Data monetization-the next big disruptor in healthcare?

Since Indian patients are realizing the importance of their health-related data, the healthcare data monetization is going to play a decisive role in shaping up the future of this sector


New Delhi: Healthcare data is being touted as a major contributor to the growth of digital health interventions in the last few years. With its vast population, India could be a hot destination for the concept of healthcare data monetization which is actually all about the purchase and sale of healthcare-related data. Already emerging as a popular concept globally, it is slowly making an entry into the country.

Amid the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the era of social distancing, the role of digital health technologies is going to get magnified. With the increasing importance of data ownership belonging to patients, the declaration of status, be it positive, negative, or recovered could help the authorities to track these patients but also create various policies and guidelines to contain the infection.

One such app, KYT incentivizes patients to share their personal data, be it their geolocation or health records. For example, a recovered patient who volunteers for being trackable and is willing to share his data and be part of COVID research can help the community tremendously. The information about the disease can further help to build and test newer therapeutic options from them. Increased use of the app will enable authorities with pro-active responses, due to sudden variations in the data pool.

KYT data app was launched by Dexium Technologies in August 2019 with the intention of giving the power of data ownership to the patients and keeping them at the center of healthcare. The first healthcare data monetization platform in India, KYT is a brainchild of Dr Amit Dang, a pharmaceutical physician; Ms Dimple Arora, a data scientist; and Dr Pawan Rane, Head and Neck Oncosurgeon, who took two years to culminate this unique concept. It is a health data aggregator that incentivizes patients to share their health data with explicit consent and uses this data for the betterment of humanity at large. The app further helps you to store all your health-related data, including your lab tests, prescriptions, doctor consultations, hospital visit details, and much more in a timeline manner, which is easy to access.

“We are of the opinion that facing such a pandemic, many members of the public will be willing to trade some measure of privacy to help efforts to contain this pandemic. Data sharing may, in fact, have long-term benefits. Access to wide-ranging information on Covid-19 could allow health services to prepare themselves better for future epidemics, and determine how best to deploy resources before they happen,” explains Dr Amit Dang.

“KYT Data App collates data on COVID-19 patients and will help bring the researchers, policymakers, and patients closer, thereby improving the chances of developing newer therapies and policies,” added Ms Dimple Arora.

This is how data monetization happens

The first step involves informed consent to be taken from the patient before data collection where collected data is grouped with other such data from different patients. It is followed by data digitalization where data is extracted and digitized. Next is data analytics where collected data is analyzed using complex algorithms and statistical methods, leading to meaningful interpretations. Again the data sharing involves sharing of insights with research agencies, institutions, and pharmaceuticals for a fee. All these steps lead to Data Monetization, after which the fees are passed on to patients as KYT points, which they can redeem in the form of Paytm cash.

The KYT app provides the provision to all patients to control the sharing of their data, which means that their health data can only be used after they give their
due consent to do so. To ensure confidentiality of data and to prevent unwanted disclosure of sensitive data, we anonymize the data before sharing it with any third party. That way, the buyers of the data – pharmaceutical companies – would only receive the data, and not the identifying details of the patients.

“Patient privacy is of utmost importance to us and forms one of the pillars of “KYT Data” app. We take explicit consent from patients to use their data, which is saved on secure encrypted Amazon servers. Patients can withdraw their consent at any time they wish,” says Amit.


How is the app KYT different from Aarogya Setu (AS)?

As per Dr Pawan Rane, KYT is based on the principle that patient data doesn’t belong to doctor, hospital or electronic health record, it belongs to the patient only. “He has the right to share or not to share the same with any other healthcare stakeholder,” says Pawan.

If we compare it with the government promoted popular, Aarogya Setu app that requests for some basic information to help build data about the users, KYT explicitly seeks for personal identifiable information (name, age, e-mail ID, phone number, address) including aadhar card and PAN card. Both these are important to redeem Paytm cash and establish Indian nationality status. No personally identifiable information is shared with anybody from KYT though.

While AS seeks information on age, gender, name, health status and also asks for the countries that the user has been to in the past few weeks, there is no symptom checker in KYT and one doesn’t need to declare any sort of travel history.

While AS involves self-assessment of COVID status risk profiling of patients and identifying potential infected cases to the government of India, KYT incentivizes patients to share their actual uploaded COVID related formal health records (clinical/pathological diagnostic tests reports) and geolocation data, with various healthcare stakeholders including government, biomedical research and pharmaceutical firms to contain COVID-19 infection.

Image: Founders of KYT: Dr Amit Dang CEO, BD, Sales and Marketing; Ms Dimple Arora, CTO, General Admin-Data and AI Management; and Dr Pawan Rane COO, Business Development, Clinical management.

AS uses location data to point out people that have come in close proximity with any Covid-19 positive patient. The application requests for access to location at all times and also asks for Bluetooth access after download. KYT only seeks geolocation data to identify possible hot-spots, although there is no role of Bluetooth whatsoever.

AS asks if the user will be willing to help in times of need, whereas KYT incentivizes patients to share their health data and seeks patient’s participation in future research to help the community at large.

Besides the above features, KYT also provides additional features to store the scanned copies of health records, create a personal treatment timeline, add medicine reminders and doctor’s appointments. The user has the flexibility to change the data sharing settings at any given point of time, although once the report gets monetized, he can not change the same.

“Right now we plan to build a repository of COVID patient data. This data can be in-turn purchased from the patients by concerned authorities and researchers passing on the commission to us,” mentions Amit while pointing out the fact that they are a bootstrapped start-up as of now. “We plan to incentivize patients with up to INR 250 to share their COVID related reports with us,” he concludes.