Advancements in health care are happening all around us every day. Disruptors in the health care industry consistently devise ways to save money, lead people to better outcomes, provide easier access to health care and promote healthier lifestyles.
One of the most significant advancements to emerge has been the Decentralized Autonomous Organization. DAOs are global, member-led communities where a centralized government does not determine rules and structure. Health care DAOs are the latest step in a bold move to not only define a new blueprint for the metaverse, but create a more efficient and less-costly health care system.
What is a health care DAO structure?
In more traditional business structures, organization is typically created in a “top-down” format. The business structure runs down from the CEO to upper management, middle management, and finally to the lowest non-management tier.
However, in a DAO structure, users, developers, experts and management work together with no centralized, ultimate authority. Instead, the organization is owned and led by members of its community. Decisions are made collectively because there is no hierarchy, and the DAO operates via smart contracts powered by blockchain technology. This structure allows the actions taken by the DAO to be transparent, verifiable, and — ultimately — approved or unapproved by the organization’s community members.
Reimagining health care
The health care industry has remained relatively unchanged for many years. Even with the introduction of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, many people remain accustomed to the traditional processes of accessing health care, paying for it, and interacting with medical professionals. Newly introduced health care DAOs are looking to upend this status quo and give consumers a new way of approaching health and wellness.
The DAO platform brings patients and medical professionals together in a collaborative metaversal space. By creating secure, open marketplaces to define what services and access to digital health solutions should be, health care DAOs work to make accessing health care inclusive, as well as less cumbersome and less expensive for users.
The benefits of a health care DAO
Consumers are well-aware of the inequities in the traditional health care business structure. The high salaries of health care CEOs stand as a stark reminder that, in a conventional health care landscape, the power is in the hands of a select few. People feel a remarkable lack of control over their health and wellness when insurance companies and health care organizations define all the rules.
The health care DAO introduces a more personalized approach to health care. For instance, membership NFT tiers offered by health care DAO companies entering the marketplace redefine how members can access and interact with the health care system.
Insurance companies may ask “what’s in it for us?” DAOs and the metaverse can be confusing, especially for companies operating within an established industry such as health insurance. Regardless, past studies have shown that one of the best ways to lower health care costs across the board for consumers and health care companies is to promote a healthier population.
Bringing health care into the metaverse via a health care DAO brings health and wellness directly to the consumer. It breaks down barriers that people run across in a traditional health care system — prohibitive cost, inconvenience, discomfort and lack of holistic support.
Furthermore, the gamification opportunities offered in the metaverse allows for educational interaction and to promote preventive, good health choice rewards, such as a health for wealth system.
The boundaries and barriers to health care typical of a traditional health care system do not lead to a healthier population. It is statistically evident that leaning on the way things have “always been done” is, overall, simply not working. Health care spending in the U.S. is higher than most peer countries, but our health and wellness outcomes are lower overall.
We have a high level of chronic disease and obesity among our population, which leads to cost increases for both consumers and insurance companies. The old ways are not leading to the best outcomes.
Health care DAOs bring a needed disruption to the industry, showing a different path to better results and cost savings. Embracing this new approach also benefits the overall physical health care structure by unclogging the medical patient flow. Studies have demonstrated that close to 70% of medical problems can be diagnosed without a visit to a health care facility.
People have taken a broader interest in controlling their health care throughout the past few years. Virtual telehealth and personalized concierge healthcare services have slowly become the norm. A move to the metaverse is the next logical step for many. Health care DAOs are an innovation that stands to elevate health care access and patient autonomy across the board.
Helene Blanchette is cofounder of MMDAO and MyMedV. She may be contacted at [email protected].