IBM Watson Health has announced it has signed a research initiative with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration aimed at defining a secure, efficient and scalable exchange of health data using blockchain technology. IBM and the FDA will explore the exchange of owner mediated data from several sources, such as Electronic Medical Records, clinical trials, genomic data, and health data from mobile devices, wearables and the Internet of Things. The initial focus will be on oncology-related data. The initiative with the FDA is a two-year agreement. IBM Watson Health and the FDA plan to share initial research findings in 2017.
Transformative healthcare solutions are possible when healthcare researchers and providers have access to a full view of patient data. Patients have little access to their own health data and have little possibility to easily share with researchers or providers. Giving patients the opportunity to share their data securely, for research purposes or across their healthcare providers, creates opportunities for faster advancements in healthcare. Blockchain technology can be used to make this happen. As a founding member and key contributor to the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger project, IBM will bring expertise in blockchain technology.