Development of A Blockchain Framework for Virtual Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are essential for discovering new treatments, but there are multiple challenges to patient recruitment, patient engagement, and cost containment. Virtual clinical trials (VCT) are an innovative approach that provides potential solutions by conducting home-based, rather than site-based, clinical trials. Virtual clinical trials are still the exception rather than general practice due to technical barriers. “Blockchain,” a distributed ledger technology, is a perfect match for virtual clinical trials. Its peer-to-peer design, security settings, and data transparency meet the needs of many healthcare applications. The programmable “Smart Contract” feature makes blockchain more suitable and feasible for VCT by solving computational issues. Our previous work has shown the power of applying blockchain to clinical trial recruitment. This work develops a comprehensive blockchain framework, with simulations and case studies, including patient recruitment, patient engagement, and persistent monitoring modules.

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