Achieving interoperability between healthcare providers is a major challenge. Current systems for managing prescription records suffer from data siloing, unnecessary record duplication, and slow record transfers. In many systems, patients do not retain control over their prescription data. Instead, they must use an intermediary to access or transfer their records. Furthermore, record transfers suffer from differing standards between providers, outdated communication methods, and information blocking. Solving these problems necessitates the creation of an interoperable prescription management system. Realizing such a system requires considering security, efficiency, scalability, and other challenges. Recent regulatory actions attempt to address these challenges, but fundamental issues persist. This paper proposes a patient-centric and interoperable prescription system that ensures patient control, prevents information blocking, and improves transfer efficiency. We call our solution VigilRx—a system that uses blockchain and smart contracts to manage prescriptions. Stakeholders exist as one of three role-based smart contracts within the system: patient, prescriber, or pharmacy. These role contracts ensure the system is patient-centric by assigning ownership of prescription records directly to patients. Our smart contracts also ensure the system’s interoperability, as we use a standardized prescription contract to ensure records can be easily managed. VigilRx’s use of blockchain also promotes transparency by providing patients an explicit list of parties that hold permission to access their records. Use of existing software patterns allows the system to adapt as needed. We implement VigilRx and show that it is both scalable and efficient.
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Taylor, Alixandra; Kugler, Austin; Marella, Praneeth Babu; and Dagher, Gaby G. (2022). "VigilRx: A Scalable and Interoperable Prescription Management System Using Blockchain". IEEE Access, 10, 25973-25986. https://doi.org/10.1109/ACCESS.2022.3156015