Health News

Hu-manity releases health data app based on IBM Blockchain


Today announced the launch of its mobile My31 App which is built using IBM’s Blockchain. The app won’t store the health data but will allow people to control the use of their health data.

The name of the app is a nod to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which consists of thirty rights.

The aim is to build a marketplace for data, which the startup estimates will be worth $150-200 billion annually. The announcement said: “through features like immutability and decentralization, blockchain makes it possible for organizations and individuals to interact in a more transparent manner.”

Richie Etwaru, CEO at said: “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.”

To take control over health data, it’s important for individuals to have a digital identity. The Sovrin Network is one of the leading identity networks, and its technology is now part of Hyperledger Indy. plans to collaborate with IBM to integrate the identity network with the ecosystem.

The new app is currently available on Android in the US. The enterprise version for businesses who want to partner with will be available in the first quarter of 2019.

Reasons for sharing

There are many reasons to share health data. And creating a marketplace for selling data is only one of them. Perhaps the most important purpose is to share data between health providers if say you get a referral to a specialist.

Last week a health data sharing network went live in Taiwan with a leading university using the “personal health record Operating System” or phrOS. In this case, the primary purpose was for referrals. Though this project also plans to enable a marketplace. Additionally, in Taiwan, most private patients pay for treatments themselves and then reclaim from insurers. Sharing data with insurers can speed up the process.

In addition to sharing Electronic Health Records for research and clinical trials, there’s also the potential to share genomic information. One of the startups in this area is Nebula Genomics which recently closed a funding round.

Risks and standards

A major issue with sharing health data is what happens after it’s shared. Because there’s a risk it could then be stored and you lose control over it. The IEEE is working on technical standards for how to store this sort of health data. For example, it’s possible for a research lab to run tests on encrypted data without actually being able to access the underlying data.

There are other risks as well. If you pay someone for data will the financial incentive corrupt the value of the data? And sometimes non-monetary rewards can be a more powerful incentive. Perhaps there’s a research project that could possibly prevent a future illness that is prevalent in your family.

In Europe the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) is planning a substantial health blockchain project. It’s inviting groups to collaborate and apply for funding.