UC Berkeley Announces Plans For Health Research Blockchain

UC Berkeley has today announced it has collaborated with blockchain firm Bitmark to create two separate research studies to be powered by distributed ledger technology.

Concerning sharing medical records and public health administration respectively, the projects are to be funded by the startup, with researchers from the university teaming up to bring these models to life.

The news follows recently confirmed funding for Bitmark, with some $1.7 million secured from a range of investors and industry partners.

The first study will see patients submitting personal information about their diabetes, specifically their remission, while the second study is being set up to examine whether patients feel comfortable contributing sensitive health information via the technology.

UC Berkeley is no stranger to working with blockchain development, with the University having established their own student-led blockchain development group in the recent past.

Yet the details of these two trials will be met with anticipation from the wider health industry, thought to be a potentially significant beneficiary from developments in the technology.

According to a statement issued by the University, the research partnership will provide excellent opportunities for their students, as well as helping furthering the aims of syncing public health with emerging distributed ledger technologies.

“The School of Public Health at UC Berkeley is excited to partner with Bitmark Inc on this research fellowship. It is a great opportunity for our young researchers to gain valuable hands-on experience at the intersection of public health and technology.”

The University sector has been reflecting a growing uptake in blockchain development, with students and academics acknowledging the potential tied up in this technology.

Some academics took to the stage at this year’s Consensus conference to discuss the growing interest in the technology, alongside concerns that it is nearly impossible to teach blockchain development at the current rapid rate of change and development.

With clear use cases across a number of industries aside from health care, including banking and finance, energy, shipping and agriculture, blockchain technology is widely recognized for having disruptive potential to a huge range of business and public sector processes.

The projects being delivered by UC Berkeley in conjunction with Bitmark are the latest in a series of similar research efforts already underway, with leading academics keen to focus on research and development of the tech.