Blockchaining Medical devices

Wednesday 13th September 2017
Data Lab and Edinburgh Napier have NHS precedent

The Data Lab has announced the kickoff of a pilot project, involving Edinburgh Napier University, NHS National Services Scotland and industry collaborator Spiritus Development Limited, intended to demonstrate the benefits of a blockchain-enabled assurance layer for tracking medical devices through their lifecycle.

With funding support administered by The Data Lab on behalf of the Scottish Funding Council, the pilot project is designed to demonstrate cybersecure, automated means for tracking the chain of custody of medical devices through their lifecycle. It will also extract analytics geared to improving patient safety, clinical outcomes and operational efficiency in device use along the patient care pathway.

By combining a blockchain-enabled distributed registry and robust analytics, the project’s collaborators also seek to reduce response times in taking actions when recalls and field notices are issued by device manufacturers and regulators. Such capabilities are rising in importance for devices that are connected, interoperable and intelligent. Widely used in acute care settings, connected medical devices will increasingly be used to help people manage such chronic conditions as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, and neurodegenerative disorders in their daily lives through wearables and other mobile-enabled technologies.

While it will not involve the direct use of patient data, this challenging project lays the groundwork for ensuring such remote care is safe, private and secure.Prof Bill Buchana(right) n OBE, who leads the cyber security work at Edinburgh Napier University, outlines that, “With blockchain we have the opportunity to create a more trustworthy health and care infrastructure in Scotland, and that this can be used to both improve both patient safety and cyber security. The research work should be able to showcase that Scotland aims to be a leader in transforming its health and social care infrastructure. Along with this the collaboration with Spiritus brings extensive international experience of integrating data-driven systems within health care, and which are secure, scaleable and robust.”

Spiritus CEO Susan Ramonat commented, “When we looked for places and academic partners with whom to collaborate on such ground-breaking research, Scotland and Edinburgh Napier University stood out. Prof Buchanan’s cyber security expertise and deep commitment to transforming health and social care’s infrastructure are extraordinary and invaluable. We believe that both organisations will bring the best to bear through this exciting project. We’re also inspired by Scotland’s commitment to find new ways for delivering health and social care with patient safety and cyber security at the forefront.”

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