New app uses IBM's blockchain to store patient preferences for data-sharing

Hu-manity.co rolled out an Android app to help consumers manage property rights for their personal data Sept. 6 — starting with healthcare data.

The app, dubbed #My31, allows users to claim property rights for their personal data, such as healthcare records, geospatial location and media usage metrics. Upon claiming their data property rights, a user receives a title of ownership — akin to a property deed, according to Hu-manity.co — which is stored on IBM's blockchain platform.

The app then prompts users to manage consent, authorization and commercial use of their personal information, which is housed on a blockchain-based data marketplace. While the app doesn't store the data itself, it records a user's data-sharing preferences, such as who their data can be shared with and under what circumstances.

The app is starting with healthcare data, including patient information stored in a hospital's EMR or clinical information stored by a research organization. With the app, users can opt to share no information with third parties, or they can provide consent for select circumstances — such as allowing research organizations to use their medical data to study cancer.

Users can also lease their data to pharmaceutical companies or data aggregators for compensation.

"By creating a global consent ledger built on the IBM Blockchain Platform, people, corporations and the monetization of human data can co-exist sustainably," Richie Etwaru, founder and CEO of Hu-manity.co, said in a news release. "People will enjoy greater levels of security, privacy and control while corporations will be able to lawfully benefit from access to higher quality data that has the explicit consent and authorization of its rightful owner."

Hu-manity.co plans to roll out an iPhone version of the app in the near future. The enterprise version for businesses who want to work with the company will be available to healthcare organizations in the first quarter of 2019.

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