SILVER SPRING, Md. – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will collaborate with IBM Watson Health to explore efficient and secure ways for consumers to share their data and make better, more informed health care choices through blockchain technology.
Through the two-year initiative, IBM and the FDA will look for ways of exchanging owner-mediated data from mobile devices, wearables, clinical trials, genomic tests and electronic medical records.
“The healthcare industry is undergoing significant changes due to the vast amounts of disparate data being generated,” said Dr. Shahram Ebadollahi, vice president of innovations and Chief Science Officer of IBM Watson Health Group, in a statement. “Blockchain technology provides a highly secure, decentralized framework for data sharing that will accelerate innovation throughout the industry.”
By keeping an audit trail of all transactions on an unalterable distributed ledger, blockchain technology establishes accountability and transparency in the data exchange process. IBM and the FDA will explore how a blockchain framework can potentially provide benefits to public health by supporting important use cases for information exchange across a wide variety of data types, including clinical trials and “real world” evidence data. Patient data from wearables and connected devices, for example, can help doctors and caregivers better manage population health.
IBM Watson Health and the FDA plan to share initial research findings in 2017.