The Metaverse Doctors Alliance (MDA), a new effort to deliver virtual healthcare globally, is looking to blockchain to increase access and ensure privacy. Blockchain technology may also help medtech get involved.
The alliance launched in December in South Korea. During the kick-off event, Solve.Care introduced its network authoring portal Care.Labs, which would provide a Korean offering in local language to support the MDA.
“We are honored to be the sole blockchain company invited to this groundbreaking launch,” Pradeep Goel, CEO of Solve.Care, stated in a news release at the time. “The world is preparing for the Metaverse, and the benefits it can offer extends to the healthcare sector. It will bring a greater chance of accessible, world-wide, equitable healthcare. As blockchain allows us to solve the underlying root causes of the issues in healthcare, such as self-sovereign identity, security of data and health record management, fraud, consent, management, and so on, it needs to be the base technology used to solve the overall management challenges experienced by healthcare today.”
MD+DI asked Solve.Care about the potential role medical technology could play in the Metaverse Doctors Alliance. “The healthcare sector globally is under increasing pressure due to the explosive growth of data in the form of electronic health records, clinical trials, mobile apps, wearables, health surveys, and more. Physicians are on the front line and are most aware of the pressing needs of healthcare and where the gaps currently lie,” Goel told MD+DI. “Artificial intelligence has emerged as a possible innovation for medical use, but some say that resources are still insufficient, the technology can be complicated, and may be doomed to fail due to the expense and investment involved.”
Solve.Care hopes to address these challenges. “We believe that the metaverse has the potential to be the best platform to protect the ideal that patients should be able to easily connect with doctors and vice versa,” explained Goel. “Now, it isn’t the case that all medical treatment and consultations should be completed on the metaverse. What the metaverse can do is assist in addressing the demand/supply issue currently facing practitioners and patients. We want to create options, an efficient meeting place, and, in turn, remove the stages in which the process of consultation and diagnosis gets slowed down.”
That’s where blockchain comes into play. “The integration of blockchain into these medical devices and the communications systems between the device and healthcare professionals can be key to the success of this change,” he said. “The security that blockchain provides can help to ward off intrusions into personal data and help medical device companies adhere to regulations, such as HIPAA, that would serve to protect the patient.”
And, regarding medical devices, “advances in creating smaller and accurate devices for home use will be a great boon toward changing healthcare for the better. These devices could allow vital patient data collection. But this data is only useful if it can be used easily, effectively, and safely,” he told MD+DI.
According to Goel, blockchain technology “simplifies consent processes for patients and healthcare organizations. Smart contracts can improve healthcare-system efficiency because it reduces the workload of healthcare providers. For example, a patient booking an appointment will automatically generate a booking on the healthcare provider’s end, based on availability.”
Blockchain also has the potential to make administrative, care delivery, and payment processes “transparent,” Goel explained. “It reduces fraud and the administrative burdens on the doctor and on the insurer, and indeed for the patient to do a co-payment. Blockchain technology eliminates the time consuming and wasteful processes that are currently in place in any given centralized system in place across the world. The auditability, immutability, transparency, and encryption of blockchain allow for more efficient, effective, secure, and transparent credential management processes. Similarly, blockchain technology allows the user or patient full autonomy over their data.”