Blockchain technology enables a decentralized and distributed environment with no need for a central authority. Transactions are simultaneously secure and trustworthy due to the use of cryptographic principles. In recent years, blockchain technology has become very trendy and penetrated different domains, mostly due to the popularity of cryptocurrencies. One field where blockchain technology has tremendous potential is healthcare, due to the need for a more patient-centric approach to healthcare systems and to connect disparate systems and increase the accuracy of electronic healthcare records (EHRs). In this systematic review, an analysis of state-of-the-art blockchain research in the field of healthcare is conducted. The aim is to reveal the potential applications of the technology and to highlight the challenges and possible directions of blockchain research in healthcare. First, background information is discussed, followed by a description of the exact methodology used in this paper. Next, an analysis of the results is given, which includes a bibliometric overview, an analysis of gathered data and its properties, and the results of a literature quality assessment. Lastly, there is a discussion of the results from the analysis. The findings indicate that blockchain technology research in healthcare is increasing and it is mostly used for data sharing, managing health records and access control. Other scenarios are very rare. Most research is aimed at presenting novel structural designs in the form of frameworks, architectures or models. Findings also show that technical details about the used blockchain elements are not given in most of the analyzed publications and that most research does not present any prototype implementation or implementation details. Often even with a prototype implementation, no details about blockchain elements are given.
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