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ARBoR: An Identity and Security Solution for Clinical Reporting

By Eric Venner, Mullai Murugan, Walker Hale, Jordan Jones, Shan Lu, Victoria Yi, Richard A. Gibbs

Posted 05 Mar 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/567875 (published DOI: 10.1093/jamia/ocz107)

Motivation: Clinical genome sequencing laboratories return reports containing clinical testing results, signed by an Board Certified clinical geneticist, to the ordering physician. This report is often a pdf, but can also be a physical paper copy or a structured data file. The reports are frequently modified and re-issued, due to changes in variant interpretation or clinical attributes. To precisely track report authenticity we developed ARBoR, an application for tracking the lineage of versioned clinical reports even when they are distributed as pdf or paper copies. ARBoR employs a modified blockchain approach and instead of relying on a computationally intensive consensus mechanism for determining authenticity, we allow supervised and digitally signed writes to an encrypted ledger, which is then exactly replicated to many clients. Results: ARBoR was implemented for clinical reporting in the HGSC-CL Clinical Laboratory, initially as part of the NIH's Electronic Medical Record and Genomics (eMERGE) project. To date we have issued 15,205 versioned clinical reports tracked by ARBoR. This system has provided us with a simple and tamper-proof mechanism for tracking clinical reports with a complicated update history.

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