IBM's Watson Health artificial intelligence unit has signed a two-year joint-development agreement with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to explore using blockchain technology to securely share patient data for medical research and other purposes.
IBM Watson Health and the FDA will explore the exchange of patient-level data from several sources, including electronic medical records (EMRs), clinical trials, genomic data, and health data from mobile devices, wearables and the "Internet of Things." The initial focus will be on oncology-related information.
"The healthcare industry is undergoing significant changes due to the vast amounts of disparate data being generated. Blockchain technology provides a highly secure, decentralized framework for data sharing that will accelerate innovation throughout the industry," IBM Watson Health Chief Science Officer Shahram Ebadollahi said in a statement.