eHealth experiences the blockchain

IBM Watson Health and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are working together on the definition of a safe and efficient system to exchange medical data based on “blockchain” technology

Published on 12 Jul 2017

Often we have mentioned the pervasiveness of blockchain technology in several sectors, with particular reference to the financial and insurance sector.

A less foreseeable even pretty important sector where this new technology can bring great benefits is that of eHealth, where safe data transmission can be crucial.

This is the result in the United States of collaboration between IBM Watson and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) who have reached an agreement to share secure medical data exchange using a blockchain system.

The two partners will now be able to exchange documents including electronic medical files, clinical studies, genomic data, and data flows from medical equipment. This pioneering agreement in the eHealth field brings with it the promise of improving the health system. First of all, these documents will give healthcare workers a 360° view of patients’ history making it easier to draw up a reliable diagnosis. The use of this technology over time could also enhance progress in medical research. Last but not least, such data exchanges will help create a more reliable, transparent and safe medical ecosystem at a multi-scale level.

A survey entitled “Healthcare rallies for blockchains – Keeping patients at the center”, performed by the Economist Intelligence unit on behalf of IBM Institute for Business Value, found that healthcare professionals are looking forward to the arrival of Blockchain in their field: seven out of ten organizations polled are in favor of using this technique to improve medical data management and manage compliance issues

Nevertheless, the proponents of using Blockchain in the medical sector will have to overcome a remarkable issue, since this technology raises fears even towards personal health data processing. Is medical confidentiality about to become a thing of the past?

(Originally published by L’Atelier BNP Paribas)

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