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A new research center will explore ways to use blockchain technology to solve problems in healthcare and medical science.
The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the Institute for Next Generation Healthcare on Tuesday announced the official opening of the Center for Biomedical Blockchain Research, calling it “the first of its kind at any academic medical center.”
The center will focus on developing healthcare blockchain applications by:
“There is a lot of excitement around the possibilities for blockchain technology in healthcare,” Dr. Joel Dudley, head of the new center and executive vice president of precision health at Mount Sinai, said in a statement. “However, we still have lots of hard work ahead to identify the most salient features of blockchain technologies to solve real-word healthcare problems.”
A distributed, decentralized secure database system originally developed as a digital ledger to track bitcoin transactions, blockchain has been drawing interest from healthcare providers seeking ways to cost-effectively and securely share and store patient data. Mayo Clinic, for example, recently announced a research partnership with a London-based blockchain technology start-up.
Other organizations are exploring ways to use blockchain to encourage individual participation in drug development and clinical research trials, expand access to health insurance products in underserved markets, improve quality control in the pharmaceutical industry to reduce counterfeit drugs, and enhance research reproducibility.
“The fragmented nature of regional and global health care systems prevents the flow of vital information and creates barriers to access for underserved groups,” Dudley said. “We see the potential for blockchain and related technologies to enable applications that support more unified healthcare ecosystems and serve the greater goals of realizing national and global precision health networks.“