Blockchain as a Technology to Facilitate Privacy and Better Health Record Management
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Fear of stigmatization and discrimination from colleagues, friends and family drives patients with various type of mental health problems away from a traditional face-to-face therapy and enforces them to look for an alternative treatment methods. Internet-based mental health therapy helps patients to get their needed therapies and support from healthcare professional and peers, or as a part of automated online form of therapy. Conducting Internet based therapy anonymously is vital for the patient privacy. However, lack of trust, access permission, ownership control and traceability undermines patient safety and security. Blockchain technology is an innovative technology initially designed for a cryptocurrency. However, with the introduction of programming blockchain and smart contracts, the technology has extended its importance to other areas for developing decentralized application (DApp), such as mental health related information management, which is the primary focus of this thesis. Privacy and security are very crucial for patient safety and to preserve patient’s medical history from adversaries. Sharing of private medical information online between the patient and their respective provider contains sensitive information that can easily be compromised if a proper security measure is not put in place. Blockchain is consensus-based peer-to-peer distributed ledger technology that stores and maintains an updated copy of all transactions within the network. It makes trust more transparent and traceable by keeping auditable-logs of all transactions in the form of blocks. In this thesis, Blockchain and its underlying technology are studied, and a prototype has been developed to explore the potential of the blockchain technology. Furthermore, we explore alternative distributed ledger technologies and their respective security models such as consensus protocols, cryptographic techniques, privacy and scalability. The prototype was proposed based on Ethereum blockchain.