Press Release: ‘Blockchain’ Could Help Make Health Aid, Systems More Efficient | The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (
Nov 06, 2017

Foreign Affairs: Blockchain and Global Health

Brian M. Till, medical student and research associate at Boston Children’s Hospital; Salim Afshar, attending plastic and oral surgeon at Boston Children’s Hospital and faculty member at Harvard Medical School’s Program in Global Surgery and Social Change; Alex W. Peters, resident at Weill Cornell Medicine and Paul Farmer Global Surgery research fellow at Harvard Medical School’s Program in Global Surgery and Social Change; and John G. Meara, Kletjian professor of Global Surgery at Harvard Medical School and plastic surgeon-in-chief at Boston Children’s Hospital

Together with inadequate government spending, corruption and inefficiency help explain why most of the world’s health care systems are underfunded — and why many states continue to suffer preventable outbreaks of deadly diseases … For too long, donors have focused on getting grants out the door instead of maximizing the returns on their investments.

Blockchain, the technology best known for underpinning Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, could help change that.

By allowing donors to track money, goods, and treatment in real time, blockchain could transform how organizations fund and execute health programs, curbing waste, saving money, and bringing better care to billions. …

Aid groups could similarly use the technology to oversee medical supplies as they travel from factory to patient. … By streamlining supply chains and making it easier to oversee them, blockchain could help free up funds to spend on patients. … Adopting blockchain could also make ministries of health more efficient. … Translating [health care investments] into health and prosperity will require ending fraud and transcending the barriers to accessible, equitable funding. Blockchain offers a way to start” (11/3).