US National Cancer Institute approves blockchain project to create a shared data system

The National Cancer Institute, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has approved a project to create a blockchain-based system to share clinical data.

The agency approved the project on Friday, stating that the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will use IBM Hyperledger blockchain to share clinical data between health care providers, patients and the research community.

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Traditionally, clinical data has been stored across multiple parties and managed in a fragmented manner, creating "frictions in information exchange,” the agency said. They added:

“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.”

The blockchain-based system aims to “securely and efficiently” share healthcare data, maintaining flexibility as well as enforcing data sovereignty.