Inrupt is betting that trusted organizations will initially be the sponsors of pods. The pods are free for users. If the concept takes off, low-cost or free personal data services — similar to today’s email services — could emerge.

The National Health Service has been working with Inrupt on a pilot project for the care of dementia patients that moves from development into the field this month. The early goal is to give caregivers access to a broader view of patients’ health, needs and preferences.

Each patient has a Solid pod with an “All About Me” form with information submitted by the patient or an authorized relative, supplementing the person’s electronic health record. The pod might list that the patient needs help for daily tasks like getting out of bed, tying shoelaces or going to the bathroom. It might also include what soothes the patient when agitated — perhaps country music or classic old movies. Later, activity data from an Apple Watch or Fitbit could be added.

The medical goal, said Scott Watson, technical director on the pilot project, is improved health and better care that are less stressful for the patient. “And it’s a fundamental change in how we share information in health care systems,” he said.

The initial project will begin with up to 50 patients in the Manchester region and be evaluated in a few months.

In Flanders, a region of more than six million people, the government hopes the new data technology can nurture opportunities for local entrepreneurs and companies and new services for citizens. Personal data in pods can be linked with public and private data to create new applications, said Raf Buyle, an information architect for the Flanders government.

One potential app, Mr. Buyle said, might suggest routes and modes of travel for work commutes, once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. Such an app, he said, could combine location data from a person’s smartphone, with preferences for exercise and reducing the carbon footprint, and weather and public transport schedules and bike or scooter rental pickup sites.

Orignially published in NYT.

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