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Blockchain Technology in Healthcare: A Possible Disruption Under the Scope of Privacy
1  Assistant Professor, College of Law, Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University, Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia.
Academic Editor: MOL2NET Team (registering DOI)

There is today a fascination for blockchain technology and how it may improve healthcare systems but its concrete applications are still limited as many questions remain to be solved. Indeed, by definition, all users on a block can see the data shared which will necessarily hurt user’s – patients – privacy. As pointed out by OECD, ‘storing personal health data ‘on chain’ and thus, by definition, visible to other network participants, is a data privacy infringement. Rights under the EU General Data Protection Regulation, particularly the right to erasure, are incompatible with the immutability of blocks in a chain.’[1] Also, public authorities are in a ‘wait and see’ position: few regulations cover specifically the use of blockchain technology. Many states are still trying to understand blockchain technology and its benefits. As a consequence, actors involved in blockchain technology are facing legal and regulatory uncertainty. It is a necessity to adopt specific laws related to the implementation of blockchain technology in a broad manner and in healthcare especially. However, the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2016 applies here as it deals with data protection and imposes a series of stringent obligations on Internet service providers (ISPs). It is interesting to note that OECD made recommendations regarding the use of blockchain technology in healthcare in order to meet key international standards. ‘Potential blockchain applications should be assessed within the framework provided by the Recommendation of the OECD Council on Health Data Governance and focus on four key aspects: fitness of the technology for the use to which it will be applied; alignment with laws and regulations; incremental adoption to allow time for evaluation; and a training and communications plan.’[2]

[1] See OECD, Blockchain Policy Series, Opportunities and Challenges of Blockchain Technologies in Health Care, p. 2, December 2020. Available online:

[2] Id.

Keywords: Blockchain; data protection; ethics; GDPR; healthcare
Comments on this paper
Andrea Ruiz-Escudero
Dear author(s), Happy New Year 24, Thank you for your contribution to our conference. We have a question for you, you can read and answer bellow.

In Table 1 you show the main challenges posed by blockchain technology in healthcare. Among these, which one do you personally consider the most critical or challenging to address, and why?
Rabaï Bouderhem
Dear Andrea,

Thank you for your question.

In my opinion, the most challenging issue is related to the protection of personal health information (PHI) and how healthcare providers will be able to comply with key regulations such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Blockchain technology has to resolve this potential conflict between decentralization - which is intrinsic to the technology itself - and data protection as we need to develop mitigation strategies to ensure the confidentiality and integrity of health data.

Wishing you a happy new 2024 year ahead.

Thank you again.

Humbert G. Díaz
Dear author(s), Thank you for your contribution to our conference!!!
We have a question for you, you can read and answer bellow.

Question for Authors:

What could be the SWOTs of using Block-chain technology to implement transnational (not only national, but in all EU, or even EU-extra communitary cuntries) data-sharing healthcare support systems?

What are better candidate species for such studies according to your experience?

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