Blockchain Research Center Launched By Icahn School Of Medicine At Mount Sinai

Blockchain, Education, News | July 30, 2018 By:

The Icahn School of Medicine (ISMMS) has created a Center for Biomedical Blockchain Research to evaluate potential healthcare uses of blockchain technology at Mount Sinai Health System.

Chartered by the Mount Sinai Hospital in 1963, ISMMS is a medical school in New York City. According to an American Medical Student Association survey, ISMMS is one of eight medical schools in the US to receive an “A” for its conflicts of interest policies relating to pharmaceutical industry marketing. It was ranked 13th among medical schools in the US receiving NIH grants in 2017, and 2nd in research dollars per principal investigator among US medical schools by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

The new Center for Biomedical Blockchain Research will be part of ISMMS’ Institute for Next Generation Healthcare, which researches the application of artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, genomic sequencing, sensors and wearable devices in medicine. The center will be led by Joel Dudley, Executive Vice President of Precision Health at Mount Sinai and Director of the Institute for Next Generation Healthcare, along with Noah Zimmerman, Assistant Professor of Genetics and Genomic Sciences and Director of the Health Data and Design Innovation Center.

The center will conduct scholarly evaluations of blockchain-enabled solutions, provide partnership and consulting opportunities with firms working on these projects, and build and test its own systems within the Mount Sinai Health System. Potential use cases include drug development, clinical trials, increasing access to health insurance in underserved markets, improving quality control in the drug industry to reduce counterfeiting and making it easier to reproduce research.

“There is a lot of excitement around the possibilities for blockchain technology in health care,” said 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.”

The new center has already created a database of 144 blockchain firms that are working on projects for health and biomedical uses. According to the database, these firms raised a combined $670 million through initial coin offerings (ICO) and venture capital funding.

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

Dudley added that they expect that some early use cases could emerge from areas where existing systems and approaches fall short.

“The fragmented nature of regional and global health care systems prevents the flow of vital information and creates barriers to access for underserved groups,” said Dudley. “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.”