Non-fungible tokens were born as digital assets for cryptocurrency. Easy peasy, right? But their success has opened new doors for both creators and investors. Crypto developers are looking into the possibilities of these digital tokens, which have already revolutionised the traditional art world. Tokens have already entered the music and sports industry, for the joy of fans and the disappointment of traditional platforms. Now, these assets are debuting into a new industry. It seems like NFTs in healthcare might be the next big trend.
Few saw this coming, especially those who are skeptical about anything crypto. Digital tokens were supposed to be only grumpy monkeys, memes, and weird videos. This latest trend shows how NFTs are much more than avatars and digital lands. It’s not about nerds anymore. Digital tokens are becoming more and more relevant.
The possibilities of NFTs in healthcare
Companies and developers are still testing and researching, but they are experiencing promising results. There are different ways in which the medical sector can use digital tokens to benefit both patients and healthcare staff. These are some of the applications of NFTs in healthcare:
- Digital health data
- Tokenized blood
- Patient data management
- Worldwide accessibility
While there are more uses and applications of digital tokens in medicine, these four possibilities are the ones that the industry is looking at right now. So, let’s find out what the hype is about.
Digital health data
In this scenario, any genetic and health data is minted as a non-fungible token instead of digital data. So, it’s traceable and always verified. This means that companies (even medical ones) can’t collect, store, and sell the patients’ personal information, including confidential records. In fact, the industry of selling private data for profit and advertising is a profitable one. But it’s not as profitable for citizens, who can become the target of aggressive advertising campaigns. It’s the era of non-privacy, unless NFTs correct this scary direction.
Digital tokens exist in the blockchain, a technology that is inherently safe and that keeps track of every transaction. By using it (and NFTs) for the digital health data of patients, people will be able to see where their data goes. And, if it ends up in the server of a private company without permission, the patient can stop the information from being used and re-shared. How? NFTs offer an authentication which prove who is the owner of that token. So patients can hold businesses accountable. The process becomes transparent and people can control their medical records.
The future of NFTs in healthcare can be NFTs in the form of blood donations. Some blood banks have already launched this innovative program. Here’s how it works. First, blood donors receive a token which works as their unique mark. This mark allows clinics and hospitals to follow this donor through the system, from the moment of the donation to the moment the blood reaches the recipient. This way, rare and specific blood types are easy to trace and find, hence quick to deliver. It’s a true digital blood bank, built thanks to NFTs and blockchain technology.
Traceability is one of the qualities of this new technology and it doesn’t only work with blood. In fact, hospitals and clinics can use digital tokens to trace any type of donations and even batch of drugs. If there is a glitch, fixing it is quick and painless – for everyone.
Patient data management
This use of NFTs in healthcare is linked with the digital data of patients.
“Patients that are aware of their data and understand how it’s being managed can help ensure accuracy and therefore their own quality of care and security. They should also understand and trust how a healthcare organization is managing its data,” said Karly Rowe, Vice President Patient Access, Identity to Forbes.
Turns out, often the organizations don’t have a strategy in place to manage personal and sensitive data. Sometimes, that same data is incorrect or incomplete, which can pose a risk to patients. Every year, the United States alone produces over $1 billion of clinical documents and 80% of the information is unstructured. So the patient’s data is difficult to access and process, making diagnoses a lucky guess. NFTs can change this, making the information accurate and the records easy to manage. Plus, there will be less healthcare waste.
Doctors and healthcare workers aren’t the only ones who experience difficulties in access. So do patients. Online medicine isn’t a new trend. It’s actually a growing one. People get virtual appointments, virtual prescriptions, and therapy. But it’s not for everyone. In fact, patients need connection and they need to know this service is available. For now, this is a rich people’s possibility. However, blockchain and NFTs in healthcare can make it more accessible without any bias of budget or geography. Worldwide, indeed.
So, thanks to digital tokens in the medical industry, everyone benefits. Data is correct and traceable, while donations can be tracked. Of course, there is still a lot to figure out. For example, people in the field have to figure out ethical and social consequences. Furthermore, digital tokens are safe but they can also be hacked. While they are safer than drawers in a hospital, there is still a safety concern to address. Still, NFTs in the healthcare offer possibilities and fair chances to everyone. It’s the crypto future.
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