Smart Contracts in Healthcare

The use of smart contracts in healthcare fields continues to grow. Here's a look at some specific, new applications.

What you will learn

  • Encrypted smart contracts help providers meet regulations without sacrificing speed.

  • Smart contracts help to reduce medicine shortages by enhancing collaboration.

  • Smart contracts can improve supply chain integrity.

Related Articles

What you will learn

  • Encrypted smart contracts help providers meet regulations without sacrificing speed.

  • Smart contracts help to reduce medicine shortages by enhancing collaboration.

  • Smart contracts can improve supply chain integrity.

Related Articles

Smart Contracts in Healthcare: Use Cases Keep Growing

Smart contracts and blockchain technology are ideal ways to automate and improve health data storage and management. As these technologies continue to evolve, so do their use cases. Healthcare applications are an important way smart contracts can be used to improve people's lives.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, medical errors may lead to up to 10% of deaths in the United States. If smart contracts could be used to improve patient medical record data, medicine supply chains, and medical collaboration, it could possibly save thousands of lives every year.

Benefits of smart contracts in healthcare

Public blockchain and distributed ledgers are exciting new ways for healthcare providers to access and augment medical research data and medical records. Smart contracts' immutable, encrypted nature can enhance patient privacy while allowing providers to adhere to regulations.


Some of the most exciting distributed ledger technologies are owned and operated by leaders in the healthcare domain. These technologies offer more stability and certainty than traditional health records.

Blockchain records are immutable and verifiable; when used in a healthcare system, this information can be viewed and trusted immediately.


Delayed transfer of medical information often leads to poor outcomes for patients. Smart contracts can be used to speed up healthcare providers' access to patient information. For example, projects like SAFE, a digital health and diagnostics platform, create a unique health identifier with a proprietary algorithm. These identifiers don't reference the patient, preserving their privacy. Still, they remain authentic and verifiable. Healthcare providers can use SAFE's data-stamping service to log a patient's health status in real-time. That allows other healthcare providers, employers, and regulators to easily view this current information.

Providers can use proof-of-stake and directional-acyclic-graph (DAG) distributed ledgers to ensure patient data is updated and available in seconds. DAG-based distributed ledgers are particularly interesting because they enable numerous nodes to be updated simultaneously.


Respecting patient confidentiality and abiding by federal regulations is essential. Encrypted smart contracts offer a unique way for providers to stay in line with regulations without sacrificing speed. By using decentralized identifiers and digital signatures, those in the healthcare industry can ensure patients' sensitive information is safe, secure, and managed only by trusted entities.

Permissioned blockchains are another exciting way for healthcare professionals to maintain patient privacy. These blockchains require the consent of a third party to join or view the network. In some ways, permissioned blockchains are slower than public blockchains since professionals need permission from a central authority to view the information stored within. Still, once an entity receives the required permissions, it can seamlessly view and update patient data.

Verifiable timestamps

Healthcare professionals must know when specific actions took place and the order in which they occurred. The consensus timestamp created by smart contracts and distributed ledgers offers an easy, accurate way to determine the time and order of these events. These timestamps can be further enhanced using IoT devices. For example, if a patient needed a shot and the syringes were stored in a machine connected to a distributed ledger, the doctor would only need to input the patient's unique identifier and click a button to add the shot record to the ledger. When the event's data was added to the ledger, it would be recorded with a specific timestamp that would live on-chain indefinitely.


Events stored by smart contracts are immutable and traceable. Because these patient records cannot be altered, those in the healthcare sector wouldn't need to worry about internal or external fraud. Because each record can be traced back to the entity that created it, there is no way for an external source to misrepresent medical data maliciously.

All stakeholders can easily confirm a record's authenticity, meet compliance requirements, and trust the information. Additionally, audits are significantly easier since each event will remain unchanged. Auditors only need to examine the events created since their last audit, and don't have to worry about missing significant changes.

4 ways smart contracts in healthcare can help

Smart integrated wearables

Wearable fitness devices can be integrated with smart contract technology and healthcare-centric distributed ledgers. These wearables could automatically record significant health events, such as an unusual heartbeat pattern or changes in a patient's sleep. The devices could enhance healthcare processes by storing important events as electronic health records rather than relying on the patient to know and remember what happened.

Smart-integrated wearables could work alongside other IoT devices, such as a smart speaker that lets patients or healthcare providers know when an event is recorded. Patients could be automatically rewarded with virtual currencies if they take preventive measures or improve their health.

Supply chain integrity

According to Forbes, an estimated $200 million worth of counterfeit drugs make their way into the healthcare sector every year. These fake drugs result in enormous financial losses for hospitals and pharmacies and can be deadly when used by patients. The introduction of counterfeit medicines is enabled by inefficient supply chain processes that cannot track a drug's source in real-time. Supply chain data can be improved with the use of smart contracts, digital identifiers, and IoT devices. These technologies enable every link in the supply chain to report on drugs' locations accurately and, in some cases, automatically.

Certain medications must be stored at specific temperatures. Healthcare professionals must know if these temperature requirements were met throughout the supply chain process. IoT devices, like those made by Everyware, can accurately track temperatures of solutions in storage 24/7. This data can be stored on-chain, making it easy for hospitals to access.

Fight drug shortages

Drug shortages are a serious issue in the healthcare sector, with an average of roughly 198 shortages in the United States annually. In many cases, shortages are worsened by a lack of access to health care data. Projects like Acoer, can reduce the number of shortages by enhancing collaboration and using smart contracts and a distributed ledger to monitor supply chains. This information and collaboration can aid drug developers in knowing how much of a specific medication is needed in different geographic regions.

Smart contracts for insurance settlements

Smart contracts offer a faster, more secure way for insurance providers, hospitals, and other healthcare services to share patient information. If a patient's insurance policy was stored on-chain, it could be viewed by their healthcare provider when needed. Likewise, hospitals could easily add the patient's treatments to the distributed ledger to be viewed by their insurance provider, and insurance payments could be automated.

The smart contract cure

Smart contracts offer a frictionless way for health care providers, insurance companies, researchers, drug manufacturers, and nearly every other entity in the healthcare industry to communicate. These on-chain programs can automate aspects of healthcare systems, freeing up time and resources for the professionals involved. When considering how to incorporate a smart contract system into your healthcare business, it's essential to look for a ledger with security, fast transaction processing, and predictable fees. Hedera is a leader in distributed ledger technology. Its hashgraph consensus and gossip protocol enable lightning-fast transaction finality and data sharing.