Written by Jonny Fry
Writers linkdin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonnyfry/

Blockchain is designed to manage electronic data transparency and accountability. It is described as a digital ledger technology or a spreadsheet duplicated thousands of times and stored in a distributed network across multiple locations. Blockchain's ubiquity is becoming evident with time.

The technology that powers cryptocurrencies is proving that it is able to be harnessed to meet many other challenges in a wide variety of industries including the medical industry. One of the greatest challenges facing the medical sector is fraud, which is prevalent in many ways:
  • in drug trials;

  • manufacturing of fake drugs and the use of poor quality or the wrong ingredients;

  • allowing unqualified staff to perform procedures and examinations; 

  • invoicing medically unnecessary services; 

  • billing for services not performed; 

  • charging for branded drugs and using simple generic medication instead;

  • charging for more drugs than were used.


Source: Science Direct

According to the Fortune Business Insights publication: “The global fraud detection and prevention market is exhibited to grow from USD 30.65 billion in 2022 to USD 129.17 billion in 2029, exhibiting a CAGR of 22.8%”. Such levels of fraud lead to a lack of trust in the healthcare industry and are often a result of an absence of transparency. And this is what the use of blockchain-powered platforms is able to alleviate. Alongside being a catalyst for the utmost accountability, the use of Blockchain technology can ensure that data is more secure, accurate, and tamper-resistant in nature whereby making it almost impossible to mimic, falsify or manipulate data.

Application of blockchain in the medical industry

The uses of Blockchain technology in the medical sector are many and varied and it uses to tackle fraud is just but one. Other such examples are:

  • safety and transparency - ensuring a simple and easy exchange of data among providers of medical solutions can contribute to diagnostic precision, productive therapies and cost-effective ecosystems. Blockchain enables different health organisations to connect and exchange information on a commonly distributed ledger for better safety and transparency whilst still maintaining integrity and confidentiality. 

  • health record keeping - in most cases, patients’ data exists in silos that are not connected. For instance, your primary care physician has access to some of your medical data but not to data that specialists such as an endocrinologist, general surgeon or obstetrician can access, and vice versa. This hinders treatment and can impede the care management of a patient. Blockchain technology could solve this problem by making available an application that enables connecting to existing medical record (EMR) systems from different healthcare providers. Whenever a piece of new information is lodged into any of the EMRs, the blockchain would receive encrypted data regarding the information. This unifies all details and provides the patient and health providers with historical access, thereby making it easy and possible for healthcare providers to obtain a complete view of the patient's health status at any point in time.

  • digital identity - it is claimed that: “Stolen health information is 20 to 50 times more valuable on the black market than financial data. This stolen data is used for medical identity theft, an insidious crime that can lead to devastating consequences for individuals and billions of dollars lost industry-wide”. Blockchains can enable a transparent, auditable means for individuals (using their peculiar credentials and encryption key) to allow other parties to access their personal health data. This includes granting authority for health professionals, service providers and other relevant actors to access their medical records and other information for direct health care delivery, or to permit statistical, research or other secondary uses of their data. This means that no one has access to your data without your consent.


  • clinical trials - the use of Blockchain technology can help to strengthen trust in clinical trials by addressing the problems of false results and data disintegration that do not match the purposes and objectives of the research. Providing more clarity and identification of false content brings credibility to clinical trials.

  • display information – given that it is properly used, Blockchain technology provides better protection than ever for sensitive data. For example, it will display information about the origins of a medication to ensure high quality and also confirm details about that manufacturer supplying the approved medicine.

  • monitoring of patients - Blockchain technology can be used in conjunction with other technologies to help monitor patients, store information about an individual patient, analyse the effects of a particular procedure, validate transactions, create research initiatives, maintain financial statements in hospitals and minimise data transformation time and cost. 

How blockchain technology can be used in the medical sector.


Source: Science Direct

In 2021, US healthcare spending was over $4trillion, i.e. almost 20% of the county’s GDP, whereby attracting a number of companies such as Akiri, BurstIQ, Factom, Chronicled, Embleema, RoboMed and Curisium to develop and promote a wide range of blockchain-powered solutions. However, although change in the medical sector is understandably not going to happen immediately, there have potentially been valuable lessons to be learnt from the way in which medical treatments and drugs were developed to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, in the report ‘Blockchain applications in health care for COVID-19 and beyond’, by The Lancet, was included that: Blockchain technology has numerous potential COVID-19-related and non-COVID-19-related applications in health care”.

Challenges of using blockchain in the medical industry

Being a new concept, challenges have been plaguing the adoption and use of blockchain in the medical industry, and the adoption of Blockchain technology in healthcare has been slow for many reasons - the fear of litigation, the perception of blockchain as new technology and often a lack of funds to implement new processes, procedures and the technology itself. Some healthcare organisations are concerned about the scalability of blockchain, with the fear that blockchain-powered platforms systems will be unable to scale to support their needs.