Patients may one day make money by providing their medical data for research, NPR reports.
Medical data, it notes, is a big business as that information can fuel the development of new products and companies. Currently, hospitals and health plans can use the medical data they have — and, in the US, medical providers typically own the data in medical records, not the patients — for research or to improve "healthcare operations."
"If [a doctor is] trying to use your information in order to develop a product that he can then sell and make millions of dollars off of, that might not be a 'healthcare operation,'" Jodi Daniel, an attorney at Crowell & Moring, who helped write the federal law, tells NPR. "But there isn't a clear interpretation at this point."
But, NPR reports, some companies want to change that approach. Hu-manity.co wants to make it so that people's medical data is their own legal property and that they can specify how they want it — or don't want it — to be used. Companies would then pay an access fee to patients and Hu-manity.co.
"The data absolutely has a fair value," Michael DePalma, the company's founder and president, tells NPR. "It's a $60 billion business right now, just in medical data, right? So why should we not have some component of that?"