Ernie Ludy doesn’t normally give interviews. He cashed out of the pioneering medical data business he founded more than three decades ago and has mostly stayed out of the public eye, preferring to quietly pursue his passion for disruption at a Florida-based private equity firm.
He made an exception when STAT called to discuss the sale of his now sprawling MarketScan databases by IBM, which unloaded the core assets of its failed Watson Health business in January to an investment company in California.
Since Ludy left the business in 1994 — turning a personal profit of $37 million — MarketScan has grown dramatically in its size and influence, now including de-identified data on the medical needs and costs of more than 270 million Americans. But as the database evolved, so did the world around it, exposing the patients whose highly sensitive data it holds to new risks and profit motives.
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