Web1, Web2, Web3 and Counting: Addressing Healthcare Challenges

28 Jul, 2022
06:15 min read

Which framework is the key to significant improvement of the established, but outworn healthcare industry? Find out in new column on Hackernoon by DeHealth’s CEO Denys Tsvaig.

In the very beginning, the Internet was a free space where anyone could communicate. As time flew by, it started showing signs of monopolization: a common tendency for any economic environment. Big tech companies (Google, Facebook, Amazon) gradually took over various aspects of the global network, making it harder to launch new initiatives.

Web3, a New Global Network Frontier

Today, the foundation called to bring decentralized Internet back to life is known as Web3. In short, Web1 was about linking information and getting it to the internet. Web2 is about bringing people together and empowering social interaction. Under Web2 many more people got to the global network due to simplified access to applications and services.

Web3 is currently in its active development stage. Its founders believe in the following:

  • Users, not corporations, own and control their data.
  • Relations between platforms and users get more micro-oriented.
  • Global digital transactions are secure, confidential, and flexible.
  • Creators, who monetize their content via subscribers, are more personalized.
  • Online exchanges of information and value are decentralized.

In Web2 ecosystems, market infrastructure is created by the platform providers. Conversely, in Web3, platforms are not given by third parties. They are placed in a decentralized ecosystem where users enjoy full control of their data. No gatekeepers are deciding who can participate, and censorship is nearly impossible.

Scalability is a primary issue for decentralized systems as there is no central authority to boost network performance. However, the problem is mitigated with tokens that serve to manage market activities. Producers may be interested in bringing an offer to a platform early in exchange for tokens that grow in value along with market activity growth. Similarly, developers of market infrastructure may be interested in the creation of main infrastructure components in exchange for tokens. Tokens provide a new stimulus that was not available in Web2.

In Web3, network effects are employed much less, due to data transferability combined with the functional compatibility of technologies. Even if Web3 ecosystems generate network effects faster, they can’t capture users or get additional value from user data (as it used to be done in Web2). Web3 ecosystems have to consider participants not only at the market level, but at the levels of infrastructure, financing, and management. Web3’s commercial protocol has to do the following:

  • Create market infrastructure around the protocol on the infrastructure level.
  • Manage token liquidity to stimulate financing as well as tokens’ value growth (which gives stimulus to participants) on the funding level.
  • Apart from the initial team, adjust participants’ scalability on the management level.

The mission of Web3 is to “nurture cutting-edge applications for decentralized web software protocols.” Unsurprisingly, a decentralized and fair Internet where people own their data, identity, and life may benefit various industries, including healthcare.

Web3 Solutions to Healthcare Challenges

Currently, digitalization is a sustainable trend in the healthcare world. The global digital health market has dramatically grown since COVID-19 and is predicted to expand by over 20% in the next years. No wonder new technology is being implemented by big pharma and hospitals. However, as the cost of a mistake in healthcare is high, companies operating in the industry face multiple challenges.

Such as:

1. Security of data transfer and storage
Medical data and patient history are often disorganized, and thus cannot be reproduced cohesively. Therefore, doctors are forced to deal with several (3 to 5 on average) different systems at the time. Blockchain offers a security solution: its traceability is a perfect fit for implementing electronic medical records, remote patient monitoring, etc.

2. Complex, lengthy data verification process
Medical decision support systems and other products are time-consuming and require significant initial investments. Remote medicine saves time for patients and physicians, making the services provided more physically and financially accessible.

3. Quality of medical data.
Accurate medical data is highly valuable for research institutions when developing pharmacological businesses, new treatment protocols, etc. The process of getting data is often painful: companies tend to receive unreliable information leading to the creation of, for example, low-quality drugs. On the other hand, people whose data is being sold cannot monetize it as there is no infrastructure for this. Data tokenization is a possible solution. If all medical data from patient records, tests, and vitals collected by medical gadgets are tokenized, it turns information into a reliable asset for all parties involved.

4. Limited access to medical data.
Health information is often scattered among different systems and cannot be easily retrieved. Therefore, the solution is laying in a single place to store all medical information of a patient: data on doctor’s visits, tests, information from medical gadgets, etc. The place must be always available no matter where the patient is. It facilitates doctors’ actions in crucial moments when it is necessary to access a medical history to make an accurate diagnosis and prescribe the right treatment.

Web3 has the potential to provide more ways to analyze and create context around medical data. For example, there is a concept of personalized care based on a digital twin who might have similar health data. AI can analyze tons of genetic information and health data from many people through the blockchain. Doctors can not only have the patient’s medical history but have AI looking at similar people and what has already worked for them. All the time data remains private, encrypted, anonymous, and immutable, meaning that it stays on the blockchain and can’t be edited.

Also, blockchain offers a way to solve the aforementioned challenges through data tokenization. It can ensure security by replacing sensitive data with non-sensitive values. Patients can sell their tokenized anonymous data by transferring it to insurance companies or companies conducting clinical trials as NFT tokens that keep information about a specific disease. The more people enter the system, the more data and new tokens appear. In addition, patients can monetize their depersonalized data by making it available for use by third parties.

Web3 makes it possible to create decentralized platforms that collect and structure medical assets from patients, acting as a reliable source for data verification, storage, further transfer, and sale on the marketplace. Blockchain-based healthcare solutions are designed to improve scalability, security, and other data limitations so that billions of people can depend on them for their healthcare needs.

Conclusion

Even though Web3 is still under development, it has already shown its impact on multiple spheres of human life. Decentralized platforms provide the perfect environment for solutions that streamline complicated processes.

In healthcare, data tokenization is a perfect example of ensuring security, simplified verification, and accessibility of personal medical information. There are a lot of options to purchase fungible and non-fungible tokens. And there are also opportunities to earn them. As an example — DeHealth App, AI & MedicalData-Based Mobile App (decentralized application). It is an app that allows users to securely and autonomously store their medical data, share, manage and monetize it using the DHLT token, supporting their health while selling their anonymized data.

That’s the way tokens can unite all decentralized network’s participants for achieving a common goal — the network’s growth and token value increase, eliminating the main obstacle of centralized networks where value is accumulated by only one participant. In these cases, the network, sooner or later, ends up fighting its own customers, users and/or partners.

This is exactly how Web3 offers a new way that combines the best aspects of previous Internet eras.

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