The Use of Blockchain Technology in the Health Care Sector: Systematic Review

Deepa Elangovan, Chiau Soon Long, Faizah Safina Bakrin, Ching Siang Tan, Khang Wen Goh, Siang Fei Yeoh, Mei Jun Loy, Zahid Hussain, Kah Seng Lee, Azam Che Idris, Long Chiau Ming

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
40 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Blockchain technology is a part of Industry 4.0's new Internet of Things applications: decentralized systems, distributed ledgers, and immutable and cryptographically secure technology. This technology entails a series of transaction lists with identical copies shared and retained by different groups or parties. One field where blockchain technology has tremendous potential is health care, due to the more patient-centric approach to the health care system as well as blockchain's ability to connect disparate systems and increase the accuracy of electronic health records. Objective: The aim of this study was to systematically review studies on the use of blockchain technology in health care and to analyze the characteristics of the studies that have implemented blockchain technology. Methods: This study used a systematic review methodology to find literature related to the implementation aspect of blockchain technology in health care. Relevant papers were searched for using PubMed, SpringerLink, IEEE Xplore, Embase, Scopus, and EBSCOhost. A quality assessment of literature was performed on the 22 selected papers by assessing their trustworthiness and relevance. Results: After full screening, 22 papers were included. A table of evidence was constructed, and the results of the selected papers were interpreted. The results of scoring for measuring the quality of the publications were obtained and interpreted. Out of 22 papers, a total of 3 (14%) high-quality papers, 9 (41%) moderate-quality papers, and 10 (45%) low-quality papers were identified. Conclusions: Blockchain technology was found to be useful in real health care environments, including for the management of electronic medical records, biomedical research and education, remote patient monitoring, pharmaceutical supply chains, health insurance claims, health data analytics, and other potential areas. The main reasons for the implementation of blockchain technology in the health care sector were identified as data integrity, access control, data logging, data versioning, and nonrepudiation. The findings could help the scientific community to understand the implementation aspect of blockchain technology. The results from this study help in recognizing the accessibility and use of blockchain technology in the health care sector.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere17278
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalJMIR medical informatics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


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