When you think “data monetization,” chances are the healthcare sector is not the first industry that comes to mind. But, in fact, data is playing a central role in countless healthcare changes happening today, with established players and startups alike looking for ways to capitalize on patient health information to identify new opportunities and operate more effectively and competitively.
A recent article in CIO provided some interesting applications of data monetization in the healthcare industry, including the following examples:
- Pittsburgh-based Highmark, one of the largest health plans in the country, has launched a program that turns its internal innovation program, VITAL, into a commercial offering meant to help digital health startups test their products in real-world clinical environments. The core value of this program for startups is access to claims data on 4.5 million members that Highmark serves in three states.
- Mercy Health, based in St. Louis, MO, has launched a real-world evidence network that will pool data from clinical networks across the country, starting with its database of clinical data from millions of patient records. Subscribers to the network, including researchers, regulators, and Pharma and Medtech companies, will have access to this pool of de-identified, anonymous data.
These and other applications are interesting, and it’s certainly critical that de-identified patient data be accessible to digital health innovators and researchers—not just established healthcare practices. As the CIO article put it, giving these groups access to data “enables them to apply advanced analytical tools to gain insights that can drive innovation in care delivery, manage population health, and a host of other things.”
As these initiatives gain steam, it’s important to remember that consumers are also a key stakeholder in healthcare data monetization efforts. Not only are we as patients the primary owners of our data, but we’re also the target demographic—after all, any effort to improve care delivery, offer more tailored insurance plans, or other healthcare innovations has a direct positive impact on our lives.
Its possible patients may soon have the opportunity to take a more proactive role in the healthcare data monetization trend. A Stanford initiative is underway in which patients can share their own medical data and get paid for it—effectively circumventing efforts for other groups to monetize this information.
While all of these projects are in their infancy, the healthcare industry’s interest in data monetization underscores what those of us in the analytics space already know—data has a transformative power to drive change.
Regardless of the industry in which you operate, the question is: are you prepared to take advantage of this opportunity?