IBM Watson Health and the FDA announced on Wednesday that they would work together on an initiative to create a secure, efficient and scalable exchange of health data using blockchain technology.
The technology giant and the federal agency will explore the exchange of data from sources, such as EMRs, clinical trials, genomics and health information from mobile devices, wearables and the Internet of Things.
With an initial focus on oncology-related data, IBM and FDA said they intend to share initial research findings in 2017 under the two-year agreement.
“The healthcare industry is undergoing significant changes due to the vast amounts of disparate data being generated,” Shahram Ebadollahi, chief science officer at IBM Watson Health, said in a statement. “Blockchain technology provides a secure decentralized framework for data sharing that will accelerate innovation throughout the industry,”
Transformative healthcare solutions are possible when healthcare researchers and providers have access to a 360-degree view of patient data, he added. Yet patients today have little access to their health data and cannot easily share with researchers or providers. Giving patients the ability to do just that, for research purposes or across their healthcare providers, can create opportunities for advancements in healthcare. Blockchain technology, which enables organizations to work together with more trust, is designed to help make this a reality.