Implementing proof of concept using smart contracts and decentralized file storage


Newswise — Background: Recent advances in digital pathology resulting from advances in imaging and digitization have increased the convenience and ease of using pathology for disease diagnosis, especially in oncology, urology, and gastroenteric diagnosis. . However, despite opportunities to include low-cost diagnostics and viable telemedicine, digital pathology is not yet accessible due to expensive storage, data security requirements, and network bandwidth limitations to transfer high-resolution images and associated data. The increasing complexity of storage, transmission and security regarding data collection and diagnosis makes it even more difficult to use artificial intelligence algorithms for machine-assisted disease diagnosis. We designed and prototyped a digital pathology system that uses blockchain-based smart contracts using the Non-Fungible Token (NFT) standard and the Interplanetary File System for data storage. Our design addresses the shortcomings of the existing infrastructure of digital pathology systems, which is centralized. The proposed design is scalable to other areas of medicine that require high-fidelity image and data storage. Our solution is implemented in data systems that can improve the quality of access to care and reduce the cost of access to specialized pathological diagnosis, by reducing cycle times for diagnosis.

Objective: The main objectives of this study are to highlight digital pathology issues and to suggest that a blockchain based software architecture and the Interplanetary File System create a low-cost data storage and transmission technology.

Methods : We used the design science research method consisting of 6 steps to inform our overall design. We broke new ground on existing public-private designs for blockchains, but using a 2-layered approach that separates actual file storage from metadata and data persistence.

Results: Here, we have identified key challenges in adopting digital pathology, including challenges around long-term storage and transmission of information. Then, using accepted frameworks in NFT-based smart contracts and recent innovations in distributed secure storage, we proposed a decentralized, secure, and privacy-preserving digital pathology system. Our design and implementation of our prototypes using Solidity, web3.js, Ethereum, and node.js have helped us overcome several challenges facing digital pathology. We have demonstrated how our solution, which combines the NFT smart contract standard with persistent decentralized file storage, solves most digital pathology challenges and paves the way for cost reduction and improved patient care. and rapid diagnosis.

Conclusion: We have identified technical limitations that increase costs and reduce the mass adoption of digital pathology. We presented several design innovations using NFT decentralized storage standards to prototype a system. We also presented the implementation details of a unique security architecture for a digital pathology system. We have illustrated how this design can overcome privacy, security, network storage, and data transmission limitations. We have illustrated how improving these factors paves the way for improved data quality and the standardized application of machine learning and artificial intelligence to this data.


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