FDA may use blockchain for medical recalls

Blockchain may be a future solution for the FDA to leverage medical recalls.

The “teaser” announcement was made by Amy Abernethy, MD, PhD, principal deputy commissioner at the Office of the Commissioner and the acting CIO of the FDA, who spoke at the ONC’s third Interoperability Forum last week.

The FDA has already been thinking about blockchain as a solution. The agency launched a drug tracking blockchain project, alongside partners such as IBM, KPMG, Merck and Walmart, aimed at improving the drug supply chain.

A tech-focused approach to medical recalls is on the way, Abernethy noted.

“In the next month or two, we will be rolling out a plan to modernize FDA’s approach to the use of technology for its regulatory mission, including the review of medical product applications,” Abernethy said. “It will include modernization of FDA infrastructure to make sure we can support emerging uses of artificial intelligence, blockchain and other technologies.”

The FDA is also interested in AI-enabled healthcare solutions that can personalize health and medical decisions. Furthermore, AI capabilities can further the agency’s interoperability goals.

“These new technologies offer transformative opportunities that can make the healthcare system not only more effective, but also more efficient and patient-centered,” she said.