About this Research Topic
Blockchain is demonstrating its potential to re-architect many incumbent business models, removing friction and improving data sharing in a highly secure environment, while leveraging existing IT infrastructure. There is potential and opportunity to address issues in health systems through adaptation and testing of blockchain, especially in the management of patient records and data, financing, supply chain management, health workforce management, and surveillance processes. Github (2017), reported significant activity in healthcare data infrastructure, electronic and patient health records and health care analytics, medical device and IoT security, identity, supply chain, and digital medicine and care delivery.
The basic principles which underpin the technology help demonstrate why blockchain suits the health sector transformation. Firstly, blockchain enables a distributed database, where each party on a blockchain has access to the entire database and its complete history. No single party controls the data or the information, and every party can verify the records of its transaction partners directly, without an intermediary.
In this system, the peer-to-peer transmission is supported, with communication occurring directly between peers as opposed to through a central node. Each node stores and forwards information to all other nodes. With health systems in emerging settings often decentralized, they face constant challenges both to centralize information (national reporting) and to share information across disparate nodes (sharing information on patient treatment at different health service sites). Distributed databases are, by design, intended to address these issues.
Secondly, blockchain technology enables transparency with pseudonymity, where each transaction is visible to anyone with permission to access the system, but where users can choose to remain anonymous or provide proof of their identity to others. Once a transaction is entered in the database recording on the database is permanent, chronologically ordered, and available to all others on the network. Finally, transactions can be tied to computational logic and programmed. With blockchains offering properties of decentralization, transparency, and immutability that can potentially be leveraged to improve healthcare interoperability, programmable blockchains have generated interest as a potential solution to key challenges such as inefﬁcient clinical report delivery and fragmented health records.
The goal of this Research Topic is to present research and commentary on the growing body of knowledge and work on Blockchain in Health Care.
Potential topics include, but are not limited to:
• Clinical Trials
• Secure data sharing
• Supply chain
• Blockchain and AI
• Patient health records,
• Health care analytics,
• Medical device and IoT security
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.