IBM moves in on blockchain healthcare data

September 06, 2018
Chris Wheal

Another day, another ledger launch. Start-up and IBM have engineered an app that may see consumers sell data – fully anonymised – to researchers as well as pharma plauyers.

“We’re not the dealer of the data but the broker,” Richie Etwaru told Computer World. “We’re a title company for your digital identity. We’re not in business of building a big data lake or collecting data.”

How many people have inadvertently given up control of their health data?

Fair trade data?

Healthcare data companies have in the past been able to take advantage of health sector data – it’s a billion dollar industry – while the owners of the data have had less control over what happens to it:  who can appropriate it and for what use.

But the offering tagged #My31 Android App maybe a start to challenge this.

“Getting people’s permissioned rights on a blockchain will create a marketplace and entirely new economic business models as a result,” Marie Wieck of IBM’s blockchain project, told CoinDesk.

Connect – and control – for a price

“Blockchain combined with the notion of rights to individual data, facilitates the distributed sharing of that information securely and at scale,” she added.

Explicit consent needed

Users of this app get a title of ownership while personal information such as a photograph and signature are absorbed onto the blockchain where a range of data preferences is embedded.

“Explicitly consented records coupled with authorization of use is of tremendous value to the healthcare industry,” said Ray Wang on’s advisory board.

“It is not only ethically sound, it also accelerates key healthcare breakthroughs as we welcome this era of fair-trade data.”

Post written by Chris Wheal
Chris Wheal is editor of OpenLedger's news and features service. An award-wining business journalists himself, he runs a team of freelance journalists from across the UK and north America.

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