Mount Sinai establishes center for biomedical blockchain research

The Mount Sinai Institute for Next Generation Healthcare and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, both based in New York City, recently opened a center for biomedical blockchain research.

The center, unveiled July 24, plans to help researchers and companies develop blockchain applications that address problems within the clinical medicine and biomedical research spaces, such as promoting interoperability across disparate healthcare systems or improving quality control in the pharmaceutical industry.

In recent years, industry and government stakeholders have supported efforts to use blockchain, a permanent and shared ledger of online transactions or exchanges, to streamline healthcare operations. Unlike a traditional database that is centrally located and maintained by one party, a blockchain record is shared among a network of users.

Mount Sinai said it is the first academic medical center to launch a venture that will apply blockchain technology to the healthcare and medical sciences industries.

"Our aim is to understand how blockchain and associated technologies can be applied to unmet needs in healthcare and biomedicine," said Noah Zimmerman, PhD, director of the health data and design innovation center at Mount Sinai. Dr. Zimmerman leads the center with Joel Dudley, PhD, executive vice president of precision health at Mount Sinai and director of the Institute for Next Generation Healthcare.

Researchers at the center will have the opportunity to build and test their own blockchain-based systems within Mount Sinai Health System. The center's research will lay the groundwork for Mount Sinai's forthcoming industry partnership program, which will engage companies looking to develop biomedical blockchain solutions.

"There is a lot of excitement around the possibilities for blockchain technology in healthcare," Dr. Dudley said. "However, we still have lots of hard work ahead to identify the most salient features of blockchain technologies to solve real-word healthcare problems."

More articles on data analytics & precision medicine:
CRISPR may not be as precise as early studies suggest
Columbia University, IBM launch blockchain center to drive precision medicine research
KLAS: 13 precision medicine vendors with high 'mindshare' among providers

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