The University of Southampton

Cyber security collaboration wins Health Data Provenance Challenge

Published: 18 July 2017

An innovative proposal from scientists at the University of Southampton to trace the origin of data has been named a winner of an international provenance challenge.

The Hyper E-Health plan, a collaboration between experts from Southampton’s Department of Electronics and Computer Science and industrial partner Tiani Spirit, is one of four winners in the first phase of the Oh the Places Data Goes: Health Data Provenance Challenge.

The competition is being hosted by the U.S.A’s Department of Health and Human Services Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) as it seeks to find innovative and standardised solutions for the improvement and collection of healthcare data.

Hyper E-Health’s success is being welcomed by Professor Vladimiro Sassone, Director of the University’s Cyber Security Academy, as a crucial “first step towards reliable data provenance” as it builds on recent research outcomes to offer a blockchain solution for the tracing of data origin.

“Data provenance technologies will be ubiquitous across virtually all sectors of online human activity in the future,” he explains. “From industrial supply chains to medical record storage and financial sector contacts, the use of distributed leger technologies like blockchain may play a major role in ensuring reliable data provenance. “The growing team at the University of Southampton is working in new and innovative uses of distributed ledger technology and has already made significant contributions in a number of application areas. We are delighted that our team’s contribution to this particular project was essential in winning this award.”

The project’s proposal is based on existing standards such as the Sequoia Project and the Nationwide Health Information Network (NwHIN). These have been reinterpreted in the blockchain context, a technique which could for the first time realise fully decentralised software systems, ensuring high integrity guarantees and democratic control of data.

The Hyper E-Health team, which has involved Southampton Research Fellow Andrea Margheri, has been awarded $20,000 and will now compete in the next round of the competition to test the proposed solution and present real-world findings.

Find out more about the Oh the Places Data Goes: Health Data Provenance Challenge at:

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