Applications of Blockchain Technology in Clinical Trials: Review and Open Challenges

Blockchain technology has disclosed unprecedented opportunities in the healthcare sector by unlocking the true value of interoperability. Specifically, the striking features of blockchain technology, such as data provenance, transparency, decentralized transaction validation, and immutability can help to compensate for stringent data management issues (e.g., patient recruitment, persistent monitoring, data management, and data analytics and accurate reporting) in clinical trials (CTs). Although several research studies show that blockchain solutions help to improve patient retention, data integrity, privacy, and ensure CTs compliance with regulatory policies, a comprehensive survey on this topic is lacking. In this survey, we provide insights into the adoption of blockchain technology in CTs. We categorize and classify the literature by devising a meticulous taxonomy of the decentralized tasks of CT and practices based on indispensable parameters. Furthermore, we provide insights on works in progress towards deploying blockchain solutions in CTs. Finally, we identify and discuss several challenges that hinder the successful implementation of blockchain technologies in CTs.