​Blockchain for Smart Healthcare


In 2013, the US Congress passed the Drug Supply Chain Security Act, calling for a new system to follow the movement of pharmaceutical drugs as they flow through the supply chain. We are also concerned with storing the results of drug tests conducted by pharmaceutical manufacturers on the various batches of various drugs they produce. The system we develop should be able to store these results and link them to the many containers of drugs moving through the supply chain while maintaining the privacy of certain data and transactions. We believe that blockchain technology contains many beneficial attributes that will streamline and simplify this process for all relevant parties.

What is Blockchain?

In simple words, a blockchain is "a continuously growing list of records linked and secured using cryptography." Essentially a chain of blocks, each block contains transactions made between entities and information such as a timestamp and a hash pointer to the previous block. Because hash functions produce unique hashes for the most part, we know that there could have only be one specific block the hash pointer was pointing to, and this type of chaining prevents people from easily changing the important contents (transactions) recorded by the blockchain.

Within a blockchain network, multiple connected nodes receive transactions placed by users, and it is the nodes' jobs to propagate and order these transactions. Each node will come up with their own block to propose as the next block in the blockchain, but how do we come to a consensus on which block to choose?

  • Proof of work: Each node must solve a cryptographic puzzle regarding their block, and the first one to do so wins
  • Proof of stake: The more assets in a network a node is willing to stake, the more likely their block will be chosen
  • Random choice
  • Third-party consensus systems

Hyperledger Fabric

Hyperledger Fabric is an open-source project run by the Linux Foundation. It provides the structure for a permissioned blockchain network with default consensus systems, databases, and customization for other aspects. The key features presented by Hyperledger Fabric include:

  • Multiple channels in a network, providing separation/compartmentalization of data
  • A blockchain ledger and a world state database for every channel, where every access and change to the world state is recorded in the ledger
  • Access control through smart contracts built in to the operation of the blockchain network

Main Concept

We can use an Access Control Matrix to control how different actors can interact with the data in the world state.

  • Actors: FDA, Manufacturers, Wholesalers, Customers
  • Actions: Read, Initialize, Edit, Delete
  • Characteristics: Maker, Drug Type, Container ID, Timestamp, Expiration Date, Test Results, Pills per container, Owner, Price, Location

Key Ideas:

  • Ownership of a container is changed through smart contracts
  • Location of a container cannot be read if it is in a customer’s possession
  • Only the FDA can delete data from database
  • The FDA and customers can for the most part only read values
  • Some values cannot be edited once initialized, and only manufacturers initialize data

This attempts to follow the principle of least privilege while maintaining the privacy of certain characteristics.
We plan to use the characteristics of Hyperledger Fabric to build our own network and write the smart contracts (chaincode) that will model the access control matrix we have created. We hope to test functionality, scalability, robustness, and feasibility.

Team Members

Advisor: Wade Trappe

  • Nicholas Heah, Rutgers University ECE/CS Class of 2020
  • Avinash Kumar, Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Technologies Class of 2020

Weekly Presentations

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
NYIT Presentation
Week 9

Last modified 2 years ago Last modified on Aug 29, 2019, 9:17:49 PM
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