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Mayo Clinic to Use Blockchain for Hypertension Clinical Trial

The distributed ledger technology supports remote patient monitoring, enabling patients to participate in the clinical trial from home, while it allows all stakeholders to access the data from any interface.

This month, Mayo Clinic will onboard a blockchain-integrated platform by Triall for a two-year multicenter pulmonary arterial hypertension trial that includes 10 research sites and more than 500 patients.

Why it matters

By building an immutable blockchain-registered audit trial with Triall’s Veritable Proof API, Mayo Clinic will test end-to-end clinical data integrity – from startup to post-study evaluations. 

The platform will provide secure, decentralized data capture, document management, study monitoring and electronic consent for the clinical trial, according to the tech company’s announcement.

Mayo Clinic investigators, regulators and other stakeholders can access the ledger through a system-independent interface that will be available to multiple stakeholders. Integration with medical devices supports remote data collection, and mobile access to the platform will help the Mayo Clinic manage the study. 

Triall developed the blockchain-integrated document management system Verial eTMF, used in the world’s first blockchain-supported clinical trials. In March, Triall partnered with Crucial Data Solutions, a software provider for clinical trial data collection and management that has been used in more than 7,000 clinical trials worldwide.

The platform is tokenized with the company’s native TRL token, which can be used to compensate clinical trial participants, meaning it is used by third parties to access the platform.

If successful, Triall hopes to collaborate further decentralized medical research with the Mayo Clinic. 

The larger trend

In 2018, the Mayo Clinic explored blockchain for storing electronic health records with London-based Medicalchain, but the use cases did not resonate for the long term.

The use of blockchain for healthcare – distributed ledger technology, with no central authority over data, that provides secure, reliable real-time data storage and sharing – has been promising but limited so far, said Dr. John Halamka, president of the Mayo Clinic Platform. 

In a December 2021 article on the Mayo Clinic Platform website written with Paul Cerrato, a senior research analyst and communications specialist at the clinic, Halamka said the search for blockchain’s “sweet spot” in the healthcare ecosystem continues.

“Like many ‘revolutions,’ blockchain continues to face problems when implemented in the real world,” he said. “Its true value will take time and patience to determine.”

Others believe blockchain can provide never-before-seen transparency for healthcare payment transactions. 

“Blockchain provides both payers and providers with complete visibility into the entire lifecycle of a claim, from the patient registering at the front desk to disputing a cost to sending an explanation of benefits,” Kali Durgampudi, CTO at Zelis, shared with Healthcare IT News in a July conversation about healthcare’s biggest blockchain myths. 

Triall notes on its website that clinical trials have taken place by leveraging telemedicine and mobile engagement tools that capture data, doctor-patient interactions and patient reminders, enabling participation from home. 

Decentralization can offer better patient experience, according to the company, by increasing convenience and minimizing the burdens of participating in a clinical trial.

“We are confident our collaboration will pave the way towards further innovation and enhanced quality in clinical development, utilizing the strengths of blockchain technology where these truly add value,” Hadil Es-Sbai, co-founder and CEO of Triall, said in a statement.

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