Tokenizing Your Medical Care is Taking Crypto and DeFi to the New Healthy Heights

When you think of decentralized finance, crypto, and Nonfungible Tokens (NFTs) the last thing that might come to mind is the healthcare industry. But it turns out, in 2021, health care professionals are taking to the blockchain and NFTs the same way they did with the internet and the world wide web in the 1990s and early 2000s. Back then (and today) you looked for a reputable domain brokerage to purchase the perfect website address and you were off to the races with a new personalized website, plus a new digital attitude and appearance that quickly morphed into a complex and fluid social media presence.

But now that blockchain is here, and along with it, digital stores of value like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and funny little one-of-kind pieces of artwork called NFTs, industries like health and medical care are already seeing the major potential “tokenization” can offer. According to a recent report, NFTs are not only reserved for artwork and photos of famous basketball players, they are literally transforming healthcare.

A little backstory. In 2020, non-fungible tokens crashed onto the crypto scene. They’re different from cryptocurrencies which can be used as a store of value, or for DeFi transactions, and more recently, to purchase items like Tesla automobiles. Instead, NFTs are said to be the equivalent of a “certificate of authenticity.” By purchasing an NFT you are owning a digital representation of a tangible one-of-a-kind asset. Everything from digital music, to artwork, to video, to flash fiction, and book covers are being bought and/or exchanged with NFTs. The craze to collect these digital tokens has resulted in $3 billion in sales in the first half of 2021.

It seems a no-brainer that NFTs would succeed in the entertainment industry, but now the same idea is being applied to the healthcare industry. Says Forbes Magazine, personal health care data, pharmaceuticals, and even “elements of the human composition such as blood” are being turned into NFTs.

Blood

Blood-drive organizations like the Red Cross are said to be encouraging the use of NFTs when it comes to giving blood. How does it work? Blood donors are given a specific token that’s unique to their identity, and then it is entered into the donation system.

The “tokenized” blood is then transported to a hospital, secured into the blook bank, and eventually transferred to its recipient. The blood is then registered by its particular NFT into a “digital blood bank” where the need for that specific type of blood is now tracked by the blockchain and transferred to where it’s needed most.

Drugs

Manufacturers of pharmaceutical drugs can use NFTs to identify a specific batch of medicinal drugs, marking them not only as authentic but also making them easier to digitally track. Any problems that arise in the processing of the drugs can be identified by tracking it through the blockchain. This allows for problems to be solved much more swiftly.

For instance, if a drug has been recalled by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) for one reason or another, it can be physically marked on its particular assigned NFT. Anyone trying to track it on the blockchain will see the marking.

NFTs can be useful in fulfilling prescription orders too. They can be easily tracked to the doctor who wrote them, thereby eliminating forged scripts, especially for dangerous opioids.

Prescription orders could also be connected to an NFT, easily tying them back to whoever wrote them and preventing forged prescriptions.

Data

Health care data is not only one of the most promising areas when it comes to NFTs, it is said to be one of the most exciting. While patients are acutely aware that their personal data is stored somewhere in the vast computer system, they have little access and no control over where it’s sent or who sees it and uses it.

But in recent months, Alphabet Inc.’s Google and national hospital chain HCA Healthcare Inc. HCA +1.7% signed a $3 trillion (yes, with a “T”) contract to develop what is being called “healthcare algorithms” for patients data and records. The data is said to be “spun off from patients in real-time,” while NFTs will allow the said patients to also track precisely how their own data is being shared and used. In this manner, the patient and the patient is the guaranteed owner of their own data.

It’s now obvious if not mind-blowing to realize the enormous possibilities NFTs and blockchain tech poses for the healthcare industry and industries like it. Instead of your personal data being passed on at will to anyone who wishes to use it, you can actually earn real money and/or decentralized crypto like Bitcoin or Ethereum in exchange for its use.