National Cancer Institute to share information using blockchain

Many U.S. medical patients are fearful that their personal medical history, as well as the financial records involved with medical care, may be revealed through some sort of hack or breach. This is why the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has opted to use blockchain technology to protect against this kind of activity.

The NCI is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This is quite significant to see that an agency of the federal government is opting to use this kind of technology to enhance security. The project, which was recently approved, will call for the creation of a blockchain based clinical data sharing system.

It is hoped that this new system will be so successful that it could revolutionize the entire healthcare system. The use of this technology will enable records to be retrieved faster and with greater accuracy, while not depriving any network or system of security.

According to a blog post provided by the Institute, the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, which is collaborating on the project, will use IBM’s Hyperledger blockchain platform to enable healthcare providers to be able to share patient information as well as relevant research data.

That IBM is involved in this project is not surprising at all. Already the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) is partnering on a project with Walmart using IBM’s blockchain platform to be able to track prescription drugs.

Big Blue blockchain technology is appearing virtually everywhere, as they have recently helped companies like Nestlé track shipments, the Azerbaijan government track, and record customs information, and even entered the financial world, assisting Santander in their cloud banking platform.

It seems only logical that the IBM platform would find its way into the healthcare system, as the need for accurate information quickly is truly a life or death situation. As the NCI explained in their blog post, “Failure in timely access to health information could impede effective treatment decision-making, which will adversely affect patient health, and also incur unnecessary costs such as duplicated tests. Regulations on protecting patient privacy add a layer of complexity in data transfer.”

The new technology will greatly enhance speeds and accuracy, while also safeguarding the identity of patients and their healthcare information. This should be a cost-saving means that could save lives.

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