Opinion

A Metaverse Solution to our Current Healthcare Delivery Problems

Written by Dung Trinh, MD

If there’s a good way to explain our healthcare delivery system I would use the term “fragments”.

Treatments and care decisions are made in silos. Patients are treated behind high walls of isolated health systems and networks that don’t communicate to each other.

Different groups of healthcare workers don’t trust each other. Turf wars exist between physicians and wellness providers such as chiropractors, naturopathic providers, and others. Treatment modalities are also not integrated meaning those who wield the prescription pad don’t trust those who wield an acupuncture needle, advocate for plant-based therapies (i.e. Cannabinoid medicine) and vice versa. Likewise, those who prescribe herbal and naturopathic therapies don’t trust those who prescribe pharmaceutical medications.

There are electronic health record systems that don’t speak to one another, hospitals are not connected to outpatient clinics and patients are stuck within networks of payers, systems, IPAs, and medical groups with restrictions to go outside of their healthcare “tribe”. There is distrust among healthcare tribes so patients often become stuck in the middle before being lobbied to trust one provider against the other.

The US healthcare system is designed from the top down — often by MBAs and financial gurus who are focused more on the bottom line than health and wellness. This means patients are often pawns of the healthcare game.

 

There are routine arguments to keep integrative therapies such as plant-based medicine out of Standard of Care Treatment:

  • This treatment isn’t recommended because there’s no data or proof that it works.
  • There’s no data because there isn’t any research done.
  • There’s no research done because there isn’t a (pharma) sponsor.
  • There isn’t a sponsor because there’s no profit or ROI (return on investment) in doing the research.
  • Thus the endless cycle continues of distrust and turf wars between what’s recommended and what treatment modalities are considered “voodoo medicine”.

 

Barriers to Care

Our current healthcare delivery model also has multiple barriers to care. Here are some of the issues:

  1. Interoperability between healthcare computer systems
  2. Distrust among groups of healthcare providers
  3. Financial restrictions between payers and networks
  4. Lack of data to verify efficacy and safety of products and treatment modalities
  5. Physical boundaries and walls
  6. Limitations of virtual visits and telehealth
  7. Turf wars between “healthcare tribes”
  8. Health disparities between minorities, communities that are poor.
  9. Health access issues between “the haves and the have nots”
  10. Legacy systems vs innovation
  11. Focus on disease and Illness vs Wellness and prevention.

 

A Damaging Lack of trust

Physicians don’t trust chiropractors. Herbalists and naturopathic providers don’t trust western- trained physicians. Patients don’t trust Pharma. Doctors don’t trust herbs. Lack of data exists on many potential holistic therapies because there is no financial incentive to fund the studies needed to provide data.

There is no one good answer for these various healthcare issues but we can take small steps in the right direction. Perhaps the solution is looking at the metaverse, AKA web 3.0 to find some solutions to our current healthcare problems.

 

What is the Metaverse?
At its basic core the metaverse is a virtual reality world on the blockchain that allows people to interact with each other in real time. A metaverse dedicated to healthcare (e.g. MdDAO.com) would allow patients to interact with healthcare providers, and possibly each other, to seek and promote health and wellness. The metaverse is online, with virtually enhanced physical and digital reality. Since this experience is online, there are a number of advantages and solutions it provides to our current healthcare barriers and silos.

 

Possible Metaverse Solutions

  1. No physical barriers and walls that may obstruct access to care.
  2. No boundaries that limit access between cities, states, and even countries.
  3. No financial currency barriers when all transactions use the same health token (globally).
  4. Inner city, minority and rural communities have equal access to care.
  5. Tokenization strategies to promote health and wellness rather than the focus on illness and disease.
  6. Humanize and personalize the healthcare experience between patients and providers.
  7. Patients own their own health data on a secure blockchain.
  8. Patients have the opportunity to monetize their own data instead of health organizations monetizing patients data.
  9. Optimizing the use of remote patient monitoring on the metaverse (Nouslogic).
  10. Optimizing the concept of “wellness at home” while care is provided on the metaverse (Nouslogic).
  11. Bridging the gap of physical exams with technologies. (EKO)
  12. Moving medical research and clinical trials onto the metaverse to improve process and outcomes (Triall.io)
  13. Opportunities for Integrative Care groups to have a health platform adjacent to standard of care therapies.

These potential solutions to our healthcare problems are currently theoretical since a healthcare metaverse does not currently exist. What we do know is that by bringing various healthcare providers onto the metaverse, we can allow plant-based cannabinoid medicine providers to practice next to standard of care physicians. Patients will have access to integrative care providers adjacent to western trained providers. Perhaps we can decentralize clinical research on the metaverse to make cannabinoid clinical trials affordable and feasible. Data collection would be immutable on the blockchain and more accurate.

Will this all work? Stay tuned…

About the author

Dung Trinh, MD

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