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Canada Explores Blockchain Tech in Clinical Trial Processes

By Warren Hayes | February 17, 2019
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Canada Explores Blockchain Tech in Clinical Trial Processes

IBM Canada has partnered Canadian pharmaceutical firm Boehringer Ingelheim to use blockchain technology in an attempt to improve the quality of clinical trial processes and record keeping.

“Our guiding philosophy is to bring value to patients and the healthcare system through innovation… The clinical trial ecosystem is highly complex as it involves different stakeholders, resulting in limited trust, transparency and process inefficiencies without true patient empowerment. Patients are at the heart of everything we do, so we are looking into novel solutions to improve patient safety and empowerment,” said Dr. Uli Brödl, Boehringer Ingelheim’s Vice President for Medical and Regulatory Affairs.

The aim of the joint collaboration is to test if blockchain technology in clinical trials can provide a decentralized framework enabling data integrity, provenance, transparency, patient empowerment, and process automation. The ultimate goal is to improve trial quality and patient safety at reduced cost.  

“We’ve been using blockchain in other industries, and we are now investigating how we can use this technology to give Canadian patients the same level of security and trust when it comes to their personal health information,” said Claude Guay, General Manager for IBM Services in Canada.

This is not IBM’s first time applying blockchain technology in the healthcare field. Earlier this year, insurance giant Aetna partnered IBM to create a blockchain network specifically made for the healthcare industry.

The medical scene is also seeing more blockchain explorations. Recently, Bitfury announced its cooperation with radiology blockchain marketplace Medical Diagnostic Web to develop a medical imaging ecosystem  for the safekeeping and secure sharing of medical data.

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