Special Issue: Blockchain for Health Care and Biomedical Science

Extended submission deadline: March 31st, 2020.

The Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) is inviting submissions for a special issue of the journal that will be dedicated to blockchain for health care and biomedical science.

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Health care today is known to suffer from siloed and fragmented data, delayed clinical communications, and disparate workflow tools due to the lack of interoperability caused by vendor-locked health care systems, lack of trust relationships among data holders, and security/privacy concerns regarding data sharing.

Blockchain technology and decentralized applications (DApps) have the potential to alleviate the traditionally high dependency on centralized, trusted parties for certification of information integrity and data ownership. These distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) mediate transactions and exchanges of digital assets in a decentralized and consensus-driven nature, which allows agreements (ie, smart contracts) to be directly made between interacting parties while guaranteeing their execution. Key properties of blockchain technology, including immutability, decentralization, distribution, replicated storage, and transparency, provide a unique position for this technology to serve as a potential infrastructure to address pressing issues in health care, such as incomplete records at point of care and difficult access to patients’ own health information.  

Aside from health care data sharing that is of paramount importance for improving care quality, there is also a wide range of opportunities for health care to leverage a decentralized technology, such as tracking the provenance of medical devices, expediting the process of medical billing and medical claims adjudication, connecting alike patient populations to clinical trials, and creating more patient-centered services. Besides the identifications of various opportunities in the use of blockchain technology in health care, research efforts on rigorously analyzing the performance of blockchain-based health care systems, proposed or existing, that focuses on security, privacy, scalability, availability, and robustness are highly demanded.

In addition, blockchain technology also opens up new opportunities for biomedical science and to disrupt the current publishing and peer-review system. 

Scope and Topics

Following the examples of previously published papers on blockchain in health care in JMIR journals, authors are invited to submit papers describing original, unpublished research results, position papers, proposals, tutorials (“How-to…”, “What is…?”), case studies and tools. Papers are solicited that deal with health care or biomedical research topics related to DLT like blockchain.

Topic areas include, but are not limited to:

                      • Provenance and trust management of medical devices or medications
                      • Medical workflow enhancements with decentralized approaches
                      • Security analysis of blockchain-based solutions
                      • Decentralized management and monitoring of healthcare IoT/Edge devices
                      • Anonymity and privacy in blockchain-based healthcare systems
                      • Innovative architectures & platforms for driving health care interoperability
                      • Scalability, security, privacy, and system robustness
                      • Large datasets (eg, medical image data), AI, and Blockchain technology
                      • Fraud detection and avoidance in medical billing
                      • Biomedical Science DApps
                      • Digital tokens, incentives, economic ecosystems
                      • Medical or patient identity provision and maintenance

Blockchain proposals (such as http://www.researchprotocols.org/2018/9/e10163/) are welcome as long as they contain sufficient details of the current status (early stage proposals may be transferred to JMIR Res Protoc but will still show up in the e-collection).

Submission of Papers

Extended submission deadline: March 31st, 2020 (earlier submissions may be published faster and receive priority, so please submit your manuscript as soon as it is ready).

To submit, please go to http://www.jmir.org/author and in step 1 of submission, select “Theme Issue 2019: Blockchain” section from the section drop-down list. See also How do I submit to a theme issue?

For this special issue, the regular Article Processing Fees are discounted 20%.


Submission of Full Paper Due: March 31st, 2020


JMIR Editor-in-chief

Gunther Eysenbach MD MPH FACMI

Guest Editors

Peng Zhang PhD, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA

Kevin A Clauson PharmD, Lipscomb University College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, Nashville, TN, USA