Stop me if you’ve heard this one. Recently, Akiri, a spin out of Health2047, an integrated innovation enterprise whose founding investor is the American Medical Association, announced the first network-as-a-service (NaaS) platform to the entire healthcare industry. Whoopie! Basically, Akiri is intended to make it easier to transmit data between pharmacies, patients, and physicians using blockchain technology (read: bitcoin) to help transmit information securely through codes. Apparently blockchain technology has many potential implementations (good Deloitte article) past the financial services industry, including the transmission of medical records/data. According to Akiri, the technology has “benefits extending beyond health information exchanges (HIEs), extract, transform, load (ETL) processes, and EMR systems.” Great, hopefully it will solve this issue posed by Dr. Rosenrosen.
Dirty data is the worst. Protocol manipulation and selectively published outcomes pose a real threat to clinical trial validity and patient safety. But imagine a world where this is entirely preventable. With Bitcoin, the premise could become a reality. Bitcoin- an open-source, digital currency- can now be used in the clinical trial space to prevent questionable alterations to original trial protocol and pre-specified trial measures. Using an inexpensive publically distributed, time-stamped Bitcoin technology known as a “Blockchain”, alterations to study endpoints and data can verified by any interested third party. Furthermore, changing the original source is extremely difficult. So any individual thinking about adding their own creative spin on trial outcome is looking at an almost impossible uphill battle.