Centralised storage and processing of medical data has various drawbacks. It provides a single point of failure, requiring a high level of availability. It generates costs created by the need to actively curate and make mutually compatible the various contributing sources of data. It requires mutual trust. It also creates a single large target for cyber attack. A distributed architecture mitigates these drawbacks to varying degrees.
The advent of the blockchain has stimulated interest in using the distributed ledger concept to create distributed solutions to a wide range of challenges. This project looks at health records with a focus on genomic data for genomic medicine research, which is a use case for which a community with a need for better data handling and a ready enthusiasm to engage with improved solutions has been identified.
In genomic research, a number of sites generate experimental and clinical data from their specific activities. In order to correlate these data sources, a distributed ledger technology architecture will be designed and implemented. The DLT solution will manage access to individual sites’ data according to agreed policies, an in doing so it will provide a practically unforgeable trace of what access was granted to what party.