Abstract Title

Transparent Prescription Tracking Using Blockchain

Additional Funding Sources

This research was supported by a National Science Foundation Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) REU, Grant No. 2051127.

Abstract

Current prescription management solutions are often outdated, relying on methods such as phone and fax to establish communication between care providers, pharmacists, and patients. This antiquated system can lead to duplicated prescription records and fails to prevent issues such information blocking on the part of health information service providers. Additionally, current prescription systems do not provide patients with adequate control over their prescription information. Patients are limited to requesting that their prescription data be transferred by a care provider, without direct control. Solving these problems requires a patient-transparent prescription tracking solution in which records are readily accessible, timely to transfer, secure, and managed with accountability in mind. Emerging technologies such as blockchain and smart contracts have significant potential to address these challenges by providing a decentralized and immutable public ledger. Furthermore the inclusion of smart contracts allows a patient-centered model of record control, accessible from any internet-enabled device. Our research focused on building and evaluating such a solution. Our solution includes a decentralized application that facilitates communication between stakeholders and provides patients with control over their data via a web-based interface. We identified emergent technical challenges in regards to compliance with the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, data security practices, promoting user accessibility, and managing system scalability within the context of blockchain. We also found several areas for future study like addressing emerging data privacy standards, increasing the availability of prescription distribution data for research purposes, and the potential of purpose-built hardware interfaces for securing blockchain interactions.

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Transparent Prescription Tracking Using Blockchain

Current prescription management solutions are often outdated, relying on methods such as phone and fax to establish communication between care providers, pharmacists, and patients. This antiquated system can lead to duplicated prescription records and fails to prevent issues such information blocking on the part of health information service providers. Additionally, current prescription systems do not provide patients with adequate control over their prescription information. Patients are limited to requesting that their prescription data be transferred by a care provider, without direct control. Solving these problems requires a patient-transparent prescription tracking solution in which records are readily accessible, timely to transfer, secure, and managed with accountability in mind. Emerging technologies such as blockchain and smart contracts have significant potential to address these challenges by providing a decentralized and immutable public ledger. Furthermore the inclusion of smart contracts allows a patient-centered model of record control, accessible from any internet-enabled device. Our research focused on building and evaluating such a solution. Our solution includes a decentralized application that facilitates communication between stakeholders and provides patients with control over their data via a web-based interface. We identified emergent technical challenges in regards to compliance with the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, data security practices, promoting user accessibility, and managing system scalability within the context of blockchain. We also found several areas for future study like addressing emerging data privacy standards, increasing the availability of prescription distribution data for research purposes, and the potential of purpose-built hardware interfaces for securing blockchain interactions.