Addressing the Challenges of Electronic Health Records Using Blockchain and IPFS

Iris Cathrina Abacan Pilares, Sami Azam, Serkan Akbulut, Mirjam Jonkman, Bharanidharan Shanmugam

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    Electronic Health Records (EHR) are the healthcare sector's core digital strategy meant to improve the quality of care provided to patients. Despite the benefits afforded by this digital transformation initiative, adoption among healthcare organizations has been slower than desired. The sheer volume and sensitive nature of patient records compel these organizations to exercise a healthy amount of caution in implementing EHR. Cyberattacks have also increased the risks associated with non-optimal EHR implementations. An influx of high-profile data breaches has plagued the sector during the COVID-19 pandemic, which put the spotlight on EHR cybersecurity. One objective of this research project is to aid the acceleration of EHR adoption. Another objective is to ensure the robustness of the system to resist malicious attacks. For the former, a systematic review was used to unearth all the possible causes why the adoption of EHR has been anemic. In this paper, sixty-five existing proposed EHR solutions were analyzed and it was found that there are fourteen major challenges that need to be addressed to reduce friction and risk for health organizations. These were privacy, security, confidentiality, interoperability, access control, scalability, authentication, accessibility, availability, data storage, data ownership, data validity, data integrity, and ease of use. We propose EHRChain, a new framework that tackles all the listed challenges simultaneously to address the first objective while also being designed to achieve the second objective. It is enabled by dual-blockchains based on Hyperledger Sawtooth to allow patient data decentralization via a consortium blockchain and IPFS for distributed data storage.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number4032
    Pages (from-to)1-43
    Number of pages43
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022


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