Australian secure cloud provider Vault Systems and blockchain startup Agile Digital have combined forces to provide the department with an immutable record for tracking health data research. By Asha McLean

| May 20, 2018 — 22:00 GMT (15:00 PDT)

| Topic: Innovation The Australian Department of Health is working on a proof of concept that uses blockchain to record who is accessing its medical data.

Teaming up with secure cloud provider Vault Systems to host the data, and local startup Agile Digital for its distributed ledger technology, the department is exploring blockchain as means to prove who is accessing medical data, why they’re accessing it, and to securely record research queries. Must read: My Health Record secondary data must stay in Australia and not be used for ‘solely commercial’ reasons Speaking with ZDNet about the project, Agile Digital executive director David Elliot said the department was seeking a platform that supports research on health data, while maintaining privacy on citizen data.

“They dually want to make that [data] available for health researchers, because in the huge trove of data, there could be cures for cancer, or at least indicate in that direction,” Elliot said. Elliot said Agile Digital spoke with department director Lindsay Barton about solutions, and came up with one using the Vault Secure Cloud.

“Given we’ve now got the ability to securely store data within Vault Cloud … we could leave the data in place, expose the metadata — that the department can offer for research — expose that metadata out, and provide a laboratory or a data science toolkit to the internet, so researchers can see it,” he continued.

“The secret sauce is that if a researcher submits an experiment against that data, we take that query, through a data diode, down deep into the Vault datacentre, execute the query … pull back that answer to that query, for the researcher, but not ever expose the data itself. Read more from…

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