Mount Sinai Hospital Opens a Blockchain Lab for Biomedical Research

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has opened a dedicated blockchain laboratory to explore its potential use case in healthcare applications.

The Center for Biomedical Blockchain Research (CBBR), as the lab, is called, will scholastically evaluate blockchain-enabled solutions, while providing partnerships and consulting services with companies working on these projects. The solutions in focus at the center will be related to biomedical data management, machine learning, and data governance. The research center will also utilize the opportunity to build and test its blockchain-enabled apps within the Mount Sinai Health System.

Dr. Joel Dudly – the chief of the CBBR, and the Executive Vice President of Precision Health at Mount Sinai – acknowledged the fragmented nature of regional and global healthcare systems. Being a medical professional who will be researching blockchain to improve data analytics and machine learning, Dr. Dudly particularly stressed on traditional systems’ inability to facilitate smooth healthcare information.

In the same breath, Dr. Dudly recognized blockchain for its potential to improve many things on the ground.

“We expect that some early use cases could emerge from areas where existing systems and approaches fall short […] We see the potential for blockchain and related technologies to enable applications that support more unified healthcare ecosystems and serve the greater goals of realizing national and global precision health networks,“ he stated.

Dr. Noah Zimmerman, who will be overseeing the CBBR’s R&D of data-driven technologies to improve decision-making in health care, expects their blockchain-research to improve healthcare delivery and reduce medical costs.

“There is an opportunity to reimagine how we organize and incentivize individuals and organizations to promote health,” says Dr. Zimmerman. “[We aim] to understand whether blockchain and associated technologies, can be used to solve open problems in health care and biomedical research.”

Blockchain and Healthcare Industry to Go Big

It is projected in a Statista report that 55% of the healthcare applications will use the blockchain technology for commercial deployment by 2025. Another study published by BIS Research expects blockchain-based healthcare applications to attract over $5.61 billion by the same time.

As it currently stands, the blockchain-enabled healthcare industry is relatively small. In late 2017, IBM (NYSE: IBM) surveyed 200 healthcare executives and found that only 16% of them were expecting to have a commercial blockchain solution at scale by the end of 2018. Another research, done by BIS Research, assumed 16% of the global healthcare organizations to deploy blockchain-enabled solutions by 2018.

On the other hand, Deloitte projects a more aggressive increase in 2018 for the healthcare industry in establishing blockchain technology. According to the firm, 35 percent of healthcare and life science respondents plan to implement blockchain at their companies sometime in 2018.

With such broad possibilities, it is not surprising that Blockchain seems to be on the verge of becoming one of the critical pillars of the digital world. And maybe one day, it will transform the panorama of the healthcare industry.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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