This week New York’s Mount Sinai launched its Center for Biomedical Blockchain Research. The academic medical center plans to perform research and ultimately partner with companies looking to develop biomedical blockchain solutions.
“There is a lot of excitement around the possibilities for blockchain technology in health care,” said Mount Sinai’s Dr. Dudley. “However, we still have lots of hard work ahead to identify the most salient features of blockchain technologies to solve real-word health care problems.”
Joel Dudley and Noah Zimmerman lead the Center. Dudley’s research efforts focus on data-driven approaches and using machine intelligence to solve problems in biology and health care. Zimmerman’s research involves designing data-driven technologies to improve decision-making in health care.
“At Mount Sinai, we bring to the table deep expertise in biomedical data, machine learning, and data governance,” said Dr. Zimmerman. He believes blockchain will help by “improving healthcare delivery and reducing costs”.
Concerning college rankings, Mount Sinai is 65th in the US and 153rd in the world.
Existing blockchain initiatives
Several companies are already active in the healthcare space. The applications include participation in clinical trials and extending health insurance to underserved markets. Some projects target anti-counterfeit measures in pharma and enhancing research reproducibility.
“There is an opportunity to reimagine how we organize and incentivize individuals and organizations to promote health,” says Dr. Zimmerman.
“We expect that some early use cases could emerge from areas where existing systems and approaches fall short,” says Dr. Dudley. “The fragmented nature of regional and global health care systems prevents the flow of vital information and creates barriers to access for underserved groups. We see the potential for blockchain and related technologies to enable applications that support more unified health care ecosystems and serve the greater goals of realizing national and global precision health networks.“
Institute for Next Generation Healthcare
The new blockchain center is part of Mount Sinai’s Institute for Next Generation Healthcare. The institute uses artificial intelligence, robotics, genomic sequencing, sensors and wearable devices, Internet of Things, and cloud computing. Its mission is to “transform the world’s experience of health care through these technologies to create a patient-centered system”.
Compared to other sectors, health is lagging a little in blockchain. For economies with established medical systems, progress will be hard, but there’s much to gain. Many health systems are struggling with enormous inefficiencies which could be addressed with blockchain.
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