In the United States and beyond, healthcare has become one of the controversial fields of our time. From prohibitive costs to the pitfalls of a profit-driven model, the industry seems less geared to patients’ well-being than ever. Can Web3 address some of today’s pressing issues in medicine? A panel of experts joined Roundtable to talk bioethics and the future of NFTs in healthcare and medicine. In this segment, they discuss regulatory and cultural hurdles to monetizing personal medical data in a Web3 world.
One of the blockchain’s promises for healthcare is the ability allow individuals to regain control over their personal data. But Marielle Gross notes that such a shift requires structures that don’t currently exist: current market incentives favor monetizing data at scale.
“There's this great theory that if we give you a copy of your records and say, now you too, can you too can monetize this, but the unit economics are such that the institution is already able to monetize it at scale,” she explains. “All of those companies who want access to that data are getting it deeply discounted. Their access to your records is pennies on the dollar. So what incentive do they have to transact with you as an individual?”
Chrissa McFarlane observes, however, that some mechanisms already exist for patients to regain control over their medical records.
“Hospital systems are required to give patients access to their information, and we're already seeing fines for this. There has to be cumulative effort across stakeholders, including policymakers and government. We've had electronic medical record systems who are essentially the data brokers lobby against this for years, because they think that people don't need to know or have access to their information, because we're not going to do anything with it,” she says.
“A mindset change needs to happen, and a lot of this is through regulation. We see it as an opening of a marketplace, where it's a level playing field.”
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Watch the full discussion below:
Chrissa McFarlane, Founder & CEO, Patientory
Marielle Gross, Bioethics Professor, University of Pittsburgh
Kristin Kostick-Quenet, Professor, Baylor College of Medicine
Jane Thomason, Chairperson, Kasei Holdings