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  • Writer's pictureAnca Petre

NFTs in healthcare: beyond the hype

For the past year, almost everyone I know has either purchased or created an NFT. To the point where you almost feel ashamed to admit that you still don’t really understand what NFTs are or how to invest in a smart and pragmatic way. What’s more, from the outside, the NFT world seems populated by weird pixeled art and record auctions that don’t really make sense. How do you even tie that to healthcare ? Are NFTS even a thing in healthcare ? Don’t panic, in today’s article we are moving past the hype and the crypto art to understand what NFTs really are and if they can be useful in healthcare.

What is an NFT?

First things first. When you purchase an NFT, what you purchase in reality is an ownership right to the asset it is tied to. For instance, if you purchase this NFT, what you purchase in fact is the ownership right to this image.

Under the hood, NFTs are pieces of code that tie a file to a user’s address, giving that user an ownership right over that file. These pieces of code are recorded in a transparent and unfalsifiable record called a blockchain. Just like you have records of art pieces owners kept by auction houses.

Why do people invest in NFTs?

There are multiple reasons why people invest in these NFTs. Some of them are rational others more emotional. Here are a few rational reasons why you would invest in an NFT :

People invest in NFTs because the asset is rare or exceptional

Any type if digital asset can be turned into an NFT. It can be a piece of digital art created by a famous artist, it can be virtual clothing created by a renown designer for your avatar in the metaverse, or it can be a picture signed by a popular athlete.

In fact, imagine Beyonce puts one of her songs to auction as an NFT. That means that you can purchase the ownership rights to that song. Because this is incredibly exceptional, the value of that NFT can be very high.

This is in fact one of the main reasons people invest in NFTs. It is a way of acquiring rare or exceptional digital assets.

People invest in NFTs because it is useful

An NFT can give you exclusive access to online content or real-life benefits and make you part of a community. For instance, some artists might sell NFTs as access rights to their music or tv show. The community who owns these NFTs can make creative decisions about the next song or the next episode. This is a way for artists to finance their project outside the regular system and create a strong community of creative contributors.

Let’s take another example. Your favorite content creator could soon start selling NFTs as a way of creating a community of subscribers that receive special benefits such as access to exclusive content, invitations to F2F events and more.

How can NFTs be used in healthcare?

Now, at this point, you are probably wondering what it all has to do with healthcare. So here are some examples of how everything I have described so far an be applied to the healthcare industry.

First of all, you need to identify what type of digital assets we have in healthcare: it can be anything from medical records, to prescriptions, to patents for drugs or medical devices, to pharmaceutical products. The list is very long.

NFTs and medical data ownership

One of the most talked-about application is the use of NFTs to give patients ownership and control over their health data. In fact, in February 2022, a group of researchers published an article in the medical journal Science to explain the way NFTs could transform health information exchange. Because this is such a large subject, I will dedicate a whole video to this topic so stay tuned for that!


NFTs can be used as digital footprints of pharmaceutical products to improve traceability and fight against counterfeit drugs. Each NFT can uniquely represent a pharmaceutical product on the supply chain, moving from one player to the other until it reaches the patient. In addition, the NFT can be linked to a set of documentation stored on the blockchain that informs about the product throughout its lifespan.


Some companies such as Molecule, look into ways to fund biomedical research as NFTs. They call this the IP-NFT which represents full legal IP rights and data access control to biopharma research. When an organization wants to purchase the IP, the agreement is created, signed and recorded on a Blockchain. After the signing process is completed, an NFT is being created, representing the IP. Molecule aims to build an entire funding ecosystem for early-stage research in the medical field.


Last but not least, NFTs could also be an interesting tool to fight against falsified prescriptions. Each patient could have a wallet of NFTs representing all their prescriptions and improving the traceability and the intercity of the document.

There are a lot of other applications we could imagine for NFTs in healthcare but these are the ones that you will encounter the most right now.

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