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From blockchain technology to global health equity: can cryptocurrencies finance universal health coverage?
  1. Brian M Till1,2,3,
  2. Alexander W Peters2,3,4,
  3. Salim Afshar2,3,
  4. John G Meara2,3
  1. 1 Robert Larner College of Medicine, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont, USA
  2. 2 Program in Global Surgery and Social Change, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  3. 3 Department of Plastic and Oral Surgery, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  4. 4 Department of Surgery, Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr John G Meara; john.meara{at}childrens.harvard.edu

Abstract

Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies could remake global health financing and usher in an era global health equity and universal health coverage. We outline and provide examples for at least four important ways in which this potential disruption of traditional global health funding mechanisms could occur: universal access to financing through direct transactions without third parties; novel new multilateral financing mechanisms; increased security and reduced fraud and corruption; and the opportunity for open markets for healthcare data that drive discovery and innovation. We see these issues as a paramount to the delivery of healthcare worldwide and relevant for payers and providers of healthcare at state, national and global levels; for government and non-governmental organisations; and for global aid organisations, including the WHO, International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group.

  • health economics
  • health policy
  • health systems

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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Footnotes

  • Handling editor Soumitra Bhuyan

  • Contributors All authors contributed to the manuscript in its entirety from conception, design, analysis and composition.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Correction notice This article has been corrected since it first published. The middle initial of the last author is missing. His correct name is John G Meara and he should be cited as Meara JG.

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