CLOSED Call for Papers: Special Issue on Blockchain Innovations for Healthcare

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Submissions Due: 14 January 2021

Submission deadline: January 14, 2021
Publication: July/August 2021

Blockchain is an important emerging technology that enables distributed ledger-based information systems and is already transforming commerce (e.g. cryptocurrency). It is also expected to have important applications in a variety of domains, especially healthcare. Data stored in the blockchain is immutable and decentralized – greatly enhancing security and user authentication. Blockchain has received much attention in the financial domain due to its secure and verifiable decentralized architecture as well as the removal of third parties, thus ensuring privacy of the transaction. Blockchain has the potential to transform the way data is stored and accessed in many domains. In some domains, however, there is vigorous debate regarding the use of blockchain due to the technical challenges and cost. Some of these challenges are slowing the integration/adoption of blockchain, especially into fields that could greatly benefit, such as in healthcare.

Many healthcare blockchain data management application themes have been published: personal healthcare records, medical supply chain, clinical research, insurance claims, and medical professional credentials.[1] These areas in the healthcare domain view blockchain as a solution to improve system qualities such improved availability (e.g. accessibility from multiple sources), performance (e.g. eliminate bottlenecks), security (e.g. no single point of attack), and transparency (e.g. trace contents to their source). Using blockchain alone, however, introduces some key challenges for healthcare data: scalability and performance (e.g. medical files are too large to store), usability (e.g. unfamiliarity with cryptographic concepts), secure identification (e.g. healthcare interoperability), and dissemination difficulty (e.g. cost/adoption).

The goal of this special issue is to improve the state of the art and bring together the latest developments and applications using blockchain in the area of healthcare. The guest editors of this special issue aim to bring together the latest advances, experiences, findings, and developments related to blockchain and how this technology can increase accessibility, interoperability, privacy, and security to improve data accessibility among providers, researchers, insurance carriers, etc. They invite novel, innovative, and exciting contributions relating to blockchain applications in healthcare used for patient data, insurance claims, supply chain, and medical credentialing that will improve security, privacy, accessibility, interoperability, and accuracy. Topics of interest for this special issue include (but are not limited to):

  • blockchain and personal healthcare records
  • blockchain and secure identification
  • blockchain and medical supply chain
  • blockchain scalability and performance
  • blockchain and medical supply chain global regulation
  • blockchain and medical insurance claims
  • blockchain and medical clinical research
  • blockchain and medical personnel credentials
  • blockchain usability and understanding
  • blockchain adoption strategies
  • blockchain and access control
  • blockchain and certified time for consensus algorithms

Submission Guidelines

Only submissions that describe previously unpublished, original, state-of-the-art research and that are not currently under review by a conference or journal will be considered. Extended versions of conference papers must be significantly different (e.g. 50%) from the original conference works. Feature articles should be no longer than 4,200 words and have no more than 20 references (with tables and figures counting as 300 words each). Illustrations and figures must be camera ready—they will not be edited and will appear exactly as you submit them. Please read the author guidelines. All manuscripts must be submitted to ScholarOne Manuscripts by the deadline in order to be considered for publication. Submissions are subject to peer review on both technical merit and relevance to IT Pro’s readership. Articles should be understandable by a broad audience of computer science and engineering professionals, avoiding a focus on theory, mathematics, jargon, and abstract concepts. Figures and tables should be placed in the appropriate location within the template, ideally in files that are 300 dpi or higher at the dimensions they are used in the document template.


Please direct any correspondence before submission to the guest editors at

Guest editors

  • Joanna F. DeFranco, Penn State University
  • Phillip A. Laplante, Penn State University