The health sector is undergoing a revolution fuelled by ‘big data’. The amount of health data in the world is growing so rapidly that it is expected to double every 73 days by the year 2020.  Whilst the health sector has always generated huge amounts of data, this data has only relatively recently started becoming available in digital form, triggering an avalanche of useful data that has traditionally been poorly managed. In the health sector and elsewhere, these massive quantities of data—colloquially called ‘big data’—are characterised by high velocity, complexity and variability. The growth of big data has rapidly outpaced storage, distribution, processing and analysis capabilities, while simultaneously kicking off an information revolution.
The health sector itself is a multi-trillion-dollar machine comprised of numerous industries and institutions including life sciences companies, academia, and government organisations. The availability of health data has shown much promise in tackling some of the greatest problems facing mankind today. At the same time, health data are overwhelming, not only because of the volume and diversity of data types but also because of the speed at which they are created. In response, new technologies, including blockchain, distributed ledger, cloud computing and data science techniques, are being increasingly utilised by companies and organisations to unleash the full potential of health data like never before.
Pharmaceutical, biomedical and other life sciences companies are using health data to discover the next generation of drugs, therapies, diagnostics and other medical products. Academics and clinicians are using health data to create new models of healthcare and to enable the next generation of healthcare delivery, termed ‘precision medicine’. Health insurance companies are using health data to inform business decisions and improve performance. Governments are using health data to inform public health policies and optimise health sector spending. Every stakeholder in the health sector is increasingly reliant on health big data, making it an increasingly valuable commodity.
The traditional business model of contemporary health data companies is to collect, curate and sell health data to buyers. This model generates billions of dollars in annual revenue for health data companies. Furthermore, licensing deals involving remuneration for revenues generated from the utilisation of data can generate even greater returns. Indeed, the health data brokerage industry alone is estimated to be worth around $47 billion (USD). The pharmaceutical industry alone has a combined market size of nearly $1 trillion (USD) and an annual research and development budget of over $150 billion (USD). A single new drug created from the use of health data can generate billions of dollars in revenue. Similar potential exists for breakthroughs in the multi-trillion-dollar personal-wellness industry. The health IoT market is growing rapidly, and the ‘smart healthcare’ market is expected to reach $169.3 billion (USD) by 2020, with a significant portion expected to be from remote monitoring.  Other multi-billion-dollar industries affected directly by health data include the medtech, biotech and healthcare analytics markets. Insights from health data are crucial to informing policy and maximising profits within the multi-trillion-dollar insurance market. Health data are also crucial for informing government health spending decisions and policies. In fact, it is estimated that around 20% of the healthcare spending in OECD countries is wasted and that the healthcare industry could benefit from an estimated $300 billion (USD) in annual savings by making better use of big data. ,  Therefore, health big data transcends several multi-billion and multi-trillion-dollar industries within the health sector.
Currently, no health data marketplace exists where all stakeholders can easily search, connect, trade and utilise health data. Instead companies purchase, curate and sell data through slow and expensive individually-brokered deals, resulting in large inefficiencies and underutilisation of health data. Additionally, a new generation of blockchain health data companies are providing health data owners with greater control, security and remuneration of their data. Hundreds more of these health data decentralised apps (DApps) are expected to emerge but lack a decentralised platform uniquely tailored to the demands of health data.
HealthDex is a first-of-its-kind health data blockchain platform and decentralised exchange. The HealthDex blockchain platform is the perfect choice for new health data DApps and traditional health data companies wanting to migrate to the blockchain. HealthDex provides DApps with a range of on-demand enterprise solutions, such as decentralised data storage and optimal data processing using the uniquely tailored health database, HealthDexDB.
The HealthDex decentralised exchange is an off-chain decentralized marketplace where health data vendors, consumers and other participants can easily search, connect, trade and utilise health data. The HealthDex tokenised service layer enables frictionless transactions and remuneration, whilst ensuring appropriate incentivisation of nodes participating in the HealthDex network. Because revenues are primarily generated from commission fees, HealthDex is incentivised to maximise the number of market participants and trading volume on the HealthDex platform. In the process, HealthDex will enable platform participants to generate ongoing medical discoveries, health insights and improved models of healthcare.
|||IBM, “Healthcare’s Data Dilemma: a Blessing or a Curse?,” 2018 (accessed).|
|||Technavio, Global Smart Healthcare Market 2016-2020, 2016.|
|||OECD, “Tackling Wasteful Spending on Health,” OECD Publishing, Paris, 2017.|
|||IBM, “How Big Data Equals Untapped Opportunities and Savings,” 2018 (accessed). [Online]. Available: https://www.ibm.com/watson/infographic/discovery/big-data-savings/.|