Decentralized Medicine

Hello everyone!

I apologize in advance because, being a medical doctor, my technical experience is very limited. However, considering the positive attitude of this community and the potentials of the Terra ecosystem, this could be a good place to express what’s on my mind.

A vast number of dApps (mainly based on DeFi) have been developed across different chains: exchanges, lending platforms, even financial insurance platforms. This is great, and I believe that Terra has some major advantages in considering its direction towards real-life applicability in the current economy (and its minimal fees).
However, I still can’t see significant advances in what probably is the most centralized system and sub-optimized in society, the medical system!
I believe there is a massive potential in this field: decentralized medical insurance, blockchain-based telemedicine and medical payment systems, medical concierge dApps, etc.

What is your view on this topic?
Are you aware of any existing project?
Thank you!!

Digipharm: Don’t know enough details abt the project to explain here but there you go, I’ll let you explore their page: Digipharm Announce Migration To Terra Ecosystem - DIGIPHARM

Why does medicine need to be decentralized?

Thank you very much, I’ll check it out!

I don’t think medicine should be decentralized in general. In some instances, centralization is needed (reference centers for rare pathologies, high volume centers, etc.). However, I believe that a more decentralized approach may favor some aspects.

In particular:

  • Medical insurance is frequently not easily accessible and often extremely expensive. This is particularly true in developing and third-world countries. A mutual, distributed, and down-scaled approach could be beneficial in this setting, as it happened with the concept of “micro-credit”. A mutually managed micro-insurance could mitigate the risk of health-related financial losses that are potentially disastrous for low-income people.

  • Machine learning applications in healthcare are widely spreading. However, the analysis of complex data requires a lot of computational power. This often requires accessing centralized centers that are costly and not easily reachable, especially for minor Institutions and less-developed countries. To date, that’s the principal limit preventing widespread research and real-life adoption of these techniques. An application providing shared computational power and optimizing its use would be a game-changer. Why should I buy a supercomputer if I’m going to use it 1 hour a day? Or why should I pay a costly subscription to a centralized computational server when I am going to use the application 3-4-5 times a day and a total of 10 minutes? A distributed framework where each component shares computational power and uses it only when needed would be a great solution! We already have some proof of concept, but they are far from a real-life application, especially in the medical area.

  • Telemedicine (online consultations, second opinions, referrals, etc.). It’s incredible to see that the main driver of costs concerning telemedicine is not the doctor’s experience or specialization; it’s the Institution and country that provides the service. The same consultation with doctors with comparable experience may cost from 20 to 400 dollars. The majority of costs are dictated by the central government or the Institution itself. Still, I acknowledge that it may be challenging to navigate through Institutional regulations.

  • Privacy and data sharing in medical research. Fortunately, some work is being done in this field. However, we are far from reaching a solution. Regulations are an absolute nightmare, and 40% of clinical and translational research delays are related to this issue.

Of course, I am just trying to lay out some thoughts to see your point!

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Ya the data and perhaps financials surrounding medicine/patients/business. Whatever digital aspscts, blockchain tech useful. Heck a patient file could be an nft. All sorts of things.

Perhaps there is no perfect balance of central/decentral and privacy/open.

Many central repositories of data (hospitals) have been hacked so security and privacy there is really an illusion to some extent. Ransomware and threat of force make it easy to manipulate human actors as we have seen.

Keep in mind, currently all I need is a single hair off your head and I have access to ALL your dna. The movie gattaca clearly demonstrates this. Dna is the true original blockchain. Your bank account is perhaps more secure than your medical data. Publically available dna services could be used using anyone’s identifying personal info (even if fake).

Imagine the coming world where the public profile of you gets public and it contains a false dna sequence that is not actually yours (a deep fake as it were). Eventually we may have to generically prove we are who we are… at every job application. Tie your fake dna to a fake crime but your real name gets attached to it. Scary weird stuff.

Perhaps a blockchain based system makes an NFT of your base identity…? But how is that tied to your dna without a break in the chain of custody?

Big mess of issues in terms of data accuracy for medical research purposes.

Anyway, just rambling out loud…