Healthcare Data Analytics

Testing Blockchain Technology for Clinical Trials in Canada

Share this post:

By: Dr. Uli Brödl, Vice President, Medical and Regulatory Affairs, Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd.

The healthcare industry is undergoing significant changes due to the vast amounts of disparate data being generated. There is a huge need for transformative healthcare solutions where healthcare researchers, providers, and patients have access to a 360-degree view of health data. Blockchain technology provides a highly secure, decentralized framework for data sharing that could accelerate innovation throughout the industry.

Blockchain technology in healthcare has made significant strides in the last few years. IBM entered into research projects with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Center for Disease Control, and more recently announced a multi-company health utility network being formed to create an inclusive blockchain network that can benefit multiple members of the healthcare ecosystem in a secure, shared environment.

And now, Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd. and IBM Canada have announced a collaboration to test whether blockchain technology in clinical trials provides a decentralized framework that enables data integrity, provenance, transparency, and patient empowerment as well as automation of processes, ultimately improving trial quality and patient safety at reduced cost. This collaboration underscores Boehringer Ingelheim’s commitment to healthcare innovation and marks the first time that blockchain technology will be explored in a clinical trial setting in Canada.

Reproducibility, data sharing, personal data privacy concerns and patient enrollment in clinical trials are a huge challenge to clinical research.[1] Blockchain technology offers the opportunity to increase trust and transparency among stakeholders during clinical trial processes, especially when it comes to patient consent and data management. On a permissioned blockchain framework, proof of consent is accessible to authorized stakeholders, including patients who are empowered to maintain control over their consent. Smart contracts can be leveraged to enforce that trial participation and data collection or sharing is done with valid consent.

By reducing administrative errors and increasing trust and transparency through the application of blockchain technology, exchange of healthcare information could be more efficient. These improvements could help enhance patient care and reduce unnecessary costs.

We like to think of blockchain technology as a new operating system for trust. This collaboration is another great example of the ways stakeholders are coming together from across the healthcare and technology sectors to potentially improve informed consent, rights and safety of patients.

[1] BMC:

Vice President, Medical and Regulatory Affairs, Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd.

More Healthcare Data Analytics stories

Success story: Health Quest

Written by Watson Health | Blog Post, Case Study, Value-Based Care

By using the Watson Health suite of population health management solutions to consolidate disparate data from across practices and departments, Health Quest was able to identify gaps in care, track individual touch points, and refine its process of care to improve system-wide population health. more

Examining the variation in cancer care

Written by Watson Health | AI, Blog Post, Oncology & Genomics

As medicine moves forward—making advances in prevention, detection, care delivery and more—cancer marches on, killing nearly 2 million Europeans every year. As one would expect, the reasons are as complex as cancer itself and one of the most significant reasons is variability in care. Here, we explore some of the reasons behind the variation and how AI may be able to help. more

Book time at HIMSS to discover how Watson Health can help you transform your payer business

Written by Watson Health | Blog Post, Value-Based Care

At the HIMSS19 conference and exhibition (Feb 11-15 in Orlando, FL), Watson Health will introduce new capabilities using artificial intelligence, data visualization and conversational technologies to help you modernize your infrastructure for advanced analytics, collaborate with your providers and engage consumers in better health management. more