by Aniruddha Sen
There is no doubt that the healthcare industry has been in need of a significant overhaul. The pandemic tested every institution’s abilities, and as normalcy returns, we find costs skyrocketing and a range of frustrated patients. Access to quality care is the need of the hour. And while Web 2.0 laid the foundation for the digitisation of healthcare, its efforts have simply not been enough.
A lengthy lockdown accelerated the arrival of several technologies that major Web 2.0 players in the healthcare industry were championing. Several platforms looking to connect medical centres with patients rapidly rose. However, all these facilities looked at the sick as only a source of income. The focus was on centralising information, meant to benefit other shareholders by providing invaluable patient data. The rights of the patients themselves were disregarded.
Patients, too, were forced to depend on companies to have the generosity to not take advantage of the data available or amend privacy rules. Most Web 2.0 organisations have failed to live up to this expectation. Be it listing the current ailments we may be suffering from or attempting to trace our ancestry, we no longer expect companies to actually honour our privacy.
It is with this regard that Web 3.0 promises to be a real game-changer.
A Primary Diagnosis: Understanding Web 3.0
As we know it today, Web 3.0 promises to be the next generation of the internet, revolutionising the healthcare industry by decentralising providers and facilitating access to artificial intelligence insights. In my opinion, it poses the potential to make healthcare patient-centric again by adding an invaluable layer of ease and security to healthcare services across the world. It will tear away from the archaic perspective that patients are nothing more than a source of revenue and help prioritise their needs.
Web 3.0 And Decentralisation
One of Web 3.0’s most significant offerings is that it focuses on individuals rather than centralised companies. This allows patients and people to interact with doctors without giving up control of their personal information. Medical information is considered intensely personal, and traditional companies have never respected the patients’ privacy apprehensions. This is bound to change.
Complete Control For Patients
Along with extensive control over their health data, individuals can receive personalised recommendations and insights through Artificial Intelligence(AI). With an era of cut-and-paste solutions becoming popular in the internet age, AI can provide everyone with the individualised care they deserve.
Protection For Providers, Access For Patients
The pandemic acted as a game-changer for individuals who may be unable to access quality healthcare. Similarly, Web 3.0 can protect providers by reducing their need to visit particularly risky sites and providing online assistance. This can be particularly useful in the occurrence of another pandemic or a significant public health threat. Web 3.0 brings with it several advancements in telehealth technology, thus making quality care accessible across borders.
Saving Up On Expenses
Finally, Web 3.0 promises to reduce costs for patients by making healthcare far more data-driven. We have already seen its impact at Kenko Health, where we have been able to make online consultations, laboratory tests, and medicine delivery far more affordable due to reduced expenses. Web 3.0 allows us to push Kenko Health’s offerings even further, truly standing at the precipice of technology and healthcare.
With The Rewards Come The Risks
Every revolution we have had in the healthcare space has come with its share of risks. Just like its predecessors, Web 3.0 poses its share of data security and privacy concerns. Furthermore, individuals themselves must understand what exactly they are sharing their data for.
In the age of decentralisation, interoperability will no doubt pose another significant challenge. Information will need to be easily transferred from one application to another, and common languages and formats must be established. Until then, Web 3.0 may be no different from the early days of the Internet.
As one of India’s only digital-first healthcare cover providers, we have always been excited by the potential new-age technology provides. Web 3.0 promises unimaginable forays into the domain of patient privacy and places them in a far more central role, but it also comes with its share of challenges. What remains to be seen is how the healthcare industry reacts to a potentially game-changing tool and the degree of acceptance new ideas and solutions receive.
Aniruddha Sen, Co-Founder at Kenko Health
(DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and ETHealthworld does not necessarily subscribe to it. ETHealthworld.com shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person / organisation directly or indirectly.)
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