DeFi and Healthcare: An Untapped Opportunity

Blockchain, News, Opinion | November 23, 2020 By:

This year has quickly become the year of DeFi with the topic dominating the crypto sphere and much of the news cycle. The recent growth in the decentralized finance market combined with the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated a real hunger for an intersection of the two. Here, DeFi has an opportunity to play a role in achieving better patient outcomes and increased quality of care, and it’s an opportunity worth exploring. 

As the reality of living alongside COVID-19 sets in, we are witnessing the digital transformation of healthcare as providers and practitioners move online in a bid to limit the spread of the virus and better cater to their patients. While so much of the pandemic still remains unknown, one thing is certain, this pandemic is changing the way medicine is practiced. And, with telehealth consultations projected to climb to 1 billion by the end of 2020 in the US alone, virtual doctor appointments are here to stay. As a result, there has been a huge surge in how emerging technologies such as AI and blockchain can be used as a valuable resource to help achieve better patient outcomes and an increase in the overall quality of patient care. 

While DeFi is being touted as blockchain’s ‘killer app’, there has been little talk of the integration of DeFi and healthcare, even with many other industries reaping the benefits of the technology. However, when applied with the right set of skills and expertise, DeFi presents a huge market opportunity for healthcare solutions. 

Providing people with easier and more affordable access to healthcare is a primary example of where DeFi can be used. Its sheer ability to remove the existing barriers between patients and affordable healthcare, positions it as one of the most valuable technologies for the industry to date. For example, due to the pandemic, there has been an increase in the demand for remote medical devices for monitoring patients who may not be able to visit a healthcare facility. With an estimated four million patients monitoring their health conditions remotely (RPM), it poses the question, who is funding this? With no one institution providing accessible finance for remote patient monitoring (RPM) services, there is a need to create an ecosystem where both practitioners and patients can access a simple financing solution for medical monitoring devices. The latest proposal by CMS is designed to support increased usage of RPM services which will increase the need for 4G medical monitoring devices, however, these devices need to be funded first before physicians are reimbursed. Not only can the funds raised be used for this purpose, but they can be distributed across a range of verticals from funding medical research to purchasing patient prescriptions. 

The world needs a global DeFi standard for healthcare that patients, doctors, institutions, and insurers can all mutually benefit from. For the best possible outcome, the model should be based on a community-driven, community-governed ecosystem. This empowers the many stakeholders in healthcare, like patients and doctors to get directly involved and have a greater say in healthcare projects that deserve to be funded. There is an urgent need to disrupt the status quo, by building a mutually beneficial, decentralized ecosystem where healthcare providers are better placed to provide the best possible care for their patients. This structure has the potential to serve as the new

industry norm, where more DeFi projects can be built upon to raise funds for other areas such as medical research, medical malpractice insurance, and in-facility and patient medical device monitoring finance. With the third wave of the pandemic already underway, DeFi presents an opportunity for the healthcare industry to get ahead of the curve by removing inefficiencies and providing accessible care for all. The opportunity for better healthcare has arrived, and it’s ours for the taking.