Blockchain in healthcare applications requires robust security and privacy mechanism for high-level authentication, interoperability and medical records sharing to comply with the strict legal requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. Blockchain technology in the healthcare industry has received considerable research attention in recent years. This study conducts a review to substantially analyse and map the research landscape of current technologies, mainly the use of blockchain in healthcare applications, into a coherent taxonomy. The present study systematically searches all relevant research articles on blockchain in healthcare applications in three accessible databases, namely, ScienceDirect, IEEE and Web of Science, by using the defined keywords ‘blockchain’, ‘healthcare’ and ‘electronic health records’ and their variations. The final set of collected articles related to the use of blockchain in healthcare application is divided into three categories. The first category includes articles (i.e. 43/58 scientific articles) that attempted to develop and design healthcare applications integrating blockchain, particularly those on new architecture, system designs, framework, scheme, model, platform, approach, protocol and algorithm. The second category includes studies (i.e., 6/58 scientific articles) that attempted to evaluate and analyse the adoption of blockchain in the healthcare system. Finally, the third category comprises review and survey articles (i.e., 6/58 scientific articles) related to the integration of blockchain into healthcare applications. The final articles for review are discussed on the basis of five aspects: (1) year of publication, (2) nationality of authors, (3) publishing house or journal, (4) purpose of using blockchain in health applications and the corresponding contributions and (5) problem types and proposed solutions. Additionally, this study provides identified motivations, open challenges and recommendations on the use of blockchain in healthcare applications. The current research contributes to the literature by providing a detailed review of feasible alternatives and identifying the research gaps. Accordingly, researchers and developers are provided with appealing opportunities to further develop decentralised healthcare applications through a comprehensive discussion of about the importance of blockchain and its integration into various healthcare applications.
Journal of Medical Systems – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 14, 2019
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