New York-based medical school, The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, has announced the opening of a new research center called the Center for Biomedical Blockchain Research which will focus on applying the benefits of blockchain to healthcare and medical sciences.
Institute For Next Generation Healthcare
The research center will be inside the school’s Institute for Next Generation Healthcare which studies the application of technological advances like artificial intelligence, genomic sequencing, robotics, sensors and wearable devices in the health field.
The Center for Biomedical Blockchain Research will be headed by executive vice president of Precision Health at Mount Sinai, Joel Dudley. Dudley was a former senior data scientist at Pivotal Software, a company that researches the use of artificial intelligence in biology. While there, he designed predictive models for multibillion-dollar healthcare and biotech companies.
Blockchain Improving Healthcare
Dudley stated the research center “will allow us to address many of the most promising uses for blockchain in biomedicine with the goal of improving healthcare delivery and reducing costs.”
Possible use cases for the research in this new center include drug development, blockchain prototype network trials, clinical research trials, and preventing counterfeit drug sales by improving quality control in the pharmaceutical industry, just to name a few.
“Our aim is to understand how blockchain and associated technologies can be applied to unmet needs in healthcare and biomedicine,” Dudley added.
Biomedical Blockchain Project Makes Millions
As one of its very first projects, the new research center brought together a database of 144 companies, all working on healthcare and biomedically related blockchain projects.
The companies on the list have raised a total of $670 million through initial coin offerings and venture capital funding.
Included in these 144 companies is CoverUs, which plans to help patients earn royalties from their health data through a blockchain-enabled data exchange, and Embleema, a company designed to securely connect patient-generated health data and electronic medical records.
A New Level of Academic Rigor For Blockchain
Noah Zimmerman, the Director of the Health Data and Design Innovation Center at Mount Sinai believes that this research center will add a new level of academic rigor to the blockchain discussion.
Stanford University runs a Center for Blockchain Research and Columbia University and IBM have announced the creation of a Center for Blockchain and Data Transparency which will focus on data security, but Zimmerman points out that the Center for Biomedical Blockchain Research at Mount Sinai sets itself apart.
"The thing that differentiates this is that this is not just an academic center but an academic medical center,” Zimmerman stated. “We're the first people to drill into the biomedical and health care use cases for blockchain as a focus area."
The Center for Biomedical Blockchain Research expects many of their early projects to come from areas where existing healthcare systems and approaches are falling short.