Digital technologies reach out into multiple areas of modern living, and healthcare may be no exception over the next few years. Some examples of developing areas and innovative technologies are presented below.

Nonfungible tokens NFTs, created using blockchain technology, are more generally associated with the digital art world. However, it is possible that NFT digital contracts could be repurposed for the healthcare industry.

This is according to a review published in the journal Science titled “How NFTs could transform health information exchange.”

Writing from the position of bioethics, the researchers argue that NFT digital contracts could provide an opportunity for patients to specify who can access their personal health information and to track how it is shared.

A review in Laboratory Roots considers the future application of cryptocurrency in medicine, especially around the way cryptocurrency could be used to pay for healthcare treatments, scientific research, and hospital equipment.

Another possible application is with digital healthcare companies who see monetizing healthy habits as a future state. Examples could include taking medication regularly, staying sober, or engaging in more frequent exercise, in return for digital currency or equivalent rewards.

This capitalisation of healthcare may suit some cultures more than others, depending upon the model in place. For example, this form of incentivised payments model might fit the U.S. system better than the U.K., where most healthcare is free at the point of need.

Another review also considers how healthcare can make use of blockchains to track patient records and help manage supply chains, where the token concept of cryptocurrency plays a part. Furthermore, patients could make use of apps that enable them to scan a medication packets and to receive a digital confirmation that the medicine is indeed a genuine product and not a fake item.

It is also possible that blockchains could strengthen clinical trials, especially around patient confidentiality and data protection.

As an example, researchers from University of California – San Francisco, have created a proof-of-concept method for ensuring the integrity of clinical trials data with blockchain. Such a system could be developed to create an immutable audit trail that makes it easy to spot any tampering with results, such as making the treatment look more effective or diminishing side effects, and for assessing whether any data has been altered or removed from the intended digital flow path.