Blockchain technology will play a role in a wide range of sectors in healthcare, including sharing healthcare data, tracing supply chains, and optimising the payment process. By using blockchain technology, synchronised public data can be securely stored, ensuring that each party is sharing the same real world data. A blockchain-based network holds an immutable record of transactions that can be used to track the products in supply chain, but do so in a confidential way that safeguards sensitive information.

Listed below are the key macroeconomic themes impacting blockchain usage in the healthcare industry, as identified by GlobalData.

Increasing demands on secure data

Cybersecurity is a challenge that is faced by both large organisations and each individual. While the development of the industrial IoT and digitisation are making industrial networks more and more connected and communicative, the ultra-connection exposes individuals and businesses even more to the threats. Nevertheless, attackers are employing increasingly sophisticated techniques to gain access to valuable healthcare industry related data. To prevent unauthorised access to assets such as networks and clinical data, blockchain technology maintains the integrity and confidentiality of sensitive information.

Growth of blockchain industry

The global market for blockchain technology—including apps, middleware, infrastructure, and protocol provisions—will continue to be significantly outstripped by investment activity over the next three years. GlobalData expects to see strong growth in blockchain related revenues between 2019 and 2022, which will fuel blockchain application in the healthcare field.

Emerging markets

Emerging economies are very pro-blockchain. The Chinese government has positioned itself to dominate the blockchain space with the most patents related to blockchain. The Chinese State Council included blockchain development in the nation’s 13th Five-Year Plan. In 2019, President of China Xi Jinping said blockchain will play a major role on building China’s strength in cyberspace, developing the digital economy, and advancing economic and social development.

The “Blockchain Technology Supported Genetic Interpretation of Chinese Population Database” project is led by the China Food and Drug Control Research Institute, and is supported by Huada Blockchain BaaS platform. Shenzhen Huada Gene Co., Ltd. and six other companies. The goal is to establish a standard reference database for the genetic data of the Chinese population.

Pioneering markets

Estonia has become the first country to use blockchain for healthcare on a national scale. In 2016, the Estonian E-Health Foundation launched a development project that seeks to protect patient health records using blockchain technology in archiving related activity logs. Following Estonia, in 2018, the United Arab Emirates set out on an ambitious plan to use blockchain technology to improve the different aspects of lives of its citizens, such as banking, transportation, and healthcare. The initiative set the country on a path to become a fully functional blockchain-based government by 2021.

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This is an edited extract from the Blockchain in Healthcare – Thematic Research report produced by GlobalData Thematic Research.