Compliant and Ethical Monetization
The rise of data monetization in healthcare has led to a discussion around the ethics of such a practice. For instance, should patients own their own data and benefit from any monetization efforts? A common (and accepted) response to this question is to argue that patients benefit from the use of their data in the form of better treatments and healthcare outcomes.
Companies looking at using healthcare data for such computation should proceed cautiously. Not only are there ethical concerns surrounding the practice, but there are also regulatory compliance concerns.
In the United States, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal law designed to protect patient privacy. Anything related to an individual’s medical condition cannot be shared without that patient’s consent, except in situations related to their direct treatment.
In Europe, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is designed to ensure that individual health records and personal information are kept private. The GDPR also has an extensive list of guidelines for how organizations should handle personal data that go beyond the scope of healthcare.
Because of these regulations and others, any organization that collects, stores, or processes personal data should have an extensive compliance framework. A compliance system should involve tracking where and how a company interacts with personal data. Companies looking to collect personal data should be able to justify why they are gathering this information and outline exactly what is being collected.
Compliance is just the beginning. Companies also need to maintain ethics when unlocking the value of healthcare data. The ethical reasons for collecting data should be identified and communicated throughout the company. When practices are built on a strong ethical foundation, it makes compliance a much easier undertaking.
TripleBlind Can Support the Safe, Compliant, and Ethical Healthcare Data Use
Our privacy-enhancing solution is designed to protect healthcare data and other types of sensitive information, enabling companies to safely maximize the intellectual property value of data and remain compliant with laws and regulations meant to protect patient privacy.. In other words, TripleBlind allows data users to compute on the data without having to “see,” copy, or store any of it.
The TripleBlind solution represents the most complete and scalable solution for privacy-enhancing computation, mitigating the risks of data collaborations by protecting data while it’s in use. Our solution also allows data owners full digital rights management to ensure they always have control over how their data is used on a granular level.
The future is proving to be a collaborative one. TripleBlind allows healthcare organizations to do so without the traditional risks that accompany the use of sensitive data. Please contact us today to find out how we can help your company get the most out of sensitive healthcare data.