#humblethoughts on Data Privacy: A conversation with Dr. George Mathew, Chief Medical Officer, Americas at DXC

Earlier this month, Hewlett-Packard Enterprises spun-out its Enterprise Service segment, and merged it with Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) to create a new publicly traded entity called DXC, an independent multibillion-dollar, end-to-end IT services company.

About half of DXC’s clients sit in five digital-intensive industries: healthcare, banking, energy, travel/transportation, and insurance, where DXC is the top provider of software and services globally.

Our good friend George Mathew is the Chief Medical Officer of Americas Health, Public Sector and Regulated Industries at DXC.

We recently caught up with him in NYC and had the opportunity to get his thoughts on data privacy and consumer empowerment.

We are creating stacks of data all around us — and we need to protect and embrace it. One way to think about it is based on the concept of VRM (Vendor Relationship Management). I wrote about it four years ago here when exploring the implications of eye tracking and bias with Google Glass wearables. The below excerpt is more relevant today than ever — we need to build a market for our data and pathways to revenue.

We should … put in safeguards and monetization channels around OUR data. We are effectively becoming a node in the network — and as such should be recompensed for our participation. Doc Searls has been doing a lot of thinking about this since his Cluetrain Manifesto. His theory of VRM (Vendor Relationship Management) provides consumers with the ability to have granular control over the data they produce as it relates to the vendors that might use it. In a recent article in Harvard Business Review entitled ‘Free Customers are More Valuable Customers’ he says:
For the past six years I’ve led ProjectVRM at Harvard’s Berkman Center, fostering development of tools and services that give customers two advantages:
1. Independence from vendors; and
2. Better ways of engaging with vendors.
VRM stands for vendor relationship management. Think of it as the customer-side counterpart of CRM, or customer relationship management. With VRM, customers have ways of speaking their wants, needs and preferences in relationships with individual vendors — and simultaneously “at scale” in the open marketplace across many vendors. For example, think about what a pain it is to change your contact information for every vendor separately. If you could do it once for all of them, that’s working at scale — for you.
VRM helps:
Provide a way for the individual to gather and store his or her own data from transactions in a reusable way.
Provide ways for managing the use of that personal data in relationships with vendors.
Provide ways to “intentcast” demand for products and services to whole markets, outside any one vendor’s silo.
Provide means by which levels of trust can be established between customers and providers and put to use.
Provide ways for individuals to express their own policies, preferences and terms of service, which can be matched with those of companies open to negotiation.
Serve as agents for individuals, known as “fourth parties”.

On Friday, April 28th at the annual Health Datapalooza, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that they would enable Medicare beneficiaries to connect their claims data to third-party apps, services and research programs of their choosing that they trust. This is a step in the right direction to putting ownership into the hands of individuals and building nodes in the ecosystem of personal health data. We need the support of payers and we need incentives for the enterprise to liberate their data and make it interoperable. If this happens, we might be able to realize personal control and benefit around our health data — and it might just keep us healthy.