Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 32727
Blockchain Technology Applications in Patient Tracking Systems Regarding Privacy-Preserving Concerns and COVID-19 Pandemic

Authors: Farbod Behnaminia, Saeed Samet


The COVID-19 pandemic has paralyzed many lives until a vaccine has been available, which caused the so-called "new normal". COVID-19 is an infectious disease. It can cause significant illness or death in anyone. Governments and health officials tried to impose rules and regulations to avoid and slow down transmission. Therefore, software engineers worldwide developed applications to trace and track patients’ movements and notify others, mainly using Bluetooth. In this way, everyone could be informed whether they came in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 and take proper safety precautions. Because most of the applications use technologies that can potentially reveal the user’s identity and location, researchers have debated privacy preservation and how to improve user privacy during such pandemics. We conducted a comprehensive evaluation of the literature by looking for papers in the relevant field and dividing them into pre- and post-pandemic systems. Additionally, we discussed the many uses of blockchain technology in pandemic control. We found that two major obstacles facing blockchain implementation across many healthcare systems are scalability and privacy. The Polkadot platform is presented, along with a review of its efficacy in tackling current concerns. A more scalable healthcare system is achievable in near future using Polkadot as well as a much more privacy-preserving environment.

Keywords: Blockchain, Electronic Record Management, EHR, Privacy-Preserving, patient tracking, COVID-19, trust and confidence, Polkadot.

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 351


[1] “Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) EURO.” (Online). Available:
[2] WHO. (2021) “Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) – World Health Organization". (Online). Available:
[3] ——. (2021) WHO Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard. (Online). Available:
[4] M. Swan, Blockchain: Blueprint for a new economy. " O’Reilly Media, Inc.", 2015.
[5] S. Nakamoto, “Bitcoin: A peer-to-peer electronic cash system,” Decentralized Business Review, p. 21260, 2008.
[6] H. Xu, L. Zhang, O. Onireti, Y. Fang, W. J. Buchanan, and M. A. Imran, “BeepTrace: blockchain-enabled privacy-preserving contact tracing for COVID-19 pandemic and beyond,” IEEE Internet of Things Journal, 2020.
[7] A. Khatoon, “Use of blockchain technology to curb Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) transmission,” Available at SSRN 3584226, 2020.
[8] M. A. Cyran, “Blockchain as a Foundation for Sharing Healthcare Data,” Blockchain in Healthcare Today, Mar. 2018.
[9] T.-T. Kuo, H.-E. Kim, and L. Ohno-Machado, “Blockchain distributed ledger technologies for biomedical and health care applications,” Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, vol. 24, no. 6, pp. 1211–1220, 2017.
[10] Y. Alabdulkarim, A. Alameer, M. Almukaynizi, and A. Almaslukh, “Spin: A blockchain-based framework for sharing covid-19 pandemic information across nations,” Applied Sciences, vol. 11, no. 18, p. 8767, 2021.
[11] G. Wood et al., “Ethereum: A secure decentralised generalised transaction ledger,” Ethereum project yellow paper, vol. 151, no. 2014, pp. 1–32, 2014.
[12] L. Fang, G. Karakiulakis, and M. Roth, “Are patients with hypertension and diabetes mellitus at increased risk for covid-19 infection?” The lancet respiratory medicine, vol. 8, no. 4, 2020.
[13] S. H. Wong, R. N. Lui, and J. J. Sung, “Covid-19 and the digestive system,” Journal of gastroenterology and hepatology, vol. 35, no. 5, pp. 744–748, 2020.
[14] R. Baldwin and E. Tomiura, “Thinking ahead about the trade impact of covid-19,” Economics in the Time of COVID-19, vol. 59, 2020.
[15] E. Team, “The epidemiological characteristics of an outbreak of 2019 novel coronavirus diseases (covid-19)—china, 2020,” China CDC weekly, vol. 2, no. 8, p. 113, 2020.
[16] H. Chen, J. Guo, C. Wang, F. Luo, X. Yu, W. Zhang, J. Li, D. Zhao, D. Xu, Q. Gong et al., “Clinical characteristics and intrauterine vertical transmission potential of covid-19 infection in nine pregnant women: a retrospective review of medical records,” The lancet, vol. 395, no. 10226, pp. 809–815, 2020.
[17] D. Wang, B. Hu, C. Hu, F. Zhu, X. Liu, J. Zhang, B. Wang, H. Xiang, Z. Cheng, Y. Xiong et al., “Clinical characteristics of 138 hospitalized patients with 2019 novel coronavirus–infected pneumonia in wuhan, china,” Jama, vol. 323, no. 11, pp. 1061–1069, 2020.
[18] V. Chamola, V. Hassija, V. Gupta, and M. Guizani, “A Comprehensive Review of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Role of IoT, Drones, AI, Blockchain, and 5G in Managing its Impact,” IEEE Access, vol. 8, pp. 90 253–90 256, 2020.
[19] J. Bay, J. Kek, A. Tan, C. S. Hau, L. Yongquan, J. Tan, and T. A. Quy, “Bluetrace: A privacy-preserving protocol for community-driven contact tracing across borders,” Government Technology Agency-Singapore, Tech. Rep, 2020.
[20] Apple, “Privacy-preserving contact tracing - apple and google,” 2020. (Online). Available:
[21] I. Levy, “The security behind the nhs contact tracing app,” National Cyber Security Centre, 2020.
[22] P. Mozur, R. Zhong, and A. Krolik, “In coronavirus fight, china gives citizens a color code, with red flags,” The New York Times, vol. 1, 2020.
[23] S. M. Idrees, M. Nowostawski, and R. Jameel, “Blockchain-based digital contact tracing apps for COVID-19 pandemic management: Issues, challenges, solutions, and future directions,” JMIR Medical Informatics, vol. 9, no. 2, p. e25245, 2021.
[24] P. Durneva, K. Cousins, and M. Chen, “The current state of research, challenges, and future research directions of blockchain technology in patient care: Systematic review,” Journal of medical Internet research, vol. 22, no. 7, 2020.
[25] A. Sharma, S. Bahl, A. K. Bagha, M. Javaid, D. K. Shukla, and A. Haleem, “Blockchain technology and its applications to combat COVID-19 pandemic,” Research on Biomedical Engineering, pp. 1–8, 2020.
[26] A. V. Aswin, K. Y. Basil, V. P. Viswan, B. Reji, and B. Kuriakose, “Design of AYUSH: A Blockchain-Based Health Record Management System,” in Inventive Communication and Computational Technologies, G. Ranganathan, J. Chen, and A. Rocha, Eds. Springer Singapore, Jan. 2020, pp. 665–672.
[27] E. Androulaki, A. Barger, V. Bortnikov, C. Cachin, K. Christidis, A. De Caro, D. Enyeart, C. Ferris, G. Laventman, Y. Manevich et al., “Hyperledger fabric: a distributed operating system for permissioned blockchains,” in Proceedings of the thirteenth EuroSys conference, 2018, pp. 1–15.
[28] H.-N. Dai, M. Imran, and N. Haider, “Blockchain-enabled Internet of Medical Things to Combat COVID-19,” IEEE Internet of Things Magazine, vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 52–57, 2020.
[29] A. Kalla, T. Hewa, R. A. Mishra, M. Ylianttila, and M. Liyanage, “The role of blockchain to fight against COVID-19,” IEEE Engineering Management Review, vol. 48, no. 3, pp. 85–96, 2020.
[30] J. Salmon and G. Myers, “Blockchain and associated legal issues for emerging markets,” 2019.
[31] G. Yu, X. Wang, K. Yu, W. Ni, J. A. Zhang, and R. P. Liu, “Survey: Sharding in blockchains,” IEEE Access, vol. 8, pp. 14 155–14 181, 2020.
[32] M. Jourenko, K. Kurazumi, M. Larangeira, and K. Tanaka, “Sok: A taxonomy for layer-2 scalability related protocols for cryptocurrencies.” IACR Cryptol. ePrint Arch., vol. 2019, p. 352, 2019.
[33] I. Kotilevets, I. Ivanova, I. Romanov, S. Magomedov, V. Nikonov, and S. Pavelev, “Implementation of directed acyclic graph in blockchain network to improve security and speed of transactions,” IFAC-PapersOnLine, vol. 51, no. 30, pp. 693–696, 2018.
[34] J. B. Bernabe, J. L. Canovas, J. L. Hernandez-Ramos, R. T. Moreno, and A. Skarmeta, “Privacy-preserving solutions for blockchain: Review and challenges,” IEEE Access, vol. 7, pp. 164 908–164 940, 2019.
[35] Q. Lin, H. Yan, Z. Huang, W. Chen, J. Shen, and Y. Tang, “An id-based linearly homomorphic signature scheme and its application in blockchain,” IEEE Access, vol. 6, pp. 20 632–20 640, 2018.
[36] G. Wood, “Polkadot: Vision For A Heterogeneous Multi-Chain Framework,” White Paper, vol. 21, 2016.
[37] M. R. Hasan, S. Deng, N. Sultana, and Z. H. Muhammed, “The applicability of blockchain technology in healthcare contexts to contain covid-19 challenges,” Library Hi Tech, vol. 39, no. 3, pp. 814–833, 2021.