A scoping review of integrated blockchain-cloud architecture for healthcare: Applications, challenges, and solutions

As laboratories continue to swim in an increasing amount of data and attempt to streamline operations, thoughts of turning to cloud-based data management grow. And while cloud-based applications can help, challenges remain with security, privacy, and real-time access. Blockchain-based systems alone can improve on some of those challenges, but blockchain isn’t scalable. As such, Ismail et al. discuss at length in this 2021 paper the benefits of integrating blockchain with cloud-computing systems, as well as the remaining challenges of optimizing such an integration. After presenting existing research and discussing the basics of cloud computing and blockchain, the authors discuss the integration of the two in both encapsulated- and non-encapsulated architectures, as well as how they can be applied to healthcare systems. They close by addressing the remaining challenges of an integrated system, including the energy costs of running such a system. They conclude that while “the integration of cloud and blockchain for healthcare is promising to cope with the shortcomings of these individual technologies … further research is still required to enhance the existing architecture to make it more scalable and energy-efficient with inter-cloud communication support.”

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