Utilizing Sidechains to Improve Blockchains for Healthcare
DescriptionElectronic Health Records (EHRs) continue to serve as an improvement upon the outdated method of keeping paper copies of health records. Unfortunately, different hospital systems tend to use different EHR software leading to issues with interoperability. The lack of interoperability in different medical facilities presents problems in situations where a patient requires treatment that spans across multiple locations resulting in wasted time, resources, and obstructs patient access to health records. Blockchains continue to be proposed as a promising solution for supporting EHRs, which have improved many aspects of healthcare and allowed for easier patient management for medical providers. Coupled with the idea to utilize blockchains in this space are the concerns surrounding the scalability of such applications and the ability to support the throughput of a real-world healthcare system. This work illustrates the scalability issues and bottleneck possibilities with current blockchain solutions and the limitations of using mainstream blockchains to support healthcare systems. We propose the use of sidechains as a solution to ongoing scalability concerns, along with the Patient-Healthchain architecture as an advancement toward solving the interoperability dilemma.