Blockchain Technology for Healthcare Data Examined by IBM Watson Health and FDA

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Blockchain Technology for Healthcare Data Examined by IBM Watson Health and FDA

IBM Watson Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration want to put blockchain technology on the map in healthcare.

Blockchain is but one of the emerging technologies PricewaterhouseCoopers' stated healthcare administrators should begin to become familiar with this year. The initial focus of IBM and the FDA will be on oncology-related data, although details including a development timetable have yet to be released.

IBM and the FDA will look at how the technology can facilitate information exchange across a spectrum of data types, including clinical trials and real world data.

"The healthcare industry is undergoing significant changes due to the vast amounts of disparate data being generated", Shahram Ebadollahi, IBM Watson Health Vice President for Innovations and Chief Science Officer, said in a statement. The company says, for example, patient data from wearables and connected devices can help doctors and caregivers better manage "population health", by collecting data from all of a patient's healthcare providers to improve results and reduce costs.

Transformative healthcare solutions are possible when healthcare researchers and providers have access to a full view of patient data. In 2017, it's time for healthcare administrators and managers to learn and strategize how their organization could utilize blockchain and other emerging technologies, Trine Tsouderos, PwC's Health Research Institute director, told Healthcare Dive.

"By keeping an audit trail of all transactions on an unalterable distributed ledger, blockchain technology establishes accountability and transparency in the data exchange process."

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