We sought to explore the technical and legal readiness of healthcare institutions for novel data-sharing methods that allow clinical information to be extracted from electronic health records (EHRs) and submitted securely to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) blockchain through a secure data broker (SDB).
This assessment was divided into four sections: an institutional EHR readiness assessment, legal consultation, institutional review board application submission, and a test of healthcare data transmission over a blockchain infrastructure.
All participating institutions reported the ability to electronically extract data from EHRs for research. Formal legal agreements were deemed unnecessary to the project but would be needed in future tests of real patient data exchange. Data transmission to the FDA blockchain met the success criteria of data connection from within the four institutions' firewalls, externally to the FDA blockchain via a SDB.
The readiness survey indicated advanced analytic capability in hospital institutions and highlighted inconsistency in Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources format utilitzation across institutions, despite requirements of the 21st Century Cures Act. Further testing across more institutions and annual exercises leveraging the application of data exchange over a blockchain infrastructure are recommended actions for determining the feasibility of this approach during a public health emergency and broaden the understanding of technical requirements for multisite data extraction.
The FDA's RAPID (Real-Time Application for Portable Interactive Devices) program, in collaboration with Discovery, the Critical Care Research Network's PREP (Program for Resilience and Emergency Preparedness), identified the technical and legal challenges and requirements for rapid data exchange to a government entity using the FDA blockchain infrastructure.