Blockchain: A Healthcare Industry View

Published By: IndustryARC Published On : 28-Nov-2022

A blockchain is a distributed database or ledger that is shared by all the nodes of a computer network. Blockchain functions as an electronic database for storing data in digital form. A blockchain network is helpful in the healthcare industry for preserving and exchanging patient data. The platform, underlying cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, known as blockchain technology, has been hailed as the "magic bullet" to address the data interoperability and security problems that the healthcare sector is currently facing and, potentially, usher in a new era of personalized medicine and scientific research. 

According to Built In, Estonia, a country of the size of Tennessee and a population the size of Maine, started adopting blockchain technology to secure healthcare data and conduct transactions in 2012. Currently, 99% of prescription information is digital, 95% of health information is ledger-based and all healthcare billing in the nation is conducted on a blockchain.

Blockchain technology has the potential to solve several healthcare-related difficulties, including care coordination, data security and interoperability problems. According to 2020 research from the American multinational cybersecurity company, Palo Alto Networks, Inc., 83% of medical imaging machines were using unsupported operating systems, leaving businesses open to hackers. In addition to costing the industry money, this could affect patient treatment and way of life. Given these problems, there are increasing indications that the healthcare industry may be well-positioned to benefit from blockchain technology, which is gaining popularity in the cryptocurrency industry but has not yet reached the mainstream of business.

Current Challenges Faced by Healthcare Sectors

Organizational and Workforce Challenges

  • Owing to the more sophisticated techniques and equipment, there is a greater need for health professionals to be educated, trained and specialized. A healthcare professional needs an exponentially growing amount of knowledge to stay relevant. 
  • The need for better tools for multidisciplinary collaboration and effective triage has increased as a result of greater specialization. These partnerships must be broadened to include more academic fields and industries outside healthcare. 
  • The demand for technologies that increase coordination and enhance the performance of healthcare systems has increased due to the need for a more efficient distribution of knowledge and data. As a result, systems like clinical decision-support systems, electronic health record systems, workflow support systems and other systems that rely on a knowledge infrastructure have been developed.
Patient Engagement With Health Information Challenges

  • To manage their disease and health proactively and promote wellbeing, individuals must be empowered. A crucial part of patient engagement is interacting with health information via tools and technologies.
  • Some patients don't have enough access to technology. More people than ever before own computers and have internet access, but there are still communities with no access to broadband and affordable computing equipment. Some people lack the language literacy or technological know-how to deal with digital health information.
  • Patients express interest in using a patient portal or app to get their health information as a paradox of patient involvement. However, only about 30% of patients view their medical records. 
Technology Challenges

  • The capacity of various health information technology systems (inside and between organizations) to integrate and exchange data for better healthcare delivery is known as health system interoperability. Foundational, structural, semantic (vocabulary/terminology) and organizational requirements all contribute to interoperability. While the adoption of standards for interoperability is growing, healthcare interoperability is still a long way off.
  • The usability and utility of health information systems as perceived if health information systems do not allow for simple interaction and access, both healthcare providers and patients are less likely to use them.
  • Devices with computationally upgraded sensors and imaging capture capabilities have eased the development of minimally invasive procedures and allowed for finer representations of each patient's condition (e.g., minimally invasive surgery and ablation therapy). This makes it difficult to manage, collaborate with and make use of the sensor data.
The difficulties listed here are not an exhaustive list of all difficulties affecting healthcare organizations and systems. Depending on the healthcare system from different angles, such as health-improving activities, finance systems, socioeconomic conditions and other elements particular to a country or region, the problems can vary. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated, healthcare systems all across the world continue to be vulnerable and face similar problems due to demographic changes and infodemic effects.

The current digital transformation of the healthcare sector makes it more decentralized by nature. An increasing number of devices operated by people are gathering data on health. Patients can obtain medications from more digital pharmacies and receive health services from a wider range of healthcare providers, even those who are not under their direct legal control. Although blockchain technologies do not seek to solve every problem relating to health information, it is poised to rapidly transform healthcare worldwide.

With the Entry of Blockchain…

Care coordination, data security and interoperability challenges are just a few of the issues that blockchain technology in healthcare can solve. Medical records, laboratory test results, billing, clinical trials, remote monitoring and other sources generate new data every day that is frequently locked in multiple fragmented, isolated systems. By facilitating the sharing of medical records, securing sensitive data from hackers and giving patients more control over their information, blockchain can be used to harness the data stream and enhance the quality of treatment delivered. Blockchain technology, for instance, can compile a patient's medical and prescription records from several sites and provide them into a single, current record that an ER doctor can use to treat the patient. 

Figure 1: Application Share of Blockchain in Healthcare, 2019 (%)
Application Share of Blockchain in Healthcare
Source: PubMed Central

Some of the significant applications addressed with the usage of blockchain in the healthcare sector have been elaborated below -

Preserving Patient Data on an Individual Basis

Health data and patient information are generated both before and after various clinical study phases. Healthcare practitioners browse the data that has been saved and may have doubts about its accuracy; they can easily verify this by comparing it to the original records that have been stored on the blockchain system. The healthcare professional can just enter the patient's name, date of birth, diagnosis, treatments and ambulatory history in the EHR and can access to required data.

Examine the Results of a Specific Procedure

Through verified access to the patient data, researchers can analyze any specific procedure on a significant portion of the patient population, effectively. This has crucial effects that improve how certain patient groups are managed. Pharmaceutical companies can collect data in real time, using the blockchain infrastructure to provide patients with a wide selection of precisely tailored prescription drugs or services.


Healthcare businesses, technical pioneers and the industry as a whole are searching for opportunities to learn what can be done now and in the future to make healthcare safer and more affordable. When healthcare management can sufficiently authenticate the outcomes, blockchain has the potential to revolutionize the health ecosystem. Algorithms in a blockchain validate transactions before they are connected to the chain. Until the content is encrypted, digitally signed and saved, the authenticity is sealed.


It allows doctors to spend more time treating patients while providing exceptional safety and transparency. Additionally, it would make it possible to support any uncommon disorder's clinical studies and treatments. With the use of blockchain, organizations within the health ecosystem may stay in touch and share information on a widely distributed ledger for increased security and transparency. When employing such a system, users can exchange data, keep track of their own actions and monitor other users' data exchanges without needing to look for additional integrity and confidentiality solutions. 

Maintaining Health Records

Blockchain technology has the potential to be ideal for medical record-keeping. It includes sharing medical data, maintaining electronic medical records, controlling insurance and carrying out administrative duties. Patients can upload their medical data to a blockchain network using an app. Based on digital blockchain contracts, the cooperation of sensors and intelligent devices is facilitated. Electronic health records are typically dispersed among numerous healthcare organizations. Blockchain would standardize all information and provide access to the patient’s medical history. It helps to gain fresh insights into a patient's health status thanks to the linkage of all data in one location. As a result, the blockchain paradigm would guarantee the information is true and legal while protecting consumers' privacy.

Figure 2: Type of Error Noticed in the Medical Records
Type of Error Noticed in the Medical Records
Source: Nicolas Rapp/Fortune 

Clinical Trials

Blockchain technology is utilized in clinical studies to overcome issues with misleading results and data disintegration that don't align with the goals and objectives of the study. Blockchain would increase public confidence in clinical trials. The business analysis tool looks into how the market dynamics are changing so that the healthcare industry may comprehend the opportunities. A further opportunity to construct and monitor the chain from the manufacturer to the client by using blockchain credibility is the management of medications on the blockchain. Blockchain can protect medicine supplies, validate every transaction between drug producers, wholesalers, pharmacists and patients and limit the number of counterfeit drugs that causes $200 billion in losses globally each year.

Figure 3: Percentage of Registered Studies by Location (as of August 07, 2022)
Percentage of Registered Studies by Location

Information Display

To guarantee great quality and that the producer of the authorized drug distributes it, the blockchain system would display information about the medicine's origins. If it is used properly, blockchain can offer more effective protection than ever for sensitive data. Several industries like finance, retail and immobilization have started to leverage the blockchain app trend to present information and gain several benefits. Another complex and multifaceted industry is healthcare.

False Content Identification

Blockchain would increase transparency and allow for the detection of fake content. Clinical trials for subjects and clientele ought to be simple to validate. The best way to get approval is through an intelligent agreement that keeps the implemented protocol documents and their outcomes open to public scrutiny. The public may now carefully follow what happens in a clinical trial thanks to blockchain. This system is developed with the user in mind and gives patients instant, secure access to their medical and insurance details.

Lowers Unnecessary Overhead Costs

Blockchain allows for the proper use of health records by cutting unnecessary overhead costs. Additionally, this technology would lessen the need for numerous middlemen to supervise the sharing of vital health information. The primary responsibility of healthcare practitioners is to deliver effective, timely and adequate services for their population. The healthcare service providers would already be aware of the medical history of each patient with the help of blockchain technology. The healthcare system's many issues like interoperability, report completion, theft and even catastrophic data failure can be fixed. Full interoperability, according to one research, could spare the US healthcare system $77.8 billion annually.

Patient Monitoring

The trust built into blockchain allows medical personnel to ensure they have access to medical equipment when it is needed. Additionally, it can take more time for doctors to observe patients and respond remotely to health-related situations. Monitoring the temperatures in patient rooms, the utilization of beds and the availability of supplies can all be improved with blockchain technology in healthcare. To provide a reliable digital identity for healthcare organizations and providers, a blockchain-based healthcare network is a must.

Create Research Initiatives

Blockchains could provide a trustworthy information source. The manual method of handling membership claims and disputes can be changed by blockchain. Blockchains can mobilize fresh and inventive research projects by exchanging patient data in a more general fashion. A remarkable collaboration between participants and researchers would result from the deeper exchange of patient findings, which would also catalyze innovative and novel research.

Maintain Financial Records In Hospitals

In the bookkeeping process, it is essential to keep an accurate record of the financial statements. The accounting and reporting procedure has been streamlined in this case because of innovations made by blockchain enterprises. Anyone can get ready to visit a healthcare professional and finish the paperwork in advance using this application. They won't have to wait in line, which would save time. The risks and advantages can, however, be learned from the real-world applications of blockchain technology and the kinds of issues they resolve in the healthcare system.

Increases Security

Blockchain improves patients’ overall safety, tackles issues with medicine validity and drug traceability and enables secure interoperability. It is the only option to replace the current supply chain management system and stop makers of fake medications from introducing safer versions of their products to the market. Doctors would be able to readily see the comprehensive medical data with the help of blockchain, which would aid in their diagnosis and help them design a better and more accurate procedure.

The most well-liked blockchain healthcare application at the present is keeping crucial medical data safe and secure, which is not surprising. According to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, in 2018, healthcare data breaches of more than 500 records were being reported at a rate of around 1 per day. 4 years later, the rate has doubled. In 2021, an average of 1.95 healthcare data breaches of more than 500 records were reported each day.

Figure 4: Healthcare Data Breaches of 500 or More Records, 2009 -2021
Healthcare Data Breaches of 500 or More Records
 Source: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

Figure 5: Healthcare Hacking Incidents, 2009 – 2021
Healthcare Hacking Incidents
Source: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

 Figure 6: Causes of Healthcare Breaches, 2021
Causes of Healthcare Breaches
Source: U.S. Office of Civil Rights

Reduce Both the Cost and Time of Data Transformation

Blockchain networks minimize the time and expense of data transformation. Blockchain networks have the potential to address the problem of quickly and accurately verifying medical qualifications. Blockchain networks ensure patients’ privacy and security. The world of healthcare could shift as a result of these important new insights. Blockchain implementation would result in profitable and privacy-respecting networks for sharing data. Blockchain is a distributed network computer system that enables time-stamped record-keeping of transaction histories and documentation. Every node in this network examines, records and processes every data input.

Eagerly Embracing Blockchain…

Globally, it appears that the healthcare sector is embracing blockchain owing to its potential advantages. Blockchain technology has already been applied by several businesses to improve healthcare. For instance, Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), the new way to launch blockchain-based enterprises, are increasingly concentrating on healthcare-related goods and services. Also, Alibaba and the Chinese city of Changzhou teamed up to introduce the nation's first use of blockchain technology in the healthcare industry last year. In addition, IBM Watson and the US FDA struck a two-year partnership to investigate the use of blockchain technologies for safely sharing patient data. 
The previous year has seen the birth of a large number of additional healthcare-related digital tokens and coins and ICO alerts which indicate that many more are still to come. BlockMedX, one of these future products, promises to address the rife opioid issue in the United States. The program is made to be utilized by doctors and pharmacists to help the prescription medicine sector become more secure and accountable. Millions of prescriptions are analyzed by BlockMedX to look for issues, aiding in patient protection. Moreover, Dentacoin, a cryptocurrency with a market valuation of close to $2 billion that was introduced in 2017, promises to resurrect the dentistry sector by modifying directories, review board procedures and payment mechanisms. Contrarily, Medicalchain employs blockchain technology to store and transmit health records securely, enabling quick and secure information exchange between healthcare professionals and patients. These are just a few of the upcoming new ICOs and cryptocurrencies that have the potential to transform the healthcare industry. 

Table 1. Key Industry Participant’s Investments/Partnership/Acquisition/Product Launch/Acquisition/Expansion - Summary





Zenith Chain

April 2022


Zenith Chain, which is a Lithuania-based blockchain start-up, announced that it signed a 35-million-dollar venture fundraising agreement with GEM Digital Ltd. This investment is anticipated to strengthen the former company's position and enable the launch of new products to develop blockchain solutions and increase user acceptance.

IBM Corporation

March 2022


IBM announced that the company was striving to improve the digital transformation of applications and upgrade current systems to a hybrid cloud architecture utilizing Red Hat Openshift. The goals of this cooperative effort are to safeguard user information and satisfy consumer needs for quicker access to integrated digital banking and payments. To update current applications and jointly develop new ones, the former is also leveraging agile and IBM Garage technologies. This is anticipated to aid DFS in achieving more commercial and technological success.

Microsoft Corporation

March 2022


Microsoft announced the expansion of its cloud strategy for healthcare and life sciences, updating its Azure Health Data Services and Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to alter the healthcare industry in the future. Rapid industry improvements have been brought about by Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, including decreased physician burnout, individualized patient experiences and enabled interchange of patient health data. The health industry's digitized unstructured and inaccessible data is anticipated to be organized as a result of recent developments.


May 2019


To assist in providing a blockchain solution for its residents, Batam (Indonesia) sought to assemble a sizable number of partners. The main collaboration is between BP Batam and dClinic through BP Batam Hospital. Deloitte Southeast Asia and JP Consulting have been hired to provide project management and clinical governance expertise.


January 2019


Intending to enhance transparency and interoperability in the healthcare sector, Aetna, Anthem, Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), PNC Bank and IBM have established a new partnership. The goal is to build a shared, highly secure and open blockchain network that can assist several players in the healthcare industry.

The World Economic Forum predicts that by 2025, 10% of the world's gross domestic product would be kept on blockchain technology, owing to investments from numerous major technology companies like IBM, Intel and Microsoft.

Blockchain: A Revolution in Healthcare Industry…

The healthcare sector is a multifaceted system of unified entities. Each of these entities has separate, siloed information systems that contain plan member/patient data & records and support the regulated processes specific to the entity’s contribution to the healthcare delivery value chain. The cost of healthcare delivery continues to increase rapidly and administrative costs are a major contributor.
Taking into consideration, all the capabilities of blockchain technology and digital transformation taking place in the healthcare industry after the COVID-19 outbreak, it can be undoubtedly said that blockchain has the potential to become the next revolutionizing technology. Blockchain applications for patient data portability, interoperability, care-deliver management and administration can provide the answers to many challenges faced by the healthcare industry.

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