‘Fit-for-purpose?’ – challenges and opportunities for applications of blockchain technology in the future of healthcare

In the health sector, blockchain is being aggressively explored by various stakeholders to optimize business processes, lower costs, improve patient outcomes, enhance compliance, and enable better use of healthcare-related data. However, critical in assessing whether blockchain can fulfill the hype of a technology characterized as ‘revolutionary’ and ‘disruptive’, is the need to ensure that blockchain design elements consider actual healthcare needs from the diverse perspectives of consumers, patients, providers, and regulators. In addition, answering the real needs of healthcare stakeholders, blockchain approaches must also be responsive to  the unique challenges faced in healthcare compared to other sectors of the economy. In this sense, ensuring that a health blockchain is ‘fit-for-purpose’ is pivotal. This concept forms the basis for this article, where we share  views from a multidisciplinary group of practitioners at the forefront of blockchain conceptualization, development, and deployment.

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