A form of monetization, data monetization refers to the use of an organization’s data as an economic asset to reduce costs and increase business value. Organizations can monetize their data by providing third parties data access, commonly referred to as direct monetization, or by using the insights derived from this data to improve their internal processes, known as indirect monetization.
One industry that has seen an exponential rise in data in recent years due to increasing digitalization is healthcare. Health records are increasingly moving to the cloud, and the use of wearables and smartphones has become almost ubiquitous. This digitalization has paved the way for data monetization in healthcare, and it is helping not only to improve clinical services but also realize financial benefits. A strong integration of data with technology is set to revolutionize value-based care and personalized medicine and introduce better care outcomes.
Let’s take a closer look at how data monetization, particularly direct monetization, works in healthcare.
Bilateral data exchange – Among the earliest data monetization models, bilateral data exchange enables organizations to sell their data to one or more parties. It has experienced high adoption over the years, but its scope for disruption is limited, as single entities become data owners, and there is no data-based innovation at an industry level. Such data exchange is also mired in controversy, as highly sensitive patient data flows freely between organizations.
A case in point is the deal inked between Google and Ascension in November 2019 to provide Google access to millions of Americans’ health records. It came under the US Department of Health and Human Services’ regulatory scanner just 48 hours following its announcement.
Open platforms for data exchange – In this model, data providers can sell their data to platform owners, while enterprises can test their innovations using the platforms. The platform owners become data custodians in this case. This model has high potential for disruption, as it facilitates industry-wide collaboration for data transfer. It is gaining popularity among innovators, researchers, and academic institutions for early-phase testing of new products.
Mercy Technology Services’ (MTS) Real-world Evidence (RWE) network is one such open platform. MTS combines large data sets generated by health systems with advanced analytics, and provides insights for thousands of medical products that make it to the market every year. The RWE network allows medical product firms to test their products in real-time and providers to test their clinical decisions to offer better patient care.
Open marketplaces for patients to sell data – The most controversial aspect about data monetization is the sale of patient data without obtaining patients’ consent. Patients are the ultimate owners of their health data, and thus it is highly debatable whether large organizations should be allowed to make money by selling or buying this highly confidential data.
Open marketplaces for patients allow them to directly sell their health data to any party interested in buying it. Open Health, for example, has launched a platform that allows patients to monetize their health data by connecting companies or research institutions with people who fit the criteria for different studies or analytics. Users can share their health records with pharmaceutical companies, health systems, and insurers for a fee. This model is gaining popularity due to secure data exchange practices, and as it helps resolve the ownership and privacy concerns accompanying other models
Open marketplaces for data exchange – In such marketplaces, data providers can sell data, while interested entities can find and access relevant data. The seller retains the ownership, and buyers simply obtain the permission to subscribe to this data. This model serves as a bridge between organizations that possess a significant amount of healthcare data and those that need it. Amazon Web Services (AWS) Data Exchange is one such open marketplace that allows AWS customers to browse through and purchase a variety of data sets offered by data sellers
In our opinion, this model has the highest potential to disrupt the data monetization market in the coming decade, as it facilitates industry-wide collaboration for data asset exchange.
It is, thus, amply clear that in their quest for data, organizations can’t afford to ignore the need to ensure data privacy. The US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) establishes national standards to protect individuals’ medical records and other personal health information. It applies to health plans, healthcare clearinghouses, and healthcare providers that conduct certain healthcare transactions electronically. The debate around data privacy is likely to get fiercer in the coming years, and only data monetization models that can address this challenge are likely to succeed.
What has been your experience with data monetization? If you’d like to discuss your experience or data monetization and how it applies in healthcare, please reach out to [email protected] or [email protected].