July 1, 2022

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Blockchain agency Equideum and Nokia constructing change to let sufferers promote healthcare knowledge

The marketplace for affected person healthcare knowledge is booming. To that finish, blockchain firm Equideum Well being and Nokia have introduced plans construct a SaaS-based market the place affected person data is amassed on the market to researchers.

The Decentralized Equideum Trade will likely be a blockchain-based service enabling sufferers to promote their private knowledge for use by pharmaceutical and different life sciences companies for analysis functions. “From a life sciences perspective, they’d like to have entry to this knowledge,” stated Jeffrey Smith, a Gartner analysis director specializing in pharmaceutical R&D inside life sciences.

Sufferers who share their knowledge will likely be paid by means of Eqideum’s Ethereum blockchain community with stablecoin, or cryptocurrency that’s backed by {dollars}.

In the present day, many pharma and life sciences analysis firms construct out their very own affected person healthcare data databases by means of direct contact with sufferers, healthcare suppliers, or insurance coverage payers, Smith stated. Most affected person knowledge comes from insurance coverage claims, or instantly from sufferers whose healthcare suppliers ask them to offer consent for its use. Consent, nonetheless, is often an all-or-nothing deal.

Affected person knowledge can be “tokenized” or anonymized, so it’s tougher to attach it again to the affected person who supplied it, and it could meet HIPAA rules governing affected person privateness rights.

Equidium Well being’s SaaS platform is comparatively uncommon in that it provides sufferers offering the info fine-grained permissions and lets them set a time restrict on how lengthy the info can be utilized, Smith stated.

“By comparability, most sufferers comply with blanket consents,” stated Sean Manion, chief scientific officer at Equideum Well being. “You’re typically requested to signal a one-time consent that covers every part your well being system desires to do with it as soon as it’s de-identified.”

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Information brokers, or firms that collect affected person healthcare knowledge from a number of entities, act as a go-between for analysis organizations. The brokers pool the affected person knowledge, making it extra worthwhile to review. In different phrases, the extra knowledge they’ll stockpile, the extra worthwhile it’s statistically, based on Smith.

Healthcare data is utilized by life sciences firms for drug discovery and growth, drug trial design, precision medication, and toxicity assessment, amongst different issues.

There’s a multi-billion greenback trade that collects healthcare data, strips it of primary private identifiers akin to identify, tackle, and Social Safety quantity, after which sells it off to researchers, drug builders, entrepreneurs, and others.

Medical informatics firms, akin to Iqvia (IMS Well being), Optum, and Symphony Well being reap the income of promoting the info whereas the individuals from whom it is collected don’t have any management over the way it’s used. Nor do they get any compensation for it.

This isn’t the primary time blockchain has been used as a platform to promote affected person knowledge. In 2018, start-up Hu-manity.co partnered with IBM to develop an digital ledger that offers shoppers the cryptographic key to grant entry to their private knowledge, even permitting sufferers or others to manage the particular function for which it is used, whereas additionally permitting them to finally revenue from it.

Blockchain’s interoperability may underpin knowledge change, serving as an alternative choice to at present’s well being data exchanges (HIEs); basically, it will act as a mesh community for transmitting safe, close to real-time affected person knowledge for healthcare suppliers, pharmacies, insurance coverage payers and scientific researchers, based on IDC.

Equideum is an Ethereum blockchain know-how firm whose platform is constructed atop Web3. Versus Internet 2.0, which is outlined by centralized knowledge internet hosting providers, Web3 is a brand new iteration of the World Extensive Internet primarily based on peer-to-peer infrastructure, or “decentralization,” and token-based economics.

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“Customers personal their very own knowledge, identification, content material, and algorithms, and may govern the blockchain protocols they use by proudly owning governance tokens,” Gartner Distinguished Analyst Avivah Litan wrote in a weblog. “Customers take part as ‘shareholders’ by proudly owning the protocols’ tokens or cryptocurrencies.”

Web3 additionally shifts energy and cash away from centralized Internet 2.0 “gatekeepers” akin to Google and Fb. “For instance, Web3 disrupts gatekeepers’ targeted-advertising companies by shifting possession of required client knowledge away from gatekeepers and to shoppers themselves,” she stated.

Equideum calls its healthcare and analysis networks “Information Integrity and Studying Networks” (DILNs). DILNs function self-sovereign identification, fine-grained verifiable consents, and privateness restrictions throughout each enterprise and particular person knowledge silos.

The cybersecurity implications of providing affected person knowledge to 3rd events could possibly be important. To that finish, Equideum Well being shouldn’t be utilizing a extra typical knowledge warehouse during which to retailer the info. A affected person’s data is saved individually from others on a peer-to-peer decentralized community, so if hacked, a foul actor would attain entry to just one knowledge retailer, based on Heather Flannery, founder and CEO of Equideum.

To construct out the Decentralized Equideum Trade, Equideum Well being (previously ConsenSys Well being), can even faucet into know-how stacks from current ConsenSys companions; that know-how will embody Intel’s Xeon Ice Lake CPUs with SGX security measures and Microsoft Azure.

Equideum’s SaaS providing will act as a supply of information for analysis firms performing scientific trials. These companies have to match affected person knowledge to their particular research, and utilizing a decentralizing community ensures they are not pigeonholed into one knowledge retailer that may be restricted by payer/supplier knowledge individuals.

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“Presently, to shortlist sufferers for scientific trials, firms make investments important time and money in knowledge acquisition, and face points like poor knowledge high quality, compliance, and price of intermediaries,” Nokia stated in an announcement.  

The Decentralized Equideum Trade makes use of Nokia NDM, which is able to run inside a public-permissioned Ethereum blockchain structure. The blockchain digital ledger helps self-sovereign knowledge and identification performance just like decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystems.

Equideum Well being’s SaaS platform creates a multi-party ecosystem, the place the info market can securely course of, enrich, assemble, and analyze knowledge utilizing blockchain, decentralized AI, and privacy-preserving applied sciences — and it could then securely change this knowledge.

Equideum Well being’s Medical Trials Matching functionality allows pharmaceutical firms optimize the scientific trial lifecycle by means of quicker affected person identification; the usage of superior affected person consent mechanisms; affected person remuneration by way of the usage of digital wallets; and enhanced affected person transparency on how knowledge is used.

There’ll nonetheless be a number of methods for sufferers to promote their knowledge. If the healthcare insurance coverage supplier or healthcare supplier had been a participant in one in all Equideum Well being’s current knowledge integrity and studying networks (DILNs) then they are going to have the power to consent mechanisms to their members.

“Then there’s additionally our straight, direct-to-consumer software the place sufferers could find out about us quite a few methods and be activated instantly into our providing,” Manion stated.

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