Perspectives of patients, health care professionals, and developers toward blockchain-based health information exchange: qualitative study

Keehyuck Lee, Kahyun Lim, Se Young Jung, Hyerim Ji, Kyungpyo Hong, Hee Hwang, Ho Young Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Although the electronic health record system adoption rate has reached 96% in the United States, implementation and usage of health information exchange (HIE) is still lagging behind. Blockchain has come into the spotlight as a technology to solve this problem. However, there have been no studies assessing the perspectives of different stakeholders regarding blockchain-based patient-centered HIE. Objective: The objective of this study was to analyze the awareness among patients, health care professionals, and information technology developers toward blockchain-based HIE, and compare their different perspectives related to the platform using a qualitative research methodology. Methods: In this qualitative study, we applied grounded theory and the Promoting Action on Research Implementation in the Health Service (PARiHS) framework. We interviewed 7 patients, 7 physicians, and 7 developers, for a total of 21 interviewees. Results: Regarding the leakage of health information, the patient group did not have concerns in contrast to the physician and developer groups. Physicians were particularly concerned about the fact that errors in the data cannot be easily fixed due to the nature of blockchain technology. Patients were not against the idea of providing information for clinical trials or research institutions. They wished to be provided with the results of clinical research rather than being compensated for providing data. The developers emphasized that blockchain must be technically mature before it can be applied to the health care scene, and standards of medical information to be exchanged must first be established. Conclusions: The three groups’ perceptions of blockchain were generally positive about the idea of patients having the control of sharing their own health information. However, they were skeptical about the cooperation among various institutions and implementation for data standardization in the establishment process, in addition to how the service will be employed in practice. Taking these factors into consideration during planning, development, and operation of a platform will contribute to establishing practical treatment plans and tracking in a more convenient manner for both patients and physicians. Furthermore, it will help expand the related research and health management industry based on blockchain.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere18582
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Blockchain
  • Health information exchange
  • Qualitative study

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