Blockchain’s coming to hospital to digitalize healthcare services: Designing a distributed electronic health record ecosystem

The technological revolution in blockchain achieved the healthcare sector and offered a significant opportunity to lead this digital transformation. A significant problem is that various healthcare organizations keep numerous and fragmented patient medical records. The proposed platform solves this problem by integrating electronic medical reports in a private and permissioned blockchain to create a distributed electronic health record (EHR) ecosystem. In this context, the information processing theory (IPT) allowed us to design and validate a blockchain-based EHR system enhancing the storage of medical records and data exchange among healthcare providers and reducing environmental uncertainty. The potential benefits of the implementation of our distributed network regard clinical outcomes (e.g., improved quality, reduced medical errors), organizational outcomes (e.g., financial, operational benefits), and managerial outcomes (e.g., improved ability to conduct research, improved population health, reduced costs). Future research directions concern the application of the proposed blockchain platform to a vast extent of healthcare services and organizations.