Vision, Opportunities, and Challenges, Health News, ET HealthWorld

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By Abhijeet Satani

In the last few years, NFT or Non-Fungible tokens have become one of the most popular assets in recent years. This ownership of unique items is stored and managed using blockchain and can’t be edited, recreated, copied, or switched making them a very lucrative investment option. These NFT-minted assets cannot have more than one official owner at a time. NFT is a concept that can be applied in all sectors and we have seen it enter sectors like art, real estate, etc. and now it’s expanding to healthcare.

Research and clinical assessment with patients

In this expanding world of NFTs, Digital health services have started using NFT strategy to attract patients and help them participate in research by providing their data with complete autonomy and also making a profit out of it. A lot of third parties then take this data for research to build and create new products, and they can reach out to patients directly through this digital marketplace.

Unlike the old method, this gives patients to disclose their data in a secure and informed way. This also allows patients to gain ownership over their health records and make them more visible, with the help of blockchain technology and NFT certifications.

Supporting the fight against counterfeit pharmaceuticals
NFTs and Blockchains play a significant role in the fight against fake medications by using this verification process. With the help of “Token ID” assigned throughout its existence that stays with the NFT, leaving a digital footprint. Each NFT’s Metadata holds information that refers to the valuable digital resources that get updated on blockchain in real-time which defines the uniqueness of every NFT. An Immutable ledger record is created by NFTs which helps in minimizing and even eliminating inconsistencies and fraud to an extent. NFTs safeguard and speed the tracking process for medicines, which allows for the detection of errors rapidly. Potential problems like identifying and removing black-market prescriptions from the system can be taken care of much more quickly.

Optimizing the supply chain for blood banks
Multiple Companies and organizations like blood banks are trying to use this technology and convince people to donate their blood using NFTs. This provides the donor with a Unique token making it easy to track and trace it through the system. It would help them to create a timeline from the moment it is donated to the point where it reaches the intended receiver. The data is then stored in a digital blood bank by its NFT, to track and monitor the demand for specific blood types and distribute it according to availability and requirement with the help of blockchain.

There is a blockchain-based biological tracing company called BloodChain that uses NFTs to avoid bottlenecks in the collection and distribution of biological products like blood. They created an “open social blood bank” which allows anyone to donate blood with the help of the BloodChain network. BloodChain tries to satisfy the supply and demand in real-time where Individuals can register their blood types in a safe and secure environment. They also use AI-based applications on the data acquired on the blockchain, to calculate and understand the demand for blood from hospitals and other blood banks to provide the required resources to them in no time.

Securing the data from health-tracking apps
With technologies like wearables, at-home fitness equipment, and other health-tracking devices gaining popularity and acceptance on a global level, multiple groups of people are questioning how health data is effectively being utilized while also managing it safely. This created an opportunity for entrepreneurs to embrace NFT to gather data in a decentralized way, maximize access, and allow patients to take back ownership of their health information as a new method that helped them to address the issues and concerns of users concerning data privacy and also to prevent their data being misused or stolen in cyberattacks.

Enjin, an NFT minting firm recently collaborated with Health hero, a digital health platform to create a health tracking app Go!. This application allows users to create a “Well-being NFT” that tokenizes an individual’s activity and wellness data that it collects from popular health-tracking applications like Google fit, Fitbit, and Apple Health to make them more traceable and secure.

A look ahead
The development of health and personal data with keeping the focus on patient-centricity by organizations w
orking in healthcare creates an abrupt necessity to manage data while also making sure to take care of patient data’s security and autonomy. There is also a major increase in tracking and controlling medical and pharmaceutical devices as there is also rise in the globalization of healthcare is accelerating at a constant pace. These factors tend to create an optimal space for NFTs to resolve challenges and make sure to improve patient experiences in the healthcare sector.

There are some major hurdles to the increase and growth of NFTs in the coming future, especially in the healthcare sector. There are flaws concerning security, privacy, and disputes over the rights of intellectual property that make NFTs vulnerable. There is also the issue of NFTs being a little more complex making it harder for laymen to use them to their full potential of capitalizing them.

Blockchain Technology is also quite costly to work with and it takes a lot of effort for even the smallest of transactions. The digital footprint has also been linked to the emission of high greenhouse gas, which contributes to climate change. There are however multiple alternatives in work for minting NFTs that might just use only a fraction of the computational power that is used in transactions right now.

NFTs are at a stage where they’re still budding in development and it has a lot of future with evolving which will give patients absolute control over their data and health data. Several challenges still stand in the way of NFTs becoming a mainstream source of data in the healthcare sector but the potential it holds is impeccable.

Abhijeet Satani is a researcher in the field of neuroscience. A holder of several patents, he is best-known for his invention – cognitively operated system, computer aided controlled prosthesis and Plant to human interface.

(DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and ETHealthworld does not necessarily subscribe to it. ETHealthworld.com shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person / organisation directly or indirectly.)





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