Fixing Our Broken Healthcare System
Updated: Apr 6, 2022
The American healthcare system is fundamentally broken. Patients and clinical care teams experience this simple truth each and every day. It is an open secret among the entrenched industrial powers that directly profit from its inefficiency. And the suffering among those most impacted is utilized as a rallying cry for reelection in Washington like political clockwork. After decades of effort by impassioned advocates, non-profits, and charities it may seem hopeless that we can even move the needle of progress at all. But when our most valuable asset, human life itself, is on the line we simply cannot accept complacence.
How did we get here? As is widely known and pointed towards, the American system is capitalistic in nature. This means relentless cost-cutting measures (unsafe nursing staff ratios), labor exploitation (resident physicians), misaligned leadership (MBA administrators), lack of adequate training (NP diploma mills), and intense lobbying (Jung v. AAMC). The profit-driven incentive of the healthcare industry drives capital away from preventative medicine and towards high-reimbursement specialist procedures. We do nothing to counter our litigious culture because defensive medicine leads to more imaging which equals more money. Exorbitant costs, medical bankruptcy, poor access to care, and health inequities are just symptoms of the underlying disease.
Beneath the surface, deeply embedded operational complexities resist meaningful change. There exist challenges related to information silos, care fragmentation, administrative bloat, and a public misunderstanding of what is actually needed. Often lost in the noise is the human element of clinician burn-out and patients receiving suboptimal care. The onus to guide transformation has historically been on corporate conglomerates and the federal government. There is little meaningful progress to show for it. Sprinkle a pandemic on top and our healthcare system is being pushed to the brink like never before.
It is time we take matters into our own hands.
In order to reverse decades of institutional decay we need to break down existing barriers to communication and cooperation, realign incentives, and lean into agile, grassroots reform. A ground-up approach directly involving patients and clinicians is necessary for transformation. Recently, a novel method for organization and social scaling called a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) has emerged. The basic premise is this: individuals from anywhere in the world can come together under a shared mission and cooperate over the internet to achieve goals previously not possible— or at least infeasible. Those that contribute to the DAO are rewarded with tokens by other members in proportion to the value they give. These tokens represent voting power on various community initiatives. For example, which project proposals get funded by the DAO treasury or which direction the governance structure should go. An incentive to work is provided by the monetary value tokens have, set by the free market. Treasury funds cannot be transferred or spent without a majority vote by the community. DAOs are fundamentally more democratic, transparent, accessible, and fair than any other organizational structure.
As a collective of clinicians, patients, developers, entrepreneurs, reform advocates, and more we are forming the first healthcare-specific DAO called Medaverse. Our ambitions are high. The Medaverse DAO seeks to rearchitect the way we deliver care in the United States. We fundamentally believe in the principle of decentralization and aim to disintermediate legacy middlemen (insurance companies). We aim to empower the providers that make healthcare possible in ways that maximize safe autonomy and minimize red tape (direct primary care). Our impact improves the lives of those around us by streamlining the patient experience (Web3 technology adoption). We relentlessly strive towards our vision of a more cost-effective, equitable, and scalable healthcare ecosystem.
The beauty of Medaverse DAO is in its diversity of backgrounds and opinions. Much like an organic bazaar is compared to a pre-planned shopping mall, the DAO structure facilitates creative destruction through the natural, and sometimes chaotic, clashing of ideas. We believe that a vibrant community of aligned individuals openly interfacing with medical professionals will result in an abundance of initiatives that make an earnest attempt at meaningful change in American healthcare. There is no rigid hierarchy dictating our direction. Rather, we collectively determine and shape our future. Capital allocation is more in line with the needs of the people as a result. This is the definition of a grassroots movement.
Change cannot happen overnight and we do not expect to immediately solve every problem everyone has with healthcare as it is today. It may even seem unrealistic to expect solutions from an upstart internet community of passionate people that can effectively counter the sclerotic systems of influence and power already in place. Still, we cannot say we did all we could without exploring this new way of working together. So consider this an open invitation to everyone: nurses, physicians, allied health professions, scientists, patients, students, entrepreneurs, designers, writers, developers, whoever. If you have a fire burning in your heart to fight for a better healthcare future then join Medaverse DAO today. Share your voice and leave an impact.
We will forge a new path forward together.