Cleveland Clinic backs company selling searchable patient data

The Cleveland Clinic is backing a company that will give researchers searchable access to de-identified patient data, as well as allowing participants to share their own data.

The new company, Explorys, is built around the patient database search engine the Clinic developed previously. Companies that sign on to participate--who will pay an annual subscription fee--can search available data and also analyze their own in-house information to find cohorts for clinical trials. The company will launch sometime next year.

Current parents in Explorys include healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies. Right now, Explorys isn't pitching health insurers, though it may do so in the future.

Some privacy advocates have expressed concern that the new database search capabilities might not protect patients' individual data well enough. Company leaders, however, argue that they have a lot of experience with data privacy and intrusion protection, and that they'll make sure the data is well protected before Explorys launches.

To get more background on this project:
- read this American Medical News piece

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