Title

Blockchain: An enabler for healthcare and life sciences transformation

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

3-1-2019

Journal

IBM Journal of Research and Development

Volume

63

Issue

2

DOI

10.1147/JRD.2019.2913622

Abstract

© 1957-2012 IBM. Major trends in healthcare and life sciences (HCLS) include huge amounts of and longitudinal patient data, policies on a patient's rights to access and control their data, a move from fee-for-service to outcome-based contracts, and regulatory and privacy requirements. Blockchain, as a distributed transactional system of record, can provide underpinnings to enable these trends and enable transformative opportunities in HCLS by providing immutable data on a shared ledger, secure and authenticated transactions, and smart contracts that can represent rules that are executed with secure transactions. We describe HCLS use cases leveraging these facets of blockchain, including patient consent and health data exchange, outcome-based contracts, next-generation clinical trials, supply chain, and payments and claims. We then describe a blockchain-based architecture and platform for enabling these use cases. Finally, we outline a realization of this architecture in a case study and outline further research topics in this domain.

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