Main Article Content
Acquiring healthcare data for secondary use should benefit from a transparent and highly auditable process when handling patient consent. In the current healthcare infrastructure, the healthcare providers hold the stewardship for the patient data, which includes an authority to determine the data access often without involving the respective patients. The current approach to obtaining patient consent as a one-off task is inadequate to facilitate continuous communication among the patients, healthcare providers and data requestors to manage more personalised data access.
Objectives and Approach
This study explores a novel dynamic patient consent mechanism based on blockchain technology and smart contracts. The aim is to enable patients to actively participate in this process by dynamically managing data consent preferences. Furthermore, it also explores the feasibility of implementing a transparent and auditable collaborative access control infrastructure for clinical data analytics, where all the stakeholders can be involved in determining access to health data.
The solution has been designed leveraging the blockchain and smart contracts to ensure auditability and transparency of the consent management process where a set of smart contracts controls access to data with minimum human-interferences. In addition, multiple design goals such as data security, privacy, interoperability, legal compliance and accessibility have also been considered when designing a prototype solution. An empirical evaluation is planned to obtain feedback from stakeholders involved in health data sharing for secondary use.
Conclusion / Implications
The contribution of this research study is to augment the existing data acquisition procedures for clinical data analytics using blockchain and smart contracts. The proposed novel approach aims to empower and enable patients to play a more active role in controlling access to their data for secondary use. The study will also illuminate the opportunities and challenges which blockchain-based technologies can address related to creating collaborative patient-centric healthcare.
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