Blockchain Technology in Healthcare - Concepts, Methodologies, and Applications

A Complete Review of Block Chain Technology in the Health Sector

Author(s): Sourav Kumar Giri and Sujata Dash *

Pp: 54-76 (23)

DOI: 10.2174/9789815165197123010006

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


The health sector has been a huge market in recent times. It is drawing minute attention regarding pathological tests, drug manufacturing and supply, clinical trials and diagnosis by doctors and finally, recovery of patients quickly. The technologies used in health care for the last decades are redundant. Clinical trials and diagnoses by doctors can be made more accurate, better and faster with a past medical history of the patient in hand. Drug manufacturing and distribution can be made tampered proof and monitored properly by designing a transparent supply management system for medicine and medical goods. Attempts were made in the past to record the medical history of patients in a centralized database server, which lacks security, immutability and consistency of the records. This paper reports a systematic review of the application of revolutionary and disruptive Blockchain technology in healthcare systems to address the above issues. Blockchain technology can be used to create cryptographically immutable, time-stamped, distributed and tamper-proof ledger in a distributed P2P network to maintain Electronic Health Records (EHR) in the health care system. This technology removes all intermediaries between the source and destination point of any transaction. In a Blockchain network, transactions are cryptographically connected and hence merely difficult to modify the content of any transaction. This review shows that a number of studies in the past have proposed the application of Blockchain in health care. However, many of these used cases lack detailed prototypes and consensus algorithms from an implementation point of view. The review also highlights and depicts in detail the application of Blockchain in EHR and medicine supply management systems. The review further highlights the bottleneck of Blockchain and the area of its research in the near future.

Keywords: Blockchain, Consensus, Distributed ledger, Mining, P2P Network, Supply chain.

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