Today we are excited to announce the launch of MedDAO, a project which seeks to to build a new value layer in healthcare.
We envision MedDAO to be just the start of a larger movement in digitally-connected global health: Healthcare 3.0.
What is MedDAO?
MedDAO is a distributed medical knowledge network that will offer an exponentially greater degree of interaction and interconnection between healthcare providers, patients and other stakeholders. These network effects promise to completely transform the way healthcare is delivered on a global scale.
Our mission is to create a decentralized global community and protocol with the primary aim of distributing medical knowledge without boundaries, barriers or intermediaries. Our goal is to drive adoption and awareness of decentralized healthcare, or healthcare 3.0. This goal will be achieved through the collective participation of our community of healthcare providers, patients and industry partners (legal, technology, research, etc.). MedDAO is founded on 3 core values: ownership, accessibility and connectivity.
We believe that web3 provides the mechanisms to overcome or even obviate traditional barriers and obstacles that have entrenched themselves in the healthcare status quo. Today’s medical industry has been built using a walled garden approach, with medical knowledge and data being controlled by massive and inherently centralized corporations, while physicians are increasingly marginalized to the role of mere employee. The healthcare industry continues to become increasingly dysfunctional, delivering inefficient care at skyrocketing costs and little to no transparency.
Web3 has the potential to create a new value layer in healthcare through the application of decentralized mechanisms and authentication using blockchain technology. This will:
Increase confidence for patients, industry participants and physicians when it comes to making important medical decisions.
Increase trust in knowledge through consensus opinions and collective wisdom at scale.
Reduce friction by breaking down existing barriers to access (insurance, geographic, logistic, etc.).
Accelerate innovation by allowing broader and more efficient collaboration amongst physicians, researchers, med-tech and pharma, etc
We also believe that perhaps the biggest opportunity in leveraging blockchain is to put ownership of one’s medical journey back into the hands of individuals:
For Physicians: to reclaim ownership of your practice of medicine (and significantly strengthen your professional relationships).
For Patients: to reclaim ownership of your healthcare journey and participate in a global healthcare community.
For Industry Partners: grow a network of meaningful and strategic relationships through a community with deep medical knowledge and experience.
How does MedDAO work?
The purpose of subDAOs is to organize MedDAO members in a manner that optimizes the DAO’s interactions with patients, researchers, industry, and any other medical knowledge or data seekers. SubDAOs can either be credentialed healthcare providers or aligned MedDAO members. For example, oncological surgeons can form their own credential-required subDAO, using MedCred, to facilitate their own specialty-specific work streams. While we see obvious value in organizing medical practitioners into subDAOs, we also recognize the value for those outside of the professional medical community to organize across medical conditions and effect positive gain with respect to a particular disease or medical diagnosis. For example, breast cancer survivors could also form their own subDAO to act as a digital support group or even allow industries and/or providers to engage with them, to benefit from their collective experiences. In another example, diabetics could self-organize into a subDAO with support from endocrinologists to explore and crowdfund innovative methods of insulin production.
Ultimately, the MedDAO community is empowered to propose and determine the requirements for the creation and membership of a subDAO when creating their proposal to form the subDAO. We envision subDAOs running themselves independently, but also working together when needed to enable collaborative solutions for the questions posed by the community. Each subDAO inherently possesses its own agency and knowledge domains that must be given full autonomy to function optimally. At genesis, we envision subDAOs to be made up of credentialed medical practitioners grouped by sub-specialties per the American Board of Medical Specialties or other healthcare provider classification (ex: Neurosurgery subDAO; ObGyN subDAO; Oncology subDAO,etc.). Membership to the subDAOs will be gated using non-transferable (soulbound) NFTs as credentials (MedCred). These credentials serve as on-chain verification that a medical professional is fully licensed within their particular specialty (more on this below).
Most non-healthcare-provider contributors operate in MedDAO Working groups. They provide services that are key to the success of MedDAO, but which don’t make sense to be “owned” by the subDAOs. Examples of Working groups include Dev Working group (code-related, specifically the translation of clinical protocols and disease or clinical problem-related work streams into code, and thus developers, software engineers, smart contract engineers etc would be key members and core contributors to MedDAO), Ops Working group (onboarding/education, community building & management, admin), Go-to-market Working group (outreach, partnerships, etc).
Initially, the protocol in development which forms a basic primitive for interaction with MedDAO as an entity is termed the “knowledge request” (KR). In this design, any entity, from the individual to the large corporation, research consortium, or government agency, may submit a “request for knowledge” to the DAO, where it is subsequently analyzed and routed to the appropriate subDAO (or subDAOs) who’s constituency possess the specialty-specific expertise pursuant to the nature of the request. The request can take the form of anything from a broad consultancy engagement involving a cohort of specialists and potentially spanning a weeks to months time horizon, to a discreet, focused technical question that could be answered by a single specialist. The complexity and nature of the request defines the required amount of payment necessary to execute the request. Once this amount is staked, the work within the subDAO is taken up, and upon completion returned to the requester. The payment token is released into the treasury of the subDAO.
Primacy of the Sub-DAO
We believe that empowering the subDAOs within MedDAO not only allows MedDAO to function optimally, but it also creates alignment and a team-oriented structure for the subDAO members. We believe this will create high resiliency and a strong sense of belonging. To underscore this, we have allowed the members of each subDAO complete control of the treasury generated through knowledge requests and additional use cases that are directed through that subDAO, (although a portion of each subDAO’s earnings will be allocated to MedDAO’s treasury to provide continuous support and enable future innovation for the DAO). Our intention is that this model will foster a sense of shared purpose and incentivize a regenerative approach to payment token utilization. For example, a subDAO could vote to direct accumulated financial resources to a particular research initiative or charitable organization that is specific or relevant to their specialty.
While development is underway on the KR, it represents but one of many possible use cases for the MedDAO protocol, the majority of which is intended to be developed by the MedDAO community itself. One could envision novel processes for NFT-gated peer review and on-chain scientific publication. The call for open access to scientific research is not a new one, but relatively little progress has been made on this front. There are avenues for decentralized research initiatives. MedDAO will have obvious utility as a peer-to-peer network amongst physicians and other providers for frictionless interactions and collaborations. For non-clinicians, the ability to use MedDAO’s organizational structure to form support or awareness groups with global scale could be particularly impactful. Experiential, subjective medical experience could certainly be a desired resource and distributed through the protocol in a similar manner to medical knowledge.
Although patient interaction is not the first implementation of the KR module, given the regulatory and legal hurdles implicit in the application, we believe it does an excellent job demonstrating the potential of Healthcare 3.0. Most would agree that many significant medical decisions can be some of the most important and impactful decisions we make. Yet in today's medical world patients typically receive one or perhaps two medical or surgical opinions before embarking on a course of action. As the KR module grows in scope and complexity, and with the advent of government regulatory steps permitting patients to access their digital medical record through API’s, we expect patients to be able submit their diagnostic results and medical data to one (or multiple) subDAOs to receive medical opinions at scale. Out of this arises a new kind of trust between patients and the medical community, strengthening patients’ resolve around which treatment to proceed with based on overall consensus of the subDAO.
Since its inception, the internet has been funded through appropriation of our own data. Platforms like Instagram, LinkedIn, Google, and Doximity have thrived off the monetization of their users' data. Yet web3 promises to engender a fundamental shift in data ownership, enabling users to control how their data is appropriated, and to be compensated for usage of that data. MedDAO anticipates the utility of functioning as a “baseplate” upon which an application layer can be built, one in which users can fully control how their health data is utilized, and granting them the ability to claim the revenue generated by their own data.
A primary mission of MedDAO is to coordinate public good in healthcare, and as we form a coordinated, globally connected medical knowledge distribution network, we recognize that there will be vast opportunities to direct that medical knowledge to places and communities where healthcare is underrepresented, severely lacking, or non-existent. Thus we aim to operate as an Impact DAO, using a portion of the funds generated through the platform and the protocol to more equitably deliver healthcare resources on a global scale. Closely aligned with these concepts are the novel mechanisms MedDAO can provide in the arena of medical education. One can envision subDAO’s organizing educational events, seminars, and workshops, utilizing the metaverse to make these accessible to global audiences. As knowledge requests flow through the DAO and consensus opinions are recorded through on-chain voting mechanisms, a natural data repository will organically develop, with opportunities to analyze and learn from the output of this ever-evolving global healthcare organism.
Central to the MedDAO platform is the ability to verify each physician’s credentials as licensed medical practitioners, as well as his or her specialist certification. This is no small task, yet it is an important one. Self-sovereign identity and ownership on one’s online or on-chain identity is becoming increasingly relevant as concepts such as the “soul-bound token” or SBT gain more traction and interest. MedDAO believes that the physician of the (not too distant) future will possess an on-chain representation of his/her professional identity. At the most basic level this involves the concept of non-transferable tokens that verify medical licensure, but in the future will involve much more, such as proof of attendance participation POAPs demonstrating attendance of specialty educational seminars, national meetings, speaking invitations and abstract presentations, as well as NFTs signifying completion of training on an innovative surgical device or technique. The credentialing NFT is essential to MedDAO’s architecture, as it permits access/entry to the specialty specific subDAOs. The MedDAO platform will, as part of the initial physician onboarding structure, verify each physicians licensure and medical specialty board certification, and issue these NFTs, which we have termed MedCreds so as to create some semantic separation from the term NFT, which could conjure a less professional connotation. In reality, the MedCred is much more akin to an SBT than an NFT.
If you are a physician or healthcare provider
For physicians and healthcare providers this is a call to action. If web3 had a pager system we would use it! This is a call to become involved in something that is admittedly a departure from the traditional practice of medicine, where increasingly competency models, feedback tools, and rigid career paths replace our personal interests and passions with rote actions and behaviors. MedDAO seeks to reorient your professional arc back to where it began: a love for the practice of the art and science of medicine. We do this through shared ownership, where leadership can emerge from wherever or whomever decides to manifest an idea, proposal or initiative. You control the direction of MedDAO’s growth, you guide the refinement of its use cases and protocols. MedDAO seeks to embrace your particular pattern of expertise, based on your unique physician journey, and help channel it into contribution.
For physicians and healthcare providers we offer an opportunity to organize into what we describe as a collective healthcare organism, a digitally enabled entity which at its most basic function receives and responds. The organizational structure of MedDAO is predicated on the notion that medical knowledge domains align themselves most efficiently along the organ systems of the human body, and as such MedDAO will be comprised of a series of sub-DAO’s corresponding to medical subspecialties, which will be given autonomy in their function and agency, just as the organ systems in the human body function. Collectively the organism emerges from these independently operating yet symbiotic systems.
If you are not a physician or healthcare provider (but still interested and we hope you are!)
If you are not a physician or healthcare provider your involvement and contribution in MedDAO is absolutely essential! Perhaps you are someone who has a personal connection to the medical world, either through a health experience of your own or through that of a loved one. Through those experiences you have gained experiential medical knowledge, and we believe that that knowledge can be organized and distributed in a positively impactful way. By aligning and organizing around medical conditions, we can direct resources and expertise toward novel technological and methodological solutions that will return positive externalities across the entire spectrum of health. Perhaps you simply vibe strongly with the concepts and ideas here. Either way, if you are reading this chances are you have some skill set that can be of tremendous value as we build MedDAO. Like any DAO there are many roles and many ways to contribute and “join the movement”. We have already identified many of these roles and work streams in our Discord (link). Simply put, MedDAO seeks to connect physician and non-physician members through shared ownership and mutually aligned purpose to create a better world.
Ultimately, MedDAO seeks to create a global collective healthcare organism, with millions of physician and non-physician members and stakeholders. To accomplish this lofty goal will require the large majority of that constituency to be onboarded into the world of web3. This will be no small task, and we readily acknowledge this. For MedDAO as a platform, as a protocol and even simply as a DAO to function, its users must become not just comfortable, but facile with a host of technologies and concepts that may be at this moment foreign to them. Members must hold digital wallets to custodian cryptographic tokens, must be able to carry out transactions with those tokens on digital exchanges, as well as utilize them to gain access to certain areas of the DAO and participate in voting and governance mechanisms. Without these basic functions the DAO simply cannot function. We anticipate at the outset there will be two distinct groups of physicians: a relatively small group of what we will describe as “web3 native” physicians, and the much larger cohort of “web3 naive” physicians. To the web3 native physicians, we would say “Your time has come”. You will necessarily be MedDAO’s genesis members, and we readily acknowledge much will be asked of you in the launch and subsequent stewardship phase of this project. You will be the leaders, the explorers, the guideposts on this journey. You will no doubt be founding members of Sub-DAOs, the first to create proposals, the first to refine and revise the protocol. This is your call to action to create Healthcare 3.0.
To the second group, those without prior experience in web3, core to MedDAO’s mission is to educate and to guide your onboarding into this space. One of our earliest initiatives will be “Web3 Med School”, an educational series specifically geared to the healthcare professional, allowing you to learn about the world of blockchain, cryptocurrency, NFTs and DAOs in a way that relates particularly to the application of these concepts within healthcare, medicine, and the scientific community in general. Indeed the burgeoning field of Decentralized Science, or DeSci, is closely aligned to the overall mission of MedDAO, and we expect close collaboration with the existing pioneers in this space.
Why MedDAO is not offering direct patient care (yet)
Ultimately, we believe that MedDAO and healthcare 3.0 will spur society to fundamentally re-examine the concept of the patient-doctor relationship. As we move toward hybridization of care delivery models, integrating in-person and virtually enabled care, so too will digitally enabled care itself follow along a similar evolution, particularly with respect to DAOs, where leveraging digital coordination and consensus mechanisms allows the unlocking of a central utility of these organizations, that of network effects. In this framework, a patient may be able to have a clinical problem evaluated or opined on by hundreds or even thousands of physicians with expertise specific to the particular problem. Protocols to synthesize and extract data from patients PHI will allow clinical questions to be packaged and delivered to large networks of physicians, where simultaneous review and consensus opinions can be derived and codified using blockchain technology. In this paradigm, a novel relationship emerges, that of the patient-DAO relationship. In this relationship, the patient knows that he/she is receiving medical expertise from many physicians at once (theoretically it could be thousands or hundreds of thousands), who all have had their credentials verified through decentralized identity protocols as discussed above, and yet the patient may not know the identities of any of those physicians. It is important to note that this patient-DAO relationship, is not serving to supplant/undermine or obviate an existing physician-patient relationship but offers rather to support, enhance and strengthen those existing relationships; a new value layer.
Yet we are not there now. We simply do not know what the medico-legal implications are when care delivery exists in a distributed, decentralized environment because they have yet to be defined. We must be careful to respect existing laws and geographic restrictions on patient care in their present form.
Simply put, there will be much to learn, and much to do. The protocol is nascent yet its use cases are vast. The opportunity is profound. The future of global healthcare will be decentralized, accessible and interconnected in ways we are just beginning to grasp. That future is certainly one we are excited to see.
We hope you will join us on this journey. (https://linktr.ee/meddao)