The cost of healthcare is causing problems for the majority of Americans. According to a recent survey, 56 percent of adults in the US report that the cost of medication and treatment has forced them to make sacrifices when it comes to caring for their health needs. As a result, millions of Americans are going without medication, enduring painful conditions, and delaying — or even outright foregoing — their healthcare needs.
The dire situation has led to much greater interest in developing systems that can speed the democratization of healthcare. The Covid-19 pandemic led to the development and implementation of new technology that dramatically increased the public’s ability to connect with healthcare resources. In the wake of the pandemic, however, affordability has remained an issue that has kept the new technology from bringing meaningful change.
Changing the landscape through democratization
The current movement in the US to democratize healthcare, which looks to make it available to everyone, is focused in large part on giving patients better access to their personal healthcare data. This shift is seen as a critical one for allowing patients to take control of their personal healthcare journey, with the aim of inspiring better overall health by empowering a proactive (rather than reactive) approach.
“Despite the best efforts of healthcare experts to move the current health system from a reactive to a proactive and preventive approach, the status quo remains largely reactive,” says Helene Blanchette, co-founder of MdDAO. “The healthcare system is focused on mitigating symptoms of existing illnesses or curative medical care, instead of stressing the importance of preventive medicine and community wellness initiatives.”
MdDAO is a decentralized autonomous organization founded to bring the human focus back to healthcare. Its mission is shifting the current healthcare arena toward a truly personalized and immersive experience by leveraging the power of Web3 technology. By bringing medical care into the metaverse, MdDAO looks to repackage the healthcare narrative in a way that is more impactful, entertaining, and overall engaging.
“MdDAO will shift the current paradigm towards a community-led process,” explains Arabian Prince, another of MdDAO’s co-founders. “Within the metaverse, we have all of the tools that we need to create a platform optimized to identify positive attributes and shortcomings of the current healthcare delivery system. This is done by gaining insight from both healthcare consumers and point of care providers.”
Shifting the role of the healthcare provider
Through democratization, healthcare resources become more easily accessible to patients. Healthcare data, for example, is traditionally safeguarded within the medical community. Patient access to data is limited, meaning patients rarely have the information they need to develop and drive their own healthcare journey in a proactive way.
“The delivery of health and wellness is not community focused in the US; rather, it is institutional driven and biased,” says Dr. Stephen Tang, MD, FAAP, co-founder of MdDAO. “This has created an environment where corporate healthcare and healthcare silos flourish, leading to a disconnect between providers and consumers. The lack of cooperation, communication, and shared goals results in healthcare dissatisfaction, unimpressive clinical outcomes, and rising costs.”
Addressing the rising costs that Dr. Tang mentions has become a leading goal of those who support democratization of healthcare, including the founding members of MdDAO. They unilaterally espouse an approach in which patients become the stewards of their own healthcare journey, having greater access to data and the insights that data provides. As technological innovations empower this shift, it reduces the burdens on healthcare providers, creating a system with less administrative costs.
In addition, democratization promises to drive an improvement in overall public health by giving patients the tools they need to understand their health and proactively address health concerns. As that shift occurs, the strain on the US healthcare systems is reduced, allowing for efficiencies that empower more affordability.
“Healthcare in the US is largely a reactive model that is myopic due to silos and legacy, as well as a revenue model that does not encourage prevention and engagement,” Blanchette asserts. “As a result, managing healthcare costs, accessibility, and equality has become a struggle. To change this narrative, healthcare stakeholders and community leaders will need to find innovative ways to deliver health education with an eye on creating a more engaged and activated population. The current model has failed to adequately identify and address the issues that continue to keep those in need of care locked out.”