Data Liquidity: Underpinning a New Healthcare Data Economy and Health 3.0

By Doug Bulleit

There was a comically effective Jiffy Lube ad from the late 1990s that depicted a crowd in the street demonstrating for change with a soothing voice-over saying that “some people want to change the world; we just want to change your oil.” Equideum Health has big Web3 plans to change healthcare; but, big plans break down into smaller components. And it is certain “components” of our Elevated Compute™ Platform (ECP), and the Data Integrity and Learning Networks (DILNs) that ECP enables, that I’d like to share with you here. They involve the raison d’être of so many much-discussed interoperability programs – and we call it all liquid data; or, stretching the “oil” metaphor a bit, data liquidity. The focus is on taking the friction out of the sensitive personal data transfers needed to advance the digital health agenda as well as positioning personal health data as a new asset class within an emerging data marketplace.

Today’s fragmented healthcare landscape presents manifold challenges for both patients and, even more, for the various providers and payers that serve them. For those operating within it, and working to improve outcomes for patients, the need to interoperate, with vital health data among key participants, is paramount. At the same time, ensuring privacy and authorized use of data related to patients is an increasingly important (and heavily regulated) issue, even as the need to share data efficiently is clearly beneficial to all. 

At Equideum Health, we’ve developed a model for data management that addresses both the current need for efficient sharing and concerns related to privacy and control. That model is anchored by two interconnected terms: liquid data and data liquidity. These are simple terms with enormous potential to transform healthcare and are prerequisites for moving to a Health 3.0 paradigm:

  • Liquid data refers to self-sovereign individuals’ ability to share their health data in frictionless and provably-private and fully-monetizable formats. 
  • Similarly, data liquidity refers to the frictionless flow of provably-private self-sovereign health data. 

Aligning to both terms (and their definitions) is essential to recognizing health data as an asset class that can be monetized by its owners, and which allows for better management of provider risks and acceleration of clinical research, digital therapeutics and other digital health programs.

OK, so there is a lot of jargon and precise phraseology in those definitions. Let’s unpack them and explain what they mean:

Frictionless datamost of the friction (or drag in racing car terms) in healthcare data interoperability stems from the simple fact that institutional and enterprise players like providers and payers are often cast as data custodians (and thereby are subject to extensive rules and regulations). So allowing individuals to exercise (in self-sovereign fashion) governance control of their own data removes that requirement (and associated friction) from the established players.

Provably Private [data]refers to a feature provided by Equideum Health’s DILN architecture, which leverages modern cryptographic techniques and homeomorphic methods (known as confidential computing) to ensure that integrity of data is maintained. Indeed, in many DILN use cases, a patient’s data never leaves their own personal private cloud instance (datastore). Rather, analytics and AI algorithms are moved to the data for processing; and subsequent derived data is then made available, subject to the patient’s fine-grained consent controls.

Self-sovereigna self-sovereign individual (and hence the data that they own and hold) is one that has acquired a decentralized identity (DID) and an appropriate set of verifiable credentials, transmitted by trusted issuers, proving the identity claims being made by the holder of the DID, be it an individual, device and/or other entity.

In summary, when considering the benefits of data liquidity, and what it enables for a Health 3.0 future, here are some pointers that we’ll expand more upon in the future.

As patients become self-sovereign operators, governing their own health data, many of the regulatory burdens currently borne by industry players, including pharma and providers, effectively dissolve. This aspect alone points to a top-to-bottom remake of healthcare systems. 

Treating healthcare data as an asset, with similar attributes and capabilities as financial instruments, means that the data can be monetized and transacted in structured exchanges – In other words, it becomes endowed with free market value capabilities. 

This value might be recognized to support many different activities, such as clinical trial matching, medication management and drug development. As healthcare data is increasingly viewed and treated as a monetizable asset, an entire economic system or data economy, with derived instruments, a market structure, and new types of participants, will accordingly emerge.

The bottom line is that data liquidity and liquid data are way beyond (and orders of magnitude more valuable than) conventional connectivity and interoperability concepts. They are fundamental to creating a new Health 3.0 healthcare system, which is inclusive of patients and individuals and delivers health equity to all.

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