Intel, ConsenSys Health Advance Pandemic Research

ConsenSys Health applies privacy-preserving blockchain security, with support from Intel’s Pandemic Response Technology Initiative, to help combat COVID-19.

Healthcare software solutions provider ConsenSys Health is using blockchain-based data security fueled by Intel technology to conduct research into making clinical trial recruitment more efficient and equitable. On the heels of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) first global report on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) for healthcare and medicine, ConsenSys Health is seizing opportunities to apply innovative technology that helps protect patient privacy while increasing efficiency with the goal of combating the coronavirus.

“Long-standing industry challenges have only intensified throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This is especially true for marginalized communities who consistently battle inequities in access to clinical trials,” says Sean Manion, Ph.D., chief scientific officer of ConsenSys Health. “With the help of Intel’s Pandemic Response Technology Initiative and Intel technology, we are able to better work towards making healthcare more equitable for all.”

Clinical trial recruitment is expensive, inefficient and time-consuming. As COVID-19 therapeutics move through fast-tracked research pipelines and into clinical trials, it is critical to effectively recruit patients – including those from more vulnerable populations who consistently battle inequities in access to care – into those trials while protecting patient privacy.

ConsenSys Health and a large pharmaceutical company researched a privacy-preserving blockchain-orchestrated federated computing approach to clinical trial matching. Processing electronic health record data was considerably faster with hardware-enhanced security through ConsenSys Health’s Elevated Compute platform optimized for Intel Software Guard Extensions (Intel SGX) on the latest 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable platform, compared to previous systems. The benefits of this privacy-preserving approach can be applied across the global pharmaceutical industry to improve patient matching for clinical trials and accelerate treatment discoveries.

The global COVID-19 pandemic brought to light data security challenges and inefficiencies that exist within the healthcare industry. Through grants from Intel’s Pandemic Response Technology Initiative (PRTI), companies like ConsenSys Health can gain accelerated access to Intel security and built-in AI technologies required to fuel new, novel research and scientific discoveries.

As workloads expand from the cloud to the edge, threat models are evolving and it’s more important than ever to secure sensitive data. Rooted in silicon, Intel hardware-based security creates a trusted foundation to help protect data and support multiparty collaboration in highly regulated industries, such as healthcare, while helping maintain data privacy and compliance.