Yuriy Klochan/123RF

What’s The State Of Blockchain In Healthcare? 11 Experts Share Their Insights

  • 1 March 2019
  • Sam Mire

We can all agree it’s unreasonable to command a newborn to jump rope in its hospital crib. It’d be just as silly to ask a first-year medical student to be head of an intensive care unit.

So why would anyone expect that blockchain technology, in its relative infancy, is already at work in the healthcare industry?

A number of healthcare businesses have already implemented this technology in their processes. Experts agree that use cases for the blockchain in healthcare remain largely unfulfilled. There’s plenty of talk of its potential — it can store medical records and keep track of how pharmaceuticals move through a supply chain — but live applications remain few and far between.

Give it time.

There’s too much potential here for healthcare to ignore the blockchain. But as patients cycle in and out of emergency rooms, new ailments crop up each day, and medical professionals find little time for a even smoke break, overhauling technological infrastructure has fallen by the wayside.

This will change with time. Motivated innovators will bring new investment to the healthcare space to improve the system by blockchain-powered upgrades.

1. David Harlow, Principal of The Harlow Group LLC and Publisher of HealthBlawg

David Harlow“The state of the art (as it applies to healthcare) is relatively immature, and the state of the market is immature as well. Management and IT decision makers and their key advisers (legal, compliance, finance) are not ready to begin using blockchain technology broadly within healthcare for mission-critical use cases. That will change as healthcare organizations begin using blockchain to improve business processes and the various internal constituencies gain more experience with the technology and early implementations. One use case that holds promise is provider directories — keeping them current is a longstanding resource-intensive problem and is susceptible to a blockchain-based fix.”  

2. Chrissa McFarlane, CEO of Patientory, Inc.

Chrissa McFarlane“Blockchain in healthcare is a nascent industry that is quickly developing in terms of the number of use cases that can be applied to different aspects of the healthcare industry.”



3. Barby Ingle, President at International Pain Foundation

Barby Ingle“The state of blockchain in healthcare today on a fundamental level is the ability to securely, privately and comprehensively track patient health records. Although this seems great, there still is no comprehensive tool. One area that needs the most help is universal health records for patients. Patients should be in control of their own health data for security, privacy and usability between medical providers. Blockchain will help us coordinate all of the healthcare data into pieces that are usable, manageable and accessible in real time.”

4. Ildar Fazulyanov, CEO and Founder of WELL

Ildar Fazulyanov“Blockchain in healthcare, although great strides have been made, is still in the early adoption stage. With the insane growth and interest in blockchain in the past 12 months, the use cases for the healthcare industry have been able to start development and obtain funding through ICOs. With that came an increase in use cases as well. Think of the internet or the iPhone early on. The technology was there but the use cases didn’t slow down after the product was released. The same goes for blockchain in healthcare. We are making enormous progress but we have only scratched the surface.”

5. Dr. Mark Baker, CEO of MediChain

Mark Baker“While at the start of 2019 we are just at the start of an amazing, transformational journey in wellness, through the year Blockchain will ensure trust across boundaries in medicine.”



6. Matthew Sinderbrand, CEO and Co-founder of BetterPath

Matthew Sinderbrand“Blockchain is still nascent in healthcare today. Enterprise applications, while attractive to C-suites who want to “innovate” and stay “ahead of the curve”, miss the mark from a cost-benefit standpoint as early adopters are essentially implementing a slower, more expensive database to do pretty much the same job as traditional cloud. It’s analogous to what preceded the birth of the INTERNET: blockchain in healthcare today is in the INTRANET phase. As my friend Richie Etwaru of hu-manity.co says, “we’re still waiting for that AOL moment”.

7. Michael Dershem, CEO and Founder of MAPay

Michael Dershem“The state of blockchain today is similar to the state of blockchain in most every industry. That is, most see it as a revolutionary form of technology which will move from the speed of sound to the speed of light. However, there are many that see it is a fad that will someday pass. And as the CXO suite has seen very few real use cases the speed of adoption has been stymied especially in the US. I also believe that the technology itself may suffer from reputation risks while many find it hard to separate the blockchain technology itself from the alt-currency market typified by Bitcoin. I believe we are at nexus where the wheat is pulled from the shaft and we on the verge of seeing real sustainable business use in the areas of payments both enterprise and micro, cross platform data access and use and finally rapid diagnosing resulting from AI within blockchains.”

8. Matt Riemann, Health Futurist and Founder of Shae

Matt Riemann“Blockchain is still a relatively new concept in healthcare. It is poorly understood, approached with skepticism and caution, not a necessity for many existing systems in a poorly regulated environment, and often not seen as a major improvement in today’s healthcare marketplace or operations. It will take time and more forward-thinking pioneers to brave this relatively uncharted landscape before a great concept such as blockchain will result in tangible outcomes that will create mass adoption and a critical transition point in history.

9. Andrew Hoppin, CEO and Co-founder of CoverUS

Andrew Hoppin“Much of the hype around blockchain in healthcare has receded along with the market cap of cryptocurrencies, which led significantly to the burgeoning of no less than 150 “biomedical blockchain” projects in 2018. Many startup projects have folded, but nonetheless blockchain technologies continue to be invested in significantly, especially by established life sciences industry companies. Meritorious smaller companies with real use cases for blockchains continue to receive funding and make technological progress, but not as “blockchain companies.”

10. Todd Chamberlain, CEO and Founder of MedBlox

Todd Chamberlain“We've been seeing blockchain get baked into existing stacks or established “trust” paradigms for the past two years now, but blockchain has yet to address healthcare's “Byzantine Generals Problem”.

By failing to effectively address the true economics underlying a healthcare transaction, these projects have seen limited market adoption and fall short of establishing a currency of “trust”.”     

11. Ofer Lidsky, CEO and Founder of Digital DNAtix Ltd

Ofer Lidsky“We are at the beginning of a revolution in digital healthcare. Part of the revolution is due to blockchain technologies as a new means of privacy and a new way to handle trust for network participants. New possibilities exist for protecting identities while still communicating and exchanging data.”

Have expert insights to add to this article?

Share your feedback and we'll consider adding it to the piece!

About Sam Mire

Sam is a Market Research Analyst at Disruptor Daily. He's a trained journalist with experience in the field of disruptive technology. He’s versed in the impact that blockchain technology is having on industries of today, from healthcare to cannabis. He’s written extensively on the individuals and companies shaping the future of tech, working directly with many of them to advance their vision. Sam is known for writing work that brings value to industry professionals and the generally curious – as well as an occasional smile to the face.