Blockchain-Based Distributed Patient-Centric Image Management System
Mohamed Yaseen Jabarulla, Heung-No Lee
Under review in IEEE Journal of Translational Engineering in Health and Medicine. arXiv:2003.08054
In recent years, many researchers have focused on developing a feasible solution for storing and exchanging medical images in the field of health care. Current practices are deployed on cloud-based centralized data centers, which increase maintenance costs, require massive storage space, and raise privacy concerns about sharing information over a network. Therefore, it is important to design a framework to enable sharing and storing of big medical data efficiently within a trustless environment. In the present paper, we propose a novel proof-of-concept design for a distributed patient-centric image management (PCIM) system that is aimed to ensure safety and control of patient private data without using any centralized infrastructure. In this system, we employed an emerging Ethereum blockchain and a distributed file system technology called InterPlanetary File System (IPFS). Then, we implemented an Ethereum smart contract called the patient-centric access control protocol to enable a distributed and trustworthy access control policy. IPFS provides the means for decentralized storage of medical images with global accessibility. The PCIM system ensures a high level of data security and reduces fragmentation of patient health records by applying the steganography and asymmetric cryptographic technique. We describe how the PCIM system architecture facilitates the distributed and secured patient-centric data access across multiple entities such as hospitals, patients, and image requestors. Finally, we conduct and experiment to test the framework within the Windows environment and deploy a smart contract prototype on an Ethereum testnet blockchain. The experimental results demonstrate that the proposed scheme is feasible.