Blockchain-enabled Approach for Healthcare Waste Management

  • Abdalla Badr Imam

Student thesis: Master's Thesis

Abstract

Healthcare Waste (HCW) is the byproduct of healthcare activities. HCW generation was at an all-time high during the peak of COVID-19 due to hospitals running at full capacity around the clock. As a result, a substantial influx of healthcare waste was produced. The pandemic highlighted deficits in current HCW and pharmaceutical waste management systems, including inability to manage resources due to lack waste data and lack of transparency between stakeholders. Traditional systems, either paper-based or centralized are often lacking when it comes to effectively storing detailed records of waste types, waste weight, waste source, transportation method, and destination. The current systems lack immutability, transparency, data security and data integrity due to their centralized nature. Therefore, an end-to-end decentralized solution that can trace waste management from generation to landfilling is required for successful strategic management of HCW of all types. In this thesis, we propose, develop, and test two blockchain-based frameworks to manage HCW in totality and pharmaceutical waste specifically. We outline the HCW management chain and highlight nuances in the pharmaceutical management chain. We conduct a review of the literature regarding flaws, current centralized and blockchain-based systems to address current issues and draw design ideas. From there, we detail our design and implementation procedures for a blockchain-based HCW management system and a blockchain-based pharmaceutical waste management solution. We highlight stakeholder duties, process flows, relevant algorithms, and present our implementation of the proposed frameworks. We found that our proposed solutions provide protection against common attacks and fulfill security requirements. A smart contract vulnerability test using MythX and Oyente found no major flaws in the system. Additionally, cost analysis on the second framework was conducted to estimate operation cost. Furthermore, our solutions have proven to be competitive with the currently available frameworks and can be generalized to operate for different reverse logistics chains. We also note scalability, immutability, interoperability, and system efficiency as some of the challenges faced in the design process. Finally, we propose the implementation of smart devices, a streamlined Decentralized Application (DApp) and total logistics frameworks as potential areas of future research.
Date of AwardDec 2021
Original languageAmerican English

Keywords

  • Healthcare Waste
  • Pharmaceutical Waste
  • Blockchain
  • Ethereum
  • Traceability.

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