A User-centered system with blockchain in the Norwegian healthcare: From a security and privacy perspective
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Original versionGjelsten, S. & Tunge, S.B. (2021) A User-centered system with blockchain in the Norwegian healthcare: From a security and privacy perspective (Master's thesis). University of Agder, Kristiansand.
With the current Covid-19 pandemic roaming the world, the IT attacks on the healthcare sector has increased five folds from 2019 to 2020. The Norwegian healthcare system is divided into different regions with their own systems respectfully. This fragmentation causes great communication issues between systems and exposes the transmitted data for attacks. To better combat this situation and improve upon the fragmented healthcare systems, a restructure is needed. In this thesis we explore the possibility of using blockchain technology as the foundation of a system that unifies the systems in the Norwegian healthcare sector. We adopt a Design Science Research approach to propose a blockchain-based architecture to solve the problem. Interviews with IT professionals in the Norwegian healthcare sector gave us their opinion about implementing blockchain and how the current systems are structured. Scalability was a common issue that different papers cited. There were multiple proposed solutions for this issue, but none seem practical for implementation today. It continues to be a difficulty and is one of the biggest reasons why we see hesitation in parts of the relevant sectors. Of course, blockchain has its upsides as well. Improved security and privacy with immutable ledgers make the system better suited for an increasingly exposed IT sector. It also provides a stronger availability since the same information is distributed between different nodes which take away the single failure point of regular database systems. The result from our evaluation of our proposed system is that it provides great user experience, increased security and privacy and better availability. Unfortunately, the benefits in these areas compared to the current systems are rather slim. Blockchain also introduces some performance penalty for smaller systems and scalability issues when the system becomes too large (with reference to storage and processing power). The conclusion is that a blockchain based healthcare system is better, but the amount of money and effort required to restructure the current system is too high and the demand for increased security is still too low. A more unified version of the current system could see good results, even without using blockchain.
Master's thesis in Cyber security (IS507)