Some say that we are now living in the Information Age, as we transition from industrialized business models to one where digital data processing takes over the controls. Key to this concept is the fact that data has value in itself, as it guides actions to make production and services more efficient and effective. One only has to look to Amazon for an example of how massive amounts of data can result in fundamental changes in how business is conducted. Perhaps one of the most valuable classes of data, however, is individual health information. As healthcare costs rise rapidly, data analytics offer a promising avenue to improve services while reducing the resources required.

Part of the problem is that this information is often trapped in “silos;” data in one healthcare system is generally inaccessible to physicians in another system. Patients may have access through portal systems, but a single patient may have to got to a half dozen or more portals to find all relevant records. A company is addressing this problem with a novel solution. The company is named Seqster; while you might be tempted to pronounce it as “sequester,” it is intended to be “seekster.” This service allows individuals to access all their health data across many sources in a single location. In addition to electronic health records (EHRs), the system also can pull data from genetic services and wearable devices. The system is built from the ground up to be a secure, HIPAA-compliant repository for individual data. It already connects with more than 3,000 hospitals and 40,000 physicians and small clinics.

Beyond individual diagnosis and treatment, patient data is also valuable as a source of information for research and analysis. The Seqster Research Portal is designed to give approved researchers access to de-personalized data. Individual patients can choose whether or not to make their data available to researchers. As a result, scientists can gain fast access to large populations of data for longitudinal studies and other important analytic projects.

Seqester is a business-to-business service, so it is only available through insurance companies, healthcare providers, and employers. As its footprint grows, it could well become the lingua franca for patient health data, giving individuals more access and control over their information.