A Novel Blockchain-Based Incentive Mechanism to Mitigate Inequalities for Prescription Management System

Khan, Arshad
Litchfield, Alan
Cusack, Brian
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Doctor of Philosophy
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Auckland University of Technology

The research proposes a BlockPres framework and an incentive mechanism based on blockchain technology. The aim is to encourage participation and the use of healthcare services. The integration of advanced technologies has led to the development of a smart healthcare system, which is increasingly recognized as essential in meeting the needs of today's society. The literature review identified challenges in the Prescription Management System (PMS), an essential aspect of the healthcare system. It also found that trust, affordability, and accessibility contribute to unequal access to services. Therefore, such disparities create disadvantages in different communities when accessing healthcare services.

The BlockPres framework is created and introduced in this study as a solution to the issues in the prescription management system in New Zealand. It utilizes a novel incentive mechanism that rewards patients for actively participating and engaging with healthcare services. Tokens can be earned by patients whenever they participate and engage with the PMS, and spent on other healthcare services or for purchasing products. Tokens can also be transferred to others to assist them in obtaining additional healthcare services.

The blockchain technology incorporated into BlockPres provides immutability, decentralization, accountability, and security features, for increasing equal access and participation by easy to use authorization and authentication for healthcare providers and patients. Moreover, BlockPres empowers the under-served by providing them control and access to their records.

The researcher formulated questions and hypotheses around the problem, and the proposed solution. The study adopted and adapted Design Science Research Methodology (DSRM) to be the guiding framework for the research. DSRM consists of three primary phases: problem identification, solution design, and evaluation. In the problem identification phase, the study identified the issue and formulated research questions that led to the development of the BlockPres Artefact in the solution design phase. The evaluation phase of DSRM has validation to verify the proposed artefact and incentive mechanism.

To answer the research questions and validate the proposed solution, an evaluation of the BlockPres artefact was completed. The evaluation involved two stages. First, a simulation was performed using the Ethereum blockchain. It tested the successful completion of transactions and the performance rates, and confirmed the efficiency and effectiveness of blockchain for a prescription management system. Secondly, based on the simulation results, a BlockPres prototype was developed to evaluate the solution and incentive mechanism. The results showed that the artefact improved motivation and community engagement, trust, and perceptions of PMS and health services. However, it is recommended that industry experts test the artefact in future work to validate its effectiveness in a live environment.

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