Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

© Edward Meinert, Abrar Alturkistani, Kimberley A Foley, Tasnime Osama, Josip Car, Azeem Majeed, Michelle Van Velthoven, Glenn Wells, David Brindley. Background: A blockchain is a digitized, decentralized, distributed public ledger that acts as a shared and synchronized database that records cryptocurrency transactions. Despite the shift toward digital platforms enabled by electronic medical records, demonstrating a will to reform the health care sector, health systems face issues including security, interoperability, data fragmentation, timely access to patient data, and silos. The application of health care blockchains could enable data interoperability, enhancement of precision medicine, and reduction in prescription frauds through implementing novel methods in access and patient consent. Objective: To summarize the evidence on the strategies and frameworks utilized to implement blockchains for patient data in health care to ensure privacy and improve interoperability and scalability. It is anticipated this review will assist in the development of recommendations that will assist key stakeholders in health care blockchain implementation, and we predict that the evidence generated will challenge the health care status quo, moving away from more traditional approaches and facilitating decision making of patients, health care providers, and researchers. Methods: A systematic search of MEDLINE/PubMed, Embase, Scopus, ProQuest Technology Collection and Engineering Index will be conducted. Two experienced independent reviewers will conduct titles and abstract screening followed by full-text reading to determine study eligibility. Data will then be extracted onto data extraction forms before using the Cochrane Collaboration Risk of Bias Tool to appraise the quality of included randomized studies and the Risk of Bias in nonrandomized studies of Interventions to assess the quality of nonrandomized studies. Data will then be analyzed and synthesized. Results: Database searches will be initiated in September 2018. We expect to complete the review in January 2019. Conclusions: This review will summarize the strategies and frameworks used to implement blockchains in health care to increase data privacy, interoperability, and scalability. This review will also help clarify if the strategies and frameworks required for the operationalization of blockchains in health care ensure the privacy of patient data while enabling efficiency, interoperability, and scalability.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Medical Internet Research

Publication Date