Seller beware? Why healthcare organizations are hesitant to sell their data

4 min read
Darcy Connors

There are many reasons why healthcare organizations are hesitant to sell their data. For one, they may feel like they are giving up too much control over their data. Once sold, how will they know where it may end up? Will the company that purchases the data turn around and resell it? To what types of companies? How many times? In this blog post, we will explore some of the reasons why healthcare organizations are reluctant to sell their data.

Let's start with one of the most important topics, the brass tax. Up until 2017/2018, medical data was not an item with much monetary value at all. Before medical records could be tied together, providing longitudinal data, while maintaining patient privacy and artificial intelligence to perform de-identification were both developed; manual intervention was required to anonymize the data. To produce de-identified data in any profitable volume was essentially impossible.

Fast forward only a few years and now AI driven de-id is easy and affordable, but there is no historical benchmark available for how much a piece of data should cost in the healthcare arena. How much to charge a patient for an MRI - that's easy, there are benchmarks galore. But how much to sell the reports and diagnostic images produced as a result of the scans? That's another story. Healthcare CFOs and CEOs are well aware they are sitting on treasure troves but aren't confident of what magnitude.

Another challenge is ensuring that the data is handled in a way that is compliant with regulations, especially HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). California has its own law, CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) as does the European Union, GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

Healthcare organizations are meticulous with their security policies and practices to ensure compliance within their domains, but how can they be sure the companies they sell their data to will be as well? How will their data be de-identified? Can they be sure their data is being fully and properly de-identified? What if the purchasing company has a PHI breach, will they be held liable as well? These are all valid concerns.

Healthcare organizations also have the challenge of determining how much data they have and how to best provide it to the potential buyer. If it was as easy as walking over to the Medical Records’ department, thumbing through file cabinets, loading bankers’ boxes with records onto a box truck, and sending them on their way to the purchaser, life would be easy.

But this data lives within electronic systems, often multiple siloed systems. Data transfer services or servers will need to be set up and the healthcare organization may wonder if they have enough time or resources to take on this endeavor. Will the cost and effort to integrate with a company to safely and securely sell the data outweigh the profits from selling the data?

There are many very justified hesitations for healthcare organizations when it comes to selling their data, but Segmed can put these worries to rest! Segmed has answers to all the questions posed above and can assist with securely, safely, and easily monetizing your data.

We understand the importance of weighing the risks and benefits, and is here to help.

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