WO2002013040A1 - Information transmission and collection apparatus and method - Google Patents

Information transmission and collection apparatus and method Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2002013040A1
WO2002013040A1 PCT/US2001/019588 US0119588W WO0213040A1 WO 2002013040 A1 WO2002013040 A1 WO 2002013040A1 US 0119588 W US0119588 W US 0119588W WO 0213040 A1 WO0213040 A1 WO 0213040A1
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
individual
recited
information
subscriber
information relating
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2001/019588
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Keith Richard Holbrook
Kent Forrest Kumbroch
Original Assignee
Keith Richard Holbrook
Kent Forrest Kumbroch
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US63523700A priority Critical
Priority to US09/635,237 priority
Application filed by Keith Richard Holbrook, Kent Forrest Kumbroch filed Critical Keith Richard Holbrook
Publication of WO2002013040A1 publication Critical patent/WO2002013040A1/en

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Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L63/00Network architectures or network communication protocols for network security
    • H04L63/08Network architectures or network communication protocols for network security for supporting authentication of entities communicating through a packet data network
    • H04L63/0823Network architectures or network communication protocols for network security for supporting authentication of entities communicating through a packet data network using certificates
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L63/00Network architectures or network communication protocols for network security
    • H04L63/08Network architectures or network communication protocols for network security for supporting authentication of entities communicating through a packet data network
    • H04L63/083Network architectures or network communication protocols for network security for supporting authentication of entities communicating through a packet data network using passwords
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L63/00Network architectures or network communication protocols for network security
    • H04L63/08Network architectures or network communication protocols for network security for supporting authentication of entities communicating through a packet data network
    • H04L63/0861Network architectures or network communication protocols for network security for supporting authentication of entities communicating through a packet data network using biometrical features, e.g. fingerprint, retina-scan

Abstract

An apparatus and method for providing information. The information is stored by a service provider (20) and relates to various individuals (30). Subscribers (40) having a relationship with an individual (30) can obtain information relevant to the relationship relating to the individual (30) upon requesting the information from the service provider (20). The relevant information is determined by the business of the subscriber (40) and/or relationship between the subscriber (40) and the individual (30). The individual (30) can modify the stored information at any time.

Description

INFORMATION TRANSMISSION AND COLLECTION APPARATUS AND METHOD

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Related Application Data

This application is a continuation-in-part of copending application Serial No. 09/288,162 filed on April 8, 1999.

Field of the Invention:

The invention relates to information transmission and more particularly to an apparatus and method for collecting information relating to an individual and selectively transmitting the information to parties authorized by the individual to receive the information.

Description of the Related Art:

Information generally, and personal information in particular, is a very valuable commodity. Personal information is collected and exchanged on a daily basis. For example, every time an individual applies for a loan or other credit, visits a new doctor, applies for employment, purchases travel tickets, reserves a hotel room, or takes part in various other routine transactions, personal information is requested. The personal information can be exchanged by filling out a form or answering questions verbally. Of course, much of the personal information, such as name, date of birth, address, and the like, is relatively static, i.e. does not change over time, and is requested repeatedly by various parties. There are literally millions of forms being filled out every week by people, businesses, or other entities, to supply information in a redundant manner. The forms are not only lengthy, but often require information that is not readily available to the individual without research, e.g. sorting through bank or insurance records. Accordingly, individuals find themselves repeatedly providing the same information to plural parties, and even to the same parties. Accordingly, a great deal of time and energy is wasted and the likelihood of errors is increased each time the information is collected. This results in increased costs on the part of the parties collecting the information and inconvenience to the individual providing the information.

Further, there are instances where personal information is required of someone who is unconscious or otherwise unable to communicate the information, such as during a medical emergency. At other times, the individual may be able to communicate but circumstances make it emotionally difficult to do so. For example shortly after the death of a loved one or in the case of treatment of a potentially embarrassing medical condition. The tediousness of conventional information delivery methods merely compounds the discomfort of such situations.

Various systems for compiling personal information in a central location, such as a database, are well known. For example, there are many credit bureaus and other organizations that collect personal information, such as information relating to a person's credit history, from various sources. For example, credit bureaus collect information relating to an individual's credit history from various creditors of the individual, such as banks, merchants, and other institutions. Also, credit bureaus release the collected information to anyone paying the requisite fee or otherwise qualifying to receive the information without permission being granted by the individual. In many cases, the individual is not even aware of the content of the information, that the information has been released, or to whom it has been released. Also, the information is collected without input on the part of the individual to whom the information relates and thus is often inaccurate and incomplete. Accordingly, conventional information distribution systems do not give the individual control over the content of the information or the parties having access to the information.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is an object of the invention to give an individual control over the content of information relating to the individual and provided to third parties.

It is another object of the invention to give an individual control over access by third parties to information relating to the individual.

It is another object of the invention to reduce errors in transmission of information relating to individuals.

It is another object of the invention to reduce costs associated with transmitting information relating to individuals.

It is another object of the invention to permit information relating to individuals to be transmitted in a discreet manner.

It is another object of the invention to eliminate redundancy in transmitting information relating to individuals. To achieve the objects above, a first aspect of the invention is an information apparatus for providing information relating to an individual to a subscriber upon request by the subscriber and authorization by the individual. The apparatus comprises a storage device for storing a record of information relating to an individual, a request channel for permitting a subscriber to request the information relating to the individual stored on the storage device, an authorization channel for permitting the individual to authorize transmission of the information relating to the individual from the storage device to the subscriber, and a transmission channel for transmitting at least selected portions of the information relating to the individual from the storage device to the subscriber when the subscriber has requested the information relating to the individual through the request channel and the individual has authorized transmission of the information relating to the individual through the authorization channel.

A second aspect of the invention is a method for providing information relating to an individual to a subscriber upon request by the subscriber and authorization by the individual. The method comprises the steps of storing a record of information relating to an individual, requesting, by the subscriber, the information relating to the individual stored on the storage device, authorizing, by the individual, transmission of the information relating to the individual from the storage device to the subscriber, and transmitting at least selected portions of the information relating to the individual from the storage device to the subscriber after the requesting and the authorizing step.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING The invention is described through a preferred embodiment and the attached drawing in which corresponding elements are labeled with the same reference numerals and in which:

Fig. 1 is a schematic illustration of an information system in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention; Fig. 2 is a schematic illustration of a computer architecture for use with the preferred embodiment;

Fig. 3 is a flow chart of the individual registration process of the preferred embodiment;

Fig. 4 is a flow chart of the subscriber registration process of the preferred embodiment;

Fig. 5 is a flow chart of the information transaction process of the preferred embodiment;

Fig. 6 is a flow chart of the information modifying process of the preferred embodiment; Figs. 7a and 7b illustrate a two page profile form of the preferred embodiment;

Figs. 8a and 8b illustrate a two page information transmission form of the preferred embodiment;

Figs. 9a and 9b illustrate another two page information transmission form of the preferred embodiment; and

Fig. 10 is a schematic illustration of another embodiment for use in a pharmaceutical-based application.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS The invention relates to a system for collecting information relating to an individual and transmitting the information to various subscribers. Fig. 1 schematically illustrates an overview of a preferred embodiment of the invention. Information system 100 includes service provider 20, individual 30, and subscriber 40, all having appropriate channels of communication with one another. As disclosed below, the channels of communication can be accomplished through an electronic communication link, through the mail or other courier service, or in any other manner that permits the requisite data or information to be transmitted. The channels of communication need not be established continuously but can be intermittent as will be seen below. The phrase "service provider", as used herein, refers to an entity or entities who collect, store, and transmit information, such as information stored in a centralized database or the like. The term "individual", as used herein, refers to a person, a group of persons, or another entity, having common information relating thereto, such as an address, name, or the like. Accordingly, an "individual" can be a person, a family, a company, a legal entity such as a corporation, or the like. The term "subscriber", as used herein, refers to an entity requiring information relating to an individual. The term "channel", as used herein, refers to any course of communication or apparatus therefor, such as electronic communication, verbal communication, or written communication. The term "record", as used herein, refers to any entry of information, such as a database file or record, a written entry, or the like. The term "transmit", as used herein, refers to sending, conveying, delivering, furnishing, or otherwise making information or data available.

Service provider 20 serves as a broker on behalf of individual 30 and processes applications from businesses, people, or other individuals desiring the capability of providing information to various subscribers 40. Service provider 20 also processes applications from businesses or the like as subscribers 40 desiring potentially to receive information from individuals 30. Of course, there can be plural individuals 30 and plural subscribers 40. Also, there can be one or more service providers 20. In the case of plural service providers 20, it is desirable that the service providers 20 share information to avoid incompatibilities and redundancies. Service provider 20 stores information relating to individuals 30, classifies and certifies subscribers 40 and issues account numbers or other identification, as described in detail below.

Individual 30 may be a person, business or other entity that has requested inclusion into system 100 by applying for an account with service provider 20. Individual 30 submits a comprehensive amount of information, through the profile form disclosed below or in any other manner, such as personal information, to be stored by service provider 20 as information related to individual 30. During or after the individual application process, service provider 20 assigns an account number and a personal identification number (PIN), or other identifying data, to individual 30. Subsequently, the identifying data is used by individual 30 to authorize transmittal of portions or all of the information relating to individual 30 from service provider 20 to a particular subscriber 40. The identifying data is also used to modify the stored information as discussed below. Subscriber 40 is an entity that has agreed to terms and conditions, such as terms for transmittal of information and payment to service provider 20. Service provider 20 classifies and certifies the type of business of subscriber 40 and the classification can be used to ascertain which information is to be transmitted to subscriber 40, as disclosed in greater detail below. For example, if subscriber 40 is classified as a "Medical Service Provider", such as a physician or dentist, subscriber 40 may be authorized to receive only medical history information and miscellaneous information, but not financial data, and the like. However, if desired, individual 30 can override the classification and authorize information outside of the classification of subscriber 40 to be provided to subscriber 40. For example, if subscriber 40 is a doctor (classified as a "Medical Services Provider") who will be providing a revolving credit account for individual 30 who is a patient, individual 30 may wish to authorize the transmittal of financial history information to subscriber 40 for approval of the credit account. Service provider 20 transmits the appropriate information in accordance with authorization by individual 30 and classification of subscriber 40 as disclosed in greater detail below. Fig. 2 is a schematic illustration of a computer architecture for use with the preferred embodiment which is implemented on a global communications network, such as the Internet. Individual 30 uses computer 32, such as a personal computer, a data terminal, a kiosk, or the like, to communicate with service provider 20. Computer 32 is coupled to Internet backbone 60 through modem 34, phone line 36, Internet Service Provider (ISP) 50a, and high speed communications link 48a in a known manner. Computer 32 can be running an operating system having a graphical user interface (GUI) such as Microsoft Windows 98™, and an application program known as a "web browser" that permits a graphical user interface to be used to control communications over the Internet through Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and a standard page description language known as Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). The collection of Internet servers using HTTP is known as the "World Wide Web" or the "web". Computer 22 is associated with service provider 20 and can be a personal computer, a server, a minicomputer, a collection of computers, a computer network, or the like. Computer 22 has storage devices 24, such as magnetic hard discs, for storing information, processor 26 for controlling the flow of information in accordance with a control program stored in storage devices 24, and random access memory (RAM) 28 used as a workspace for processor 26. Computer 22 is coupled to Internet backbone 60 through high speed communications link 48c. Of course, computer 22 can be coupled to Internet backbone 60 through a modem and an ISP in a manner similar to computer 32.

Computer 42, such as a personal computer, a data terminal, a kiosk, or the like, is associated with subscriber 40 to communicate with service provider 20 and to receive information transmitted from service provider 20. Computer 42 is coupled to Internet backbone 60 through modem 44, phone line 46, Internet Service Provider (ISP) 50b, and high-speed communications link 48b in a manner similar to computer 32. Computer 42 can also be running an operating system and a web browser. Of course, computer 32 and computer 42 can be connected directly to Internet backbone 60 in a manner similar to computer 22. However, such a connection is not ordinarily economical for the relatively small amounts of data transfer required by computer 32 and computer 42. All communications between computers 22, 32, and 42, can be accomplished using TCP/IP and HTTP in particular, or other known protocols. In the preferred embodiment, modems 34 and 44, phone lines 36 and 46, ISPs 50a and 50b, communications links 48a, 48b, 48c, and Internet backbone 60 provide the various communication channels for transmittal of information in the form of an electrical signal or data. Fig. 3 is a flowchart illustrating the process of registration of individual 30 with service provider 20 conducted in accordance with the control program of computer 22. The process starts in step A and proceeds to either step B or step B'. In the alternative of step B, individual 30 accesses the web site of service provider 20 with the web browser on computer 32, over the Internet or, more precisely, the World Wide Web. Individual 30 then fills out an application and information profile by entering information into fields displayed on the screen of computer 32 in a known manner. When the information has been entered, a "submit" button or the like is activated on the screen of computer 32 to cause the information to be transmitted over the web (acting as an information providing channel) to computer 22. In the alternative of step B', individual 30 acquires an application form and information profile form from service provider 20 or accesses the web site of service provider 20. Individual 30 then fills out an application and information profile by entering information into fields displayed on the screen of computer 32 or into the fields on the forms, in a known manner. When the information has been entered, a "print" button or the like is activated on the screen of computer 32 (in the case of access over the web) to cause the information to be printed out on a form for submission through an alternative information providing channel to service provider 20. Such alternative information providing channels can be the mail or other courier, facsimile, or verbal. If the forms are obtained from service provider 20, the forms can be filled out and submitted to service provider 20 via the alternative information providing channels without the need for printing the forms. The profile can include a certification by individual 30 that all provided information is accurate and an assumption of liability for false information. Alternatively, the entire transaction can take place on-line by including in the on-line application form a field requiring a digital signature, such as an e-signature, of individual 30 for transmission over the Internet, thereby obviating the need for tangible forms to create a legally- binding transaction.

In step C, the application and information profile are received by service provider 20, either directly into computer 22 or by data entry into computer 22 and an account number and a PIN are assigned to individual 30 and are stored in computer 22, for identification purposes. In step D, the information on the profile is stored as a file, database record, other record, or the like, on one or more of storage devices 24 of computer 22 in association with the account number and PIN assigned to individual 30. The assigned account number and PIN can be stored in the same file or record as the information. In step E, the successful processing is confirmed to individual 30 through mail, email, phone, or the like and individual 30 is notified of their account number and PIN in a similar manner. Preferably, the PIN is transmitted in a secure manner, such as through the mail or by using encryption or other secure data transmission techniques. The application process for individual 20 ends in step F.

Fig. 4 is a flow chart illustrating the process of registration for subscriber 40 in accordance with the control program of computer 22. Subscriber 40 can be any entity potentially requiring information from customers, visitors, potential employees, or others who are existing or potential individuals 30. For example, subscriber 40 can be a doctor (including dentists, optometrist, and orthodontists), an automobile dealer, a financial institution (including banks, loan agents, and stock brokerage houses), a leasing agent, a hospital or emergency medical service provider, a utility company, a university or other educational institution, a travel agent or airline, an accountant or tax preparer, a real estate broker or leasing company, an insurance company, a pharmacist, a government agency, a potential employer of any kind, or any vendor or other party. The subscriber registration process begins in step F and continues to either one of step G or step G'. In the alternative of step G, subscriber 40 reviews the benefits, details, conditions, and obligations (such as payment obligations, confidentiality provisions, and the like) by logging onto the web site of service provider 20 with computer 42, or through printed brochures or the like. Subscriber 40 then completes an on-line application by filling in subscriber information in various fields displayed on the screen of computer 42 in a known manner. The subscriber information may include the name and address of subscriber 40, credit information of subscriber 40 in the event that service provider 20 will extend credit to subscriber 40, information relating to the type of business conducted by subscriber 40 for the purposes of classifying subscriber 40 and certifying subscriber 40 for receipt of particular types of information relating to individuals 30, as is described in greater detail below. Also, the subscriber information can include a certification of accuracy of the information and an assumption of liability for false information. In addition, the on-line application could include a field for supplying a digital signature, such as an e-signature, by subscriber 40 for transmission over the Internet. When the information has been entered, a "submit" button or the like is activated on the screen of computer 42 to cause the information to be transmitted over the web to computer 22. Alternatively, in step G', subscriber 40 reviews the benefits, details, conditions, and obligations (such as payment obligations and the like) by logging onto the web site of service provider 20 with computer 42, or through printed brochures or the like. Subscriber 40 then completes an on-line application by filling in information in various fields displayed on the screen of computer 42 in a known manner or subscriber 40 completes a pre-printed application. Once again the subscriber information may include the name and address of subscriber 40, credit information of subscriber 40 in the event that service provider 20 will extend credit to subscriber 40, and information relating to the type of business conducted by subscriber 40 for the purposes of classifying subscriber 40 and certifying subscriber 40 for receipt of particular types of information relating to individuals 30, as is described in greater detail below. When the information has been entered on screen, a "print" button or the like is activated on the screen of computer 42 to print out the completed application and the application is submitted to service provider 20 through the mail, other courier or any appropriate alternative channel. If a printed application was filled out, the application is submitted through the mail other courier or other channel. In step H, service provider 20 receives the application information from subscriber 40 (either over the web or through an alternative channel and data entry on the part of service provider 20). The information is reviewed and, if approved, subscriber 40 is issued an account number and a classification indicating the type of information relating to individuals 30 that can be provided to subscriber 40. The classification can be by business type, such as "Medical Service Provider", or can indicate particular field numbers that will be provided to subscriber 40 to create a custom classification. The field numbers are described in detail below. Classification can be certified by conducting research with respect to subscriber 40. For example, various databases can be searched.

In step I, the account number and classification information is transmitted to subscriber 40 and a final agreement is transmitted to subscriber 40. Step I can be accomplished over the web or through any appropriate channels, such as overnight courier, standard mail, or the like. The subscriber registration ends in step J. In the event that the subscriber application is rejected due to poor credit, the inability of service provider 20 to classify subscriber 40 or any other reason, the process proceeds from step H to step I' in which rejection information is transmitted to subscriber 40 indicating that the application has been rejected and why the application has been rejected. The classification noted above can be accomplished through any appropriate mechanism, such as by comparing SIC codes or product descriptions.

Fig. 5 is a flowchart of the information transaction process in which authorized information relating to individual 30 is transmitted to subscriber 40. The process starts in step K and proceeds to step L in which individual 30 interacts with subscriber 40 who requires information relating to individual 30, such as personal information. For example, individual 30 may be applying for a loan from subscriber 40 and thus subscriber 40 requires financial information, address information and history, and the like, relating to individual 30. In step M, subscriber 40 requests that individual 30 authorize the transmittal of information relating to individual 30 from service provider 20 to subscriber 40. In step N, individual 30 provides their account number and PIN to service provider 20 by entering the same into computer 42 through a keypad, use of a magnetic card encoded with the same, or through any other channel. The authorization, in the form of the account number and PIN, is transmitted to service provider 30 along with a request for the information by subscriber 40, which request contains the account number of subscriber 40 for verification of classification of subscriber 40. An alternative to using a PIN would be a digital signature, such as an e-signature, for transmission to service provider 30 over the Internet that would authorize the release of information to subscriber 40. Accordingly, the Internet serves as a request channel and authorization channel in the preferred embodiment. At this time, individual 30 can be prompted to confirm the classification of subscriber 40 to avoid transmitting unauthorized information to subscriber 40. For example, if subscriber 40 is classified as a "Medical Service Provider" but individual 30 is merely applying for employment with subscriber 40, individual 30 will not want subscriber 40 to receive medical history information. In fact, it may be desirable to display the information for review by individual 30 prior to transmission to subscriber 40.

In step O, service provider 20 receives the request for information from subscriber 40 and the authorization from individual 30, verifies the request and authorization by comparison to records stored in storage devices 24, and accesses records corresponding to individual 30 stored in storage devices 24. At this time, computer 22 of service provider 40, in accordance with the control program thereof, populates an electronic information transmission form corresponding to the classification of subscriber 40 with information relating to individual 30. For example, if the classification of subscriber 40 is a "Mortgage Broker", the form will contain only financial records, address information, and miscellaneous information of the particular individual 30 corresponding to the account number and PIN transmitted. An information transmission form can be configured to contain any appropriate information depending on the classification of subscriber 40. The information transmission form populated with the proper information is transmitted from computer 22 to computer 42 over the Web which serves as a transmission channel. Of course, it is desirable that some sort of secure encryption be used in the transmission to avoid receipt of the information by unauthorized parties. The information transmission form can be transmitted in a standard data format or protocol such as in ASCII, EDI, or the like for use by subscriber 40 and for being imported into a database or the like on computer 42. The form can be viewed printed, or stored by subscriber 40. The process ends in step P.

It is apparent from the description above, that individual 30 has complete control over the content and transmission of information. In particular, individual 30 provides the information in the individual registration process, as illustrated in Fig. 3, and authorizes release of the information prior to transmittal thereof to a subscriber, as illustrated in Fig. 5. However, information, such as personal information, often changes over time. Accordingly, individual 30 may wish to modify the content of information stored by service provider 20. Fig. 6 is a flow chart illustrating a process of modifying the stored information. The process begins in step Q and continues to step R in which individual 30 logs onto the web page of service provider 20 to request modification of information, or requests an information modification form through the mail, over the telephone, or through any other channel. If modifications are to made on-line, the process proceeds to step S in which individual 30 enters their account number and PIN for identification. The stored information relating to individual 30 is retrieved from storage devices 24 and displayed on the screen of computer 32 in a modification form. Individual 30 can then edit the information, in step T as desired and request that the edited information be saved using the web browser graphical interface. The modification process then ends at step X. If the modification is conducted through the mail or other channel, the process proceeds from step R to step U in which service provider 20 provides a modification form to individual 30 through the mail or other channel. In step V, individual 30 fills out the form indicating modifications to the stored information relating to individual 30. For example, the form can be a printout of some or all of the information relating to individual 30 stored in storage devices 24 with additional fields for changing the information. In step W, service provider 20 receives the form by mail or other channel and enters the changes manually to modify the record corresponding to individual 30 in storage devices 24. Of course, the modification form can be of a type that can be scanned by an optical device, or the like, to avoid manual data entry by service provider 30. Figs. 7a and 7b are an example of a two page profile form for providing information relating to individual 30 to service provider 20. Fig. 7a illustrates a first page 100 of the form and Fig. 7b illustrates a second page 200 of the form. The form is separated into categories of information, such as General Category 110, Medical/Dental Category 120, Leisure Category 130, Education Category 140, Employment Category 150, and the like. Of course, there can be more categories or fewer categories and the information fields in each category can be modified as desired. Each category has one or more fields 90 and each field 90 has a field number 92 that is used by computer 22 to identify the field 90 and construct various information providing forms based on classification of subscribers 40. Every record of an individual 30 is structurally identical, i.e. corresponding information relating to the individual 30 is stored in a corresponding field 90 having a corresponding field number 92. For example, field 1 can always be the last name of customer individual (i.e. customer) 30. This structure permits various information providing forms to be populated in a desired manner to provide the proper information. The profile form includes necessary instructions to prompt proper information entry by individual 30. The profile form can be printed and filled out by hand or can be displayed and filled in on the screen of computer 32 or any other computer, terminal or the like, in a known manner. Figs. 8a and 8b illustrate an example of an information transmission form for transmitting information to subscriber 40 who is a potential employer of individual 30. In other words, the form is populated only with fields having information relating to individual 30 that is relevant to determining employability of individual 30. For example, such a form may avoid disclosing financial information, birth date, country of origin, and other information that is not related to determining employment, and in fact may be improper or illegal to use in determining employment. Fig. 8a is a first page 300 of the transmission form and Fig. 8b is a second page 400 thereof. The fields in the transmission form have identical numbers to those in the profile form above. Of course, the field numbers 92 correspond to field numbers 92 stored in the record for individual 30 on storage devices 24.

Figs. 9a and 9b illustrate an example of a standard transmission form used for subscriber 30 classified as a "Dentist" (a sub classification of "Medical Services Provider"). Fig. 9a is a first page 500 and Fig. 9b is a second page 600. For example, the transmission form for subscribers 40 classified as "Dentists" may include only fields 1 , 2, 4, 12,13, 15 and so on as indicated in Figs. 9a and 9b. The information is relevant to providing dental services. Of course, field numbers 92 correspond to field numbers 92 stored in the record for individual 30 on storage devices 24.

In another embodiment, the centralized database is segmented into a plurality of sectors according to the individual's personal information and the type of business service provided by the subscriber to the individual. For example, all information relating to the medical industry could be stored in a sector relating to medicine, whereby only authorized parties in the medical industry such as health care providers would have the capability of accessing the database to modify information stored therein, and information regarding banking or financial services would be stored in a separate sector that could be accessed and modified only by parties in the financial-services industry. To carry out this function, an additional information channel is provided for allowing authorized parties access to the database for purposes of modifying information relating to the individual.

An exemplary embodiment of this invention can be applied in various applications, such as those involving "polypharmacy", i.e., the management of various medications as dispensed to an individual, as described below. Figure 10 provides a schematic illustration of a polypharmaceutical-based application using data collection and distribution system 110 whereby individual 50 is involved in a series of transactions involving first pharmacy 70, second pharmacy 80 and insurance company 90. First pharmacy 70, second pharmacy 80 and insurance company 90 are subscribers to data collection and distribution system 110, and are thus provided with appropriate channels for communicating with one another and individual 50 to transact business or other matters. Data collection and distribution system 110 includes central database 60 for storing various information relating to individual 50. While for purposes of illustrating this embodiment, central database 60 is segmented into four distinct sectors (medical, pharmaceutical, financial and personal), it may be segmented into additional sectors involving other business services. In this embodiment, individual 50 visits first pharmacy 70 to obtain medicine prescribed by a medical doctor. Upon reviewing the prescription data, first pharmacy 70 requests from individual 50 access to information stored in central database 60 for purposes of modifying information relating to individual 50 by recording the prescription information. The information may be modified using a computer, such as a personal computer, a server, a minicomputer, a collection of computers, a computer network, or the like.

Individual 50 may attempt to have a different prescription filled sometime thereafter at second pharmacy 80. Upon reviewing the prescription data, second pharmacy 80 subsequently requests and receives from individual 50 access to individual's 50 pharmaceutical information for the purpose of determining the pharmacological compatibility of prescription drugs to be dispensed to the individual 50 by the second pharmacy 80 and those previously dispensed to the individual by the first pharmacy 70 and any other pharmacies. The pharmacological compatibility check may be performed using a separate database to cross-reference medicine supplied to individual 50 by first pharmacy 70 and medicine contained in the prescription submitted to second pharmacy 80 in an effort to determine whether data suggest that drugs contained in both prescriptions combine to produce harmful effects or to reduce efficacy. In such a case, second pharmacy 80 might refuse issuance of the prescribed medicine, or issue the medicine with a written warning apprising individual 50 as to the harmful effects or take other appropriate action. If second pharmacy 80 chooses to issue the prescribed medicine to individual 50, it could then seek authorization from individual 50 to access and modify pharmaceutical information contained in central database 60.

Payment for the costs of the prescription medicine could be made directly to first pharmacy 70 and second pharmacy 80 by individual 50, who could then seek reimbursement from insurance company 90 for the prescription costs. Alternatively, each pharmacy could credit the account of individual 50 and seek separate indemnity claims from insurance company 90. Any claim request, whether submitted by individual 50, first pharmacy 70 and/or second pharmacy 80, may be transmitted using various channels of communication, such as an electronic communication link, the mail or other courier service, or any other manner that permits the requisite data or information to be transmitted. Upon receiving a claim request, insurance company 90 would subsequently request from individual 50 authorization for the transmittal (via any of the transmission channels mentioned above) of personal information relating to individual 50 from central database 60 in an effort to notify individual 50 of any pending claim and to verify the eligibility of the same. If insurance company 90 determines either party (individual 50 or first pharmacy 70 and/or second pharmacy 80) is eligible for reimbursement or indemnification, the appropriate funds could be transferred either electronically or any of the alternative transmission channels mentioned above.

The invention permits information to be provided in an efficient manner and allows the individual control over the content and transmission of the information. The invention is very flexible and can be used in various manners. For example, if an individual knows in advance that a subscriber will require information, the individual can obtain the subscriber's account number and transmit a request to the service provider along with an authorization to transmit the appropriate information the subscriber. Alternatively, the individual can obtain a "one time only" authorization code and give the same to the subscriber to have the appropriate information transmitted from the service provider to the subscriber. Also, the individual can request that any type of information providing form be populated with their information and transmitted to them for their own use or to a subscriber. Transmission forms can be customized for the subscriber. For example, the subscriber's name and address can be on the custom transmission form. While the invention has been described through preferred embodiments using computers and the Internet for data transmission, i.e. as channels, the information and data can be transmitted through any channel, such as through the mail, by facsimile, by courier, verbally, over a proprietary electronic connection, or via a direct coupling of computers through various networks. Any type of information can be provided in the profile and various transmission forms can be configured to transmit only information relevant or desired by the subscriber and the individual. The information records can be stored in any manner. For example, the information records can be stored in a computer database file, as separate computer files, on paper, or in any computer readable or human readable form. Accordingly, the storage device can take any form. The information can be stored in whole or in part on cards such as "smart cards" or "e-cards" that contain memory in the form of a microchip or the like. The cards can be carried by the individual and interact with the service provider for transmission of the information from the card to the subscriber. The card can include encryption technology and identification technology such as biometric information of the individual's iris, fingerprints, face, or the like. In addition, the invention is not limited to the use of any specific description or mark-up language, and may include other descriptive or mark-up languages such as XML (Extensible Markup Language), or any related computer language thereof. The invention can be combined with existing or future services. For example, the service provider can be associated with a credit or debit card provider and authorization information or profile information can be contained in memory of the credit or debit card to yield a multi-purpose card. The various registration and application procedures can be accomplished in any order. Any type of information can be stored and transmitted. In addition, the invention could be optimized in a manner such that a digital signature such as an e- signature is required for all electronically transmitted messages and/or transactions to guarantee the authenticity of all participating parties.

The invention has been described through a preferred embodiment. However, various modifications can be made without departing from the scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

Claims

What is claimed is:
1. An information apparatus for providing information relating to an individual to a subscriber upon request by the subscriber and authorization by the individual, said apparatus comprising: a storage device for storing a record of information relating to an individual; a request channel for permitting a subscriber to request the information relating to the individual stored on said storage device; an authorization channel for permitting the individual to authorize transmission of the information relating to the individual from said storage device to the subscriber; and a transmission channel for transmitting at least selected portions of the information relating to the individual from said storage device to the subscriber when the subscriber has requested the information relating to the individual through said request channel and the individual has authorized transmission of the information relating to the individual through said authorization channel.
2. An apparatus as recited in claim 1 further comprising an information providing channel for permitting the individual at least one of provide and modify the information relating to the individual for storage in said storage device.
3. An apparatus as recited in claim 1 further comprising an information providing channel for permitting the subscriber to at least one of provide and modify the information relating to the individual for storage in said storage device.
4. An apparatus as recited in claim 1 wherein said transmission channel transmits selected portions of the information relating to the individual in accordance with instructions provided by the individual over said authorization channel.
5. An apparatus as recited in claim 1 further comprising a classification mechanism by which classification information relating to at least one of the type of business of the subscriber and the relationship between the subscriber and the individual can be generated.
6. An apparatus as recited in claim 5 wherein said transmission channel transmits selected portions of the information relating to the individual in accordance with the classification information.
7. An apparatus as recited in claim 6 wherein the selected portions of the information relating to the individual are relevant to a service provided by the subscriber to the individual.
8. An apparatus as recited in claim 1 wherein said storage device comprises a computer memory and said record is stored in a centralized database, said computer memory being associated with an information service provider.
9. An apparatus as recited in claim 8 wherein said centralized database is segmented into a plurality of sectors.
10. An apparatus as recited in claim 1 wherein the information is formatted in extensible mark-up language.
11. An apparatus as recited in claim 9 wherein said sectors are segmented according to personal information relating to the individual and information relating the type of business service provided by the subscriber to the individual.
12. An apparatus as recited in claim 11 wherein the type of business service provided by the subscriber to the individual is any one of medical, financial or pharmaceutical related.
13. An apparatus as recited in claim 11 further comprising means for permitting only the individual to modify personal information.
14. An apparatus as recited in claim 12 further comprising means for permitting only a medical professional to modify information that is related to medicine.
15. An apparatus as recited in claim 12 further comprising means for permitting only a financial professional to modify information that is related to finance.
16. An apparatus as recited in claim 12 further comprising means for permitting only a pharmaceutical professional to modify information that is related to pharmacy.
17. An apparatus as recited in claim 1 wherein said request channel, said authorization channel, and said transmission channel comprise a computer network.
18. An apparatus as recited in claim 17 wherein said computer network is the Internet.
19. An apparatus, as recited in claim 1 wherein the individual is a person and the information relating to the individual is personal information.
20. An apparatus as recited in claim 1 wherein said authorization channel includes a card having identification information stored therein.
21. An apparatus as recited in claim 20 wherein said card is a credit card.
22. An apparatus as recited in claim 20 wherein said card is a debit card.
23. An apparatus as recited in claim 1 wherein said authorization channel comprises means for generating a digital signature.
24. An apparatus as recited in claim 23 wherein said digital signature is an e-signature.
25. An apparatus as recited in claim 1 wherein said storage device includes a card having computer readable memory and being adapted to being carried by the individual.
26. An apparatus as recited in claim 25 wherein said card stores identification information to be transmitted over said authorization channel.
27. A method for providing information relating to an individual to a subscriber upon request by the subscriber and authorization by the individual, said method comprising the steps of: storing a record of information relating to an individual in a storage device; requesting, by the subscriber, the information relating to the individual stored in the storage device; authorizing, by the individual, transmission of the information relating to the individual from the storage device to the subscriber; and transmitting at least selected portions of the information relating to the individual from the storage device to the subscriber after said requesting and said authorizing step.
28. A method as recited in claim 27 wherein the information is formatted using extensible mark-up language.
29. A method as recited in claim 27 further comprising the step of permitting the individual to at least one of provide and modify the information relating to the individual for storage in the storage device.
30. A method as recited in claim 27 further comprising the step of permitting the subscriber to at least one of provide and modify the information relating to the individual for storage in the storage device.
31. A method as recited in claim 27 wherein, in said transmitting step, selected portions of the information relating to the individual are transmitted in accordance with instructions provided by the individual in said authorizing step.
32. A method as recited in claim 27 further comprising the step of classifying the subscriber and generating classification information relating to at least one of the type of business of the subscriber and the relationship between the subscriber and the individual.
33. A method as recited in claim 32, wherein, in said transmitting step, the selected portions of the information relating to the individual are transmitted in accordance with the classification information.
34. A method as recited in claim 33 wherein, in said transmitting step, the selected portions of the information relating to the individual are relevant to a service provided by the subscriber to the individual.
35. A method as recited in claim 27, wherein, in said storing step, the record is stored in a centralized database on a computer memory associated with an information service provider.
36. A method as recited in claim 35 further comprising the step of segmenting said centralized database into a plurality of sectors.
37. A method as recited in claim 36 wherein said segmenting step comprises segmenting said sectors according to personal information relating to the individual and information related to the type of business service provided by the subscriber to the individual.
38. A method as recited in claim 37 wherein the type of business service provided by the subscriber to the individual is any one of medical, financial or pharmaceutical related.
39. A method as recited in claim 37 further comprising the step of permitting only the individual to modify personal information.
40. A method as recited in claim 37 further comprising the step of permitting only a medical professional to modify information that is related to medicine.
41. A method as recited in claim 37 further comprising the step of permitting only a financial professional to modify information that is related to finance.
42. A method as recited in claim 37 further comprising the step of permitting only a pharmaceutical professional to modify information that is related to pharmacy.
43. A method as recited in claim 27 wherein said requesting step, said authorizing step, and said transmitting step is accomplished over a computer network.
44. A method as recited in claim 43 wherein the computer network is the
Internet.
45. A method, as recited in claim 27 wherein the individual is a person and the information relating to the individual is personal information.
46. A method as recited in claim 27 wherein said authorizing step includes reading identification information stored in a card.
47. A method as recited in claim 46 wherein said card is a credit card.
48. A method as recited in claim 46 wherein said card is a debit card.
49. A method as recited in claim 28 wherein said authorization step includes means for generating a digital signature.
50. A method as recited in claim 49 wherein said digital signature is an e-signature.
51. A method as recited in claim 27 wherein, in said storing step, the record is stored on a card having computer readable memory and being adapted to being carried by the individual.
52. A method as recited in claim 46 wherein, in the authorizing step, identification information is read from the card.
53. An information apparatus for providing information relating to an individual to a subscriber upon request by the subscriber and authorization by the individual, said apparatus comprising: a storage device for storing a record of information relating to an individual; a request channel for permitting a subscriber to request the information relating to the individual stored on said storage device; an authorization channel for permitting the individual to authorize transmission of the information relating to the individual from said storage device to the subscriber; a transmission channel for transmitting at least selected portions of the information relating to the individual from said storage device to the subscriber when the subscriber has requested the information relating to the individual through said request channel and the individual has authorized transmission of the information relating to the individual through said authorization channel; a first information providing channel for permitting the individual to at least one of provide and modify only personal information relating to that individual for storage in said storage device; and a second information providing channel for permitting the subscriber to at least one of provide and modify only information relating to the individual and which is relevant to a service provided by the subscriber.
54. An apparatus as recited in claim 53 wherein the information is formatted in extensible mark-up language.
55. An apparatus as recited in claim 53 wherein said authorization channel comprises means for generating a digital signature.
56. An apparatus as recited in claim 55 wherein said digital signature is an e-signature.
57. An information apparatus for providing information relating to an individual to a subscriber upon request by the subscriber and authorization by the individual, said apparatus comprising: a storage device for storing a record of information relating to an individual, wherein said storage device includes a computer memory associated with an information service provider ; a request channel for permitting a subscriber to request the information relating to the individual stored on said storage device; an authorization channel for permitting the individual to authorize transmission of the information relating to the individual from said storage device to the subscriber; a transmission channel for transmitting at least selected portions of the information relating to the individual from said storage device to the subscriber when the subscriber has requested the information relating to the individual through said request channel and the individual has authorized transmission of the information relating to the individual through said authorization channel; and wherein said record is stored in a centralized database segmented into a plurality of sectors according to the type of business service provided by the subscriber to the individual.
58. An apparatus as recited in claim 57 wherein the information is formatted in extensible mark-up language.
59. An apparatus as recited in claim 57 wherein said authorization channel comprises means for generating a digital signature.
60. An apparatus as recited in claim 59 wherein said digital signature is an e-signature.
61. A method for providing information relating to an individual to a group of subscribers upon request by each subscriber and authorization by the individual, said method comprising the steps of: storing a record of information relating to an individual in a storage device comprising a computer database; requesting, by a first pharmacy, access to said record of information relating to said individual; authorizing, by said individual, transmission of said information relating to the individual from the storage device to said first pharmacy; transmitting selected portions of said information relating to the individual from the storage device to said first pharmacy after said requesting and said authorizing step; and modifying, by said first pharmacy, said information relating to the individual by entering prescription drug information relating to the individual, said information subsequently stored in said database.
62. A method as recited in claim 61 further comprising the step of requesting by a second pharmacy access to said prescription drug information relating to said individual for the purpose of determining the compatibility of prescription drugs to be dispensed to the individual by said second pharmacy and prescription drugs previously dispensed by said first pharmacy to the individual.
63. A method as recited in claim 61 further comprising the step of requesting by a second pharmacy access to personal information relating to the individual stored in said database for purposes of submitting an insurance claim to an insurance company.
64. A method as recited in claim 60 further comprising the step of authorizing by the individual transmission of said pharmaceutical information from said database to said second pharmacy and transmitting said pharmaceutical information from said database to said second pharmacy after said requesting and said authorizing step.
65. A method as recited in claim 61 further comprising the step of authorizing by the individual transmission of said personal information from said database to said second pharmacy and transmitting said personal information from said database to said second pharmacy after said requesting and said authorizing steps.
66. A method as recited in claim 64 further comprising the step of modifying by said second pharmacy said pharmaceutical information by entering prescription drug information relating to the individual and storing said pharmaceutical information into said database after said modifying step.
67. A method as recited in claim 63 further comprising the step of requesting by an insurance company access to personal information relating to the individual stored in said database for purposes of verifying the eligibility of the insurance claim.
68. A method as recited in claim 67 further comprising the step of authorizing by the individual transmission of said personal information from said database to said the insurance company and transmitting said personal information from said database to said the insurance company after said requesting and said authorizing steps.
69. A method as recited in claim 68 further comprising the step of transferring funds electronically by the insurance company to said first pharmacy upon establishing the eligibility of the first pharmacy to receive said funds.
70. A method as recited in claim 68 further comprising the step of transferring funds electronically by the insurance company to said second pharmacy upon establishing the eligibility of the second pharmacy to receive said funds.
71. A method as recited in claim 68 further comprising the step of transferring funds electronically by the insurance company to the individual upon establishing the eligibility of the individual to receive said funds.
PCT/US2001/019588 2000-08-09 2001-06-20 Information transmission and collection apparatus and method WO2002013040A1 (en)

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