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UAE Telecom Company Du Unveils Health-care Blockchain Project

Du, one of two telecom companies serving the United Arab Emirates, has announced a new partnership over blockchain technology, as it moves to provide secure health records via the distributed ledger.

Du has announced an agreement with health-care provider NMC Healthcare, which will see the two work together to develop blockchain technologies suitable of the secure handling and transfer of medical information.

According to reports from Du, the project will see a collaboration between the two companies as they search for ways of facilitating more secure, cost-effective data handling for sensitive medical records.

Du’s chief new business and innovation officer Carlos Domingo said the project represented an exciting opportunity to move patient records to a distributed digital framework.

“By digitizing all health records, and putting them in blockchain technology, data can be shared and distributed across all hospitals,” he said. “We are looking at fully digitizing the health system with blockchain technology to assure data integrity with zero error and guarantee end-to-end accountability of the patients’ records.”

The project will draw on expertise from Estonia-based blockchain startup Guardtime, with the companies working together to devise a distributed infrastructure for the management of patient data. It is hoped that on completion, the technology will eliminate error, improve accountability, and introduce a new layer of security to patient medical information.

The project is scheduled to run throughout 2017, with launch expectations slated for early 2018.

The announcement comes at a time of unprecedented growth for blockchain technologies, as companies, governments and startups worldwide grapple with the technology to develop new uses and market-ready models.

Du’s involvement is as part of a wider consortium of over 30 businesses in the region, working in concert with the Dubai government’s Global Blockchain Council. The body was set up to pool expertise, with a view to developing industry-specific applications for distributed ledger technology.

With 2016 going down as a landmark year for the development of blockchain technologies, partnerships like this will only continue to strengthen its commercial viability in 2017 and beyond.