Every once in a while I need to say this sentence loud and clear to assure myself of its simple truth since there are many people who are planning the future of healthcare with my data – and we here at VISUS are among them. The brain power that’s currently being invested in the intelligent use of the enormous amounts of data is extremely important, if not vital for the future of healthcare delivery. Many approaches to Smart Data are based on the idea that health data are pulled from the institutions and collected at a central point for further analysis. In such a scenario, I personally am not only the beneficiary – as potential patient – of Smart Data, I am also the owner and supplier of the “goods” that make Smart Data possible. As the owner I might want to make my CT images or ECG data, if only temporarily, available for scientific purposes or to a commercial provider. In order to be able to do so, I must be the master of my data – maintain them and grant access to them, let’s say via a smartphone app.  From the point of view of a highly innovative IT company this idea opens up very exciting perspectives. Providers of hospital IT with the necessary know-how and experience regarding data handling and privacy issues can offer such applications, transfer the data to the patient, manage and store the data, trigger their transmission to physicians and make them available for commercial or scientific Smart Data purposes. A gigantic market!

In practice, however, this theory falls at the same hurdle as institutions do in their attempt to manage data: currently it is impossible to make all healthcare data available across institutions in a structured way and on a unified semantic and syntactic foundation. This is why we at VISUS are working full throttle on removing this obstacle and make Smart Data a reality. How are we doing that? For starters, we developed JiveX Medical Archive, the foundation for consolidated and standard-compliant data management that is the precondition for data exchange. Going forward, we will not only offer the necessary infrastructure for institutional data exchange – which will no doubt continue to be highly relevant – but we will also help to enable healthcare institutions to make these cumulated data available to the patient, who, after all, is the legal owner of the data.