VRM: Wake up, opt-out and take over.
Written By William Corke, 254 days ago
Doc Searls’ recent book The Intention Economy (subtitle; ‘When Customers Take Charge’) has been much debated in this office over the past few months. We’re quite sure that some proportion of consumers will, in the course of the next few years, choose to remove their personal data from the hands of corporations, and begin to manage the organisations that will have access to it, including which parts of it and when. Power to the people!
This then is Vendor Relationship Management – VRM – a 180 degree shift from the corporate database marketing programmes of the past 30 years that have fallen under the label of Customer Relationship Management – CRM.
At the heart of how VRM will operate is a secure platform on which individuals can store, manage and control limited access by third and so-called ‘fourth parties’ to their personal data. People – Doc Searls and others – are working on how common standards for this platform might be established.
This weekend an interesting UK business called Patients Know Best was featured on BBC Radio 4’s In Business programme titled ‘A Great Disruption’. This is how Patients Know Best describes itself:
Patients Know Best (PKB) is the first company to integrate into the NHS Connecting for Health network to offer secure tools for patients to work with clinicians. Patients using the PKB website can:
- Send and receive messages securely with their clinicians, e.g. to ask questions about the use of insulin.
- Send data to their clinicians, e.g. daily blood sugar results.
- Access the medical notes from their clinicians, e.g. three-monthly HbA1c levels for long-term sugar control.
The company primarily sells its tools to health care institutions so they can provide these services to their patients.
Patients Know Best was chosen as a finalist in Seedcamp 2009.
In other words, PKB is a VRM platform; a fourth party. The current cost of the PKB to individual consumers is £10 per month or £100 per year. In my view this is possibly a bit high and likely to be a barrier to large scale adoption. Is the storage and control (ownership) of your medical records really a source of worry for many consumers, to the point that they would be willing to pay to remove that worry?
Do any of you know of other VRM-style platforms or initiatives of this kind?