Thursday, August 15, 2013

Decentralisation of Information Is Good - If You Understand It


Those in Canada are well aware of the "eHealth Scandal" here.  For those not aware, take a standard 2000's "Electronic Patient Records" you've heard from every country on the planet, throw in sharing of information, drug profiling, etc, and that is what they were trying to build.  

The reality was the standard Government project with cost-overruns, a trial by media, a system that got shelved and rebooted under a new name, and to this day it's not running.

In some ways this is a good thing - and it's actually left Canada in a slightly better position than if it had stuck to it's guns and rolled this dinosaur out.

In the decade since this type of project started being mandated across first world countries, the landscape has changed a lot.  The biggest shift is the decentralization of information and services.  In the old days a central person or organization was responsible for nearly every part of your lives - and now most people take on the burden of those services.  This started with the physical "Self Serve" models found in gas stations, supermarkets, etc, and has ballooned to the point where we do most things now that we used to rely on someone else to do for us.  

This however is a double-edged sword, because we're now in what's called a "knowledge economy" or "information economy" - where the key commodity that you pay for (or get paid for) is information, yet people forget that most times, they are the actual source of the information.

When you look at all the big players, this transaction is always very one-sided.  Even when it looks like you're getting something for nothing, the other party is being paid somewhere along the line - whether it's your free email service, free social media, free draw to win a LCD TV if you fill out a quick questionnaire.

Take your health data.  If it's now not going to the Government eHealth system, but is staying with the consumer, where the consumer has control over it's collection and storage, then in theory, the consumer should be able to monitise this at a later point, right?

Wrong.  

There's two industries that will show up and weasel that information out of the public for free.  The first is the drugs companies.  The second is the insurance industry.  Once they have your knowledge, they can renegotiate terms or end promotional offers of cheaper life insurance if you hand over your RunKeeper log, or Fitness schedule.

Conclusion:
The average person is still blind to what they think is a good deal.  They never ask "Who is this more important to? Them or me?".