In keeping with its recent R&D efforts to unleash the power of blockchain data security solutions across multiple industries, IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced its Watson Health unit is entering into a two-year research initiative with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The objective of the newly formed arrangement is to study and eventually provide a more comprehensive, blockchain-centric data security solution for the "exchange of owner mediated data from several sources, such as Electronic Medical Records, clinical trials, genomic data, and health data from mobile devices, wearables and the Internet of Things [IoT]."

IBM said that the first order of business will be a focus on oncology (the study of cancer) data. The company and the agency expect to issue a joint update on their early research findings later this year.

As IBM noted, "large scale sharing of health data has been limited by concerns of data security and breaches of patient privacy during the data exchange process," which is hardly surprising given the highly sensitive nature of individual medical histories.

Expanding its blockchain capabilities and reach has been a focus of IBM's for the past year, including the establishment of a separate segment. Along with financial services, IoT, and insurance, among others, the healthcare industry is a focus of IBM's blockchain growth efforts. As with many of IBM's solutions, blockchain is also available as part of its fast-growing cloud business.


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Tim Brugger has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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