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Can Blockchain technology be used to secure clinical data?

South Korean Government Supports Sendsquare to Develop Blockchain Solution for Clinical Data Registry

The blockchain technology has revolutionised almost all industries as well as institutions across the globe, including the banking and money transfer industries, real estate, stock trading industry, online music industry, the ride sharing industry, legal industry, the human resource industry, the agricultural sector and several departments in the health industry.

Well, according to an abstract published by Nature Communications concerning a Prototype of Running Clinical Trials in an Untrustworthy Environment, ‘monitoring and ensuring the integrity of data within the clinical trial process is currently not always feasible with the current research system.’ Therefore a blockchain-based system is likely to come in quite handy in making all data collected in the clinical trial process traceable, trustworthy and immutable.

But what are clinical trials in the first place?

Clinical trials usually involve scientific studies conducted so as to find better ways to prevent screen for diagnose or to treat diseases. These trials may show which medical approaches work best for certain diseases or a specific group of people and they therefore produce high-quality data for healthcare decision making.

Yes, Blockchain is a Safe Nest for Clinical Data

A lot of parties are usually involved in a clinical trial network and therefore, the chances of both intentional and non-intentional human-induced errors are quite high. The Blockchain technology is decentralized. This means that data is distributed across an extensive network of nodes. The blockchain protocol involves a unique data that ensures a top level of security whereby data cannot be falsified.But what are clinical trials in the first place?

Just recently, students from the University of California in San Francisco proposed the method of sharing clinical data using blockchain technology. The academics created a blockchain powered system with a goal to improve the immutability and traceability of data collected in clinical researches or trials.

They set up a trial method (with real world medical records) where they launched a web-based portal that was available to all participants with a real clinical trial dataset. All data was then recorded on a new block, merged together and hashed using the SHA256 algorithm. They released a report explaining that;

Data storage of the blockchain will be accomplished by duplicating and distributing the chain to physically separate machines and data warehouses to be managed by the regulator.

When a patient’s medical record follows him or her from one doctor to another, then patients are guaranteed of good medical care. However, if medical data is not safely stored, or manipulated in one way or the other, the outcome might end up being fatal.