Blockchain & Healthcare — Where Are We? (Part 2 of 2)

1 min read

This is a continuation of Blockchain & Healthcare — Where Are We? (Part 1).

1) Nascent Space – Ask entrepreneurs and investors about their favorite use cases for blockchain in healthcare and they will rattle off a huge list. Chances are it will look something like this:

  • Data: Giving patients more control over their healthcare data, including who they share with
  • Payments: Making healthcare claims more transparent and traceable
  • Cybersecurity: Securing devices, especially large machines in hospitals
  • Clinical Trials: interoperability across different dataset studies & transparency of clinical trial data
  • Tokenization: Healthcare data tokenization in line with giving patients data control 

So on that note, below is a list of the more prominent efforts utilizing blockchain in healthcare in a meaningful way. Lines can get fuzzy and classification is our best attempt to categorize them as divisions of larger companies, open-source / foundations projects, or independent startups. If you are curious to explore ICOs, or initial coin offerings, we have written about them before, for instance here.

2) What Has Been Going Well – We see three key things happening already in the space:

i) Diversity of efforts – Different types of efforts (division, project, startup) reflect a healthy diversity of interest in the space. 

ii) Funding – Many startups have been able to attract capital through ICOs. Current market conditions have obviously put a brake but we don’t see that as a permanent downturn.

iii) Big Tech – Big Tech is increasingly moving into healthcare, bringing their savviness around blockchain. For instance Oracle acquired Cerner for $22.8B in Jun 2022, with significant official commentary on using blockchain for patients to manage their data.

3) What Needs To Happen – We see three key things for the space to develop further:

i) Blockchain is not crypto – Talent, funding and attention has been focused overwhelmingly on crypto aka the financial use case. Areas like healthcare will organically attract interest but some of the crypto interest should also shift for that process to accelerate.

ii) Clearer regulatory frameworks – This is a challenge overall for blockchain, even more so when dealing with healthcare. Startups who are capable to push current boundaries of regulations will mold the future of the space

iii) A large exit – When is the Palantir equivalent for healthcare + blockchain coming? As the table above shows, there haven’t been any major exits in the space. PokitDok has been arguably the most prominent startup and folded, what was sold was its IP and assets. Exits are key because it pushes more investors and founders into the space, creating a positive loop.

Thanks to Sharon Huang for her suggestions. Originally published on “Data Driven Investor”. Amit is Managing Partner and Cofounder of Tau with 20 years in Silicon Valley across corporates, own startup, and VC funds. These are purposely short articles focused on practical insights (we call it gl;dr — good length; did read). See here for other such articles. If this article had useful insights for you, comment away and/or give a like on the article and on the Tau Ventures’ LinkedIn page, with due thanks for supporting our work. All opinions expressed here are from the author(s).

Amit Garg I have been in Silicon Valley for 20 years -- at Samsung NEXT Ventures, running my own startup (as of May 2019 a series D that has raised $120M and valued at $450M), at Norwest Ventures, and doing product and analytics at Google. My academic training is BS in computer science and MS in biomedical informatics, both from Stanford, and MBA from Harvard. I speak natively 3 languages, live carbon-neutral, am a 70.3 Ironman finisher, and have built a hospital in rural India serving 100,000 people.

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