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Is blockchain technology secure in transfering medical data?

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January 12, 2017

Earlier today, IBM said it will partner with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on a new study of whether today's blockchain technology could be used to securely transfer medical information using the web.

The IT behemoth asserts that its Watson Health Unit will work with the FDA on a study aimed at initiating a new framework for the use of blockchain technologies to make the handling of medical records between doctors, hospitals and various facilities more secure.

The 24-month project will post its findings with an initial study to be based on oncology data. The other areas set for research include individual medical records, the raw data and results from clinical trials, and the collection of health data from connected devices and patient wearables.

The goal is that, by using blockchains to store and share medical records between various providers, the process of requesting, sending, and receiving a patient's medical data can be accelerated while still keeping the records fully secure and creating a dependable audit trail.

"The current healthcare industry is undergoing significant changes due to the vast amounts of disparate data being generated," Watson Health chief science officer and vice president for innovations Shahram Ebadollahi asserted.

"To be sure, blockchain technology provides a highly secure, decentralized framework for data sharing that will accelerate innovation throughout the medical profession," he added.

Meanwhile, Big Blue would stand to benefit from the study by winning more business in a healthcare industry that, to this date, has been one of the most reliable markets for Watson.

IBM has also been pushing blockchain technology as a new area of focus for its struggling mainframe division. A push further into the medical market for blockchain technology would both help IBM advance its Watson brand and shift a few more mainframe appliances in the process.

Source: IBM.


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