Unlocking the value of healthcare in the Metaverse

The power of the internet is only matched by its increasing global accessibility. In 2020, 4.9 billion individuals had access to the internet which, increased by 17% from 2019 (Francis, 2021). It is no wonder that Metaverse technology, which has the promise of moving internet users from a 2D experience to an immersive 3D experience is projected to grow to a $1,803 billion market cap by 2030 (Accumen Research and Consulting, 2022). The Metaverse is often conceptualized as the internet experienced through virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) glasses, sometimes imagined as a digital experience blending virtual and real worlds in which participants use digital identities to interact with people, places, or anything which can be imagineered (Yang et al., 2022). Health, wellness, and its connected systems of training and care are natural markets that will benefit greatly as Metaverse applications unfold. In this article we will discuss; the impact on medical provider training and care delivered, incentives to wellness through wearables and Internet of Things (IoT) technology, and the benefits to using blockchain technology in Healthcare data systems.

Enhanced learning to enhanced global community practice

Artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality…all trending buzzwords which are ushering in an age of enhanced learning. Medical providers surf the heart valves and blood flow of the body during medical school before showing patients where calciferous deposits and faulty valves are found within the patients cardiovascular systems (Skalidis et al., 2022). Surgeons practice and complete complex surgery remotely using VR and robotics technology a thousand miles away from the actual surgery (Zeng et al., 2022). Psychiatric staff and therapists use programs that simulate the auditory hallucinations of schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder before treating a single patient (Dincelli & Yayla, 2022). Lung cancer screenings utilizing artificial intelligence to scan radiology slides in China lowered the age at which patients underwent surgical treatment from 63 years of age to 50 over the course of six years (Yang et al., 2022). The Metaverse will provide an opportunity for providers, both learning and skilled, to experience in-depth and highly accurate data through VR or holograms to turn, manipulate, and find solutions even before the patient travels in person to the clinic for treatment.

Human contact in many systems of care is vital, however, the best treatment does not always come locally or even regionally. The idea of a ‘cloud specialist’ who can evaluate and devise treatment with a patient through the Metaverse promises greater efficiency and efficacy of treatment. Cloud experts can devise a treatment plan which then can be executed by a local or regional team to a more effective standard of care than the patient might receive otherwise (Chavannes & Bai, 2022; Yang et al., 2022). The result is more effective and efficient care for the greater population, especially in rural areas. Increased services and standardized collection of the data promise a better understanding of how the least served in our society are treated. Perhaps one day a global standard of care based on academic and evidence-based practice could form a basis for the highest quality of VR/AR learning systems instilling the most effective doctors in positions to treat the global population to the highest benefit.

Incentives for wellness

Smart contracts, the Internet of Things, tokenized economies and wearables are revolutionizing how fitness and wellness are tracked and how they will be incentivized by the healthcare industry in the future. Prescribed weight loss logs and exercise can be tracked and incentivized for services, goods, and rewards (Thomason, 2022). Other examples include Medication compliance, teeth brushing, and walking can be prescribed, authenticated then incentivized (Garavand & Aslani, 2022). Treatment providers can use comprehensive tracking data discovered through wearables to alter treatment plans on the spot or prescribe variations in the prescribed doses. Isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic affected geriatric and homebound populations resulting in increased levels of depression in those communities (Dincelli & Yayla, 2022). VR and AR technology provide an avenue for social wellness and community through Metaverse interaction in games, with artificial intelligence or peers (Dincelli & Yayla, 2022). Internet of Things devices, AR and VR open up a new opportunity for those who are isolated or feel as if they have an altered social experience to connect to others how they want to connect, and how they want to be perceived. Indeed, wearables that allow patients to track their health experiences and provide further data and documentation for doctors incentivize the patient’s compliance and provide an avenue for more effective care (Shi et al., 2020; Yang et al., 2022).

Blockchain based systems of care

Building electronic health networks data processing systems onto blockchain technology provides several advantages compared to the current system. Blockchain technology allows for greater availability of shared data across global decentralized storage, immutable because it is recorded on a number of servers, and accessible globally (Corte-Real et al., 2022). Providers may access data universally wherever they are physically located as long as they have access to the Internet, reducing the occurrences of duplicated health records. Currently, Americans will generate over 18 unique medical records during their lifetime with their health information scattered, fragmented, and mismatched over service providers, hospitals, pharmacies, insurance companies, and government programs(Al-Marridi et al., 2021; Shuaib et al., 2022). Security, traceability, authenticity, and transparency are improved as cryptographic mechanisms provide pseudo-anonymity to patients. Further, all action taken on the official blockchain-based electronic health record may be signed by accessing providers, un-deletable, and accessible at all times to the patient (Al-Marridi et al., 2021; Shi et al., 2020). Researchers could have access granted to analyze vast stores of pseudo-anonymous data and provide optimized hospital flow and treatments.

A new virtual age

A techno-social transformation is unfolding in front of our eyes, in which social connection and transactions occur globally irrespective of physical location, governed only by the availability, speed, and power of a person’s internet. Healthcare providers enhance interaction in this new virtual age through; learning and practicing the best treatments through augmented reality settings, teaching patients through these settings, and providing treatment and coordination of care as cloud-based specialists. The Internet of Things and wearables provide new insights into patient compliance, and can further incentivize wellness behaviors. Blockchain-based electronic health systems provide a transparent health record accessible to the patient and treatment provider in addition to enhanced security, immutability, and decentralized storage solutions. The Metaverse serves as a nexus in a new movement towards globalized social interaction and transactions. Healthcare advancements in the age of the Metaverse will simultaneously empower the individual to understand what goes on in their own body as well as provide opportunities for populations to access more efficient and effective healthcare providers and systems.

Itheum looks to transform all industries, and the health sector is one that will play a monumental role for future generations. Revolutionary partnerships with health projects like SanoPass Metaverse, and Sense4FIT, Itheum, are introducing its flagship Metaverse Healthcare Passport to the world. This passport will allow users worldwide to truly own and trade their health data in the Metaverse healthcare world, which is already being built and developed behind the scenes. Thus opening up infinite possibilities for their users and community to earn further from “being healthy” by owning and trading their health data.

Itheum, and the global transmission of knowledge

As the world’s first decentralized, cross-chain data brokerage technology platform, Itheum seeks to be the medium which will convert a person, organization or communitys’ data into a valid, secure and anonymous data asset. Principal applications of Itheum’s technology in the healthcare metaverse are numerous as its role as a data verifier, aggregator and exchange conduit give it the potential of becoming a library of global knowledge and behavior.

Itheum looks to transform all industries, and the health sector is one that will play a monumental role for future generations. Revolutionary partnerships with health projects like SanoPass Metaverse, and Sense4FIT, Itheum, are introducing its flagship Metaverse Healthcare Passport to the world. This passport will allow users worldwide to truly own and trade their health data in the Metaverse healthcare world, which is already being built and developed behind the scenes. Thus opening up infinite possibilities for their users and community to earn further from “being healthy” by owning and trading their health data.

Healthcare networks and organizations could purchase or rent data to mark interorganizational, regional or global trends in the goal of aligning and improving outcomes. Teaching hospitals can use video data NFTs in teachings and trainings and track performance metrics of students to match against global data aggregates.

Data tracking through wearables can affirm health and wellness behaviors in a treatment plan and then sold by the data generator as a Data NFT on the Itheum data marketplace. Instruments within health care facilities which have internet connectivity can be paired to Itheum based data adapters to track data internally for practice or as part of a plan to sell data to governments or researchers.

As Healthcare systems move to greater accessibility, immutability, and security for healthcare data and electronic health records, Itheum can serve as a partner to help these entities in their transition to blockchain based systems of care. The true value of Itheum in a virtual age is reflected in what has been important for humanity in every age, knowledge, data, and transmission of that information to others. Societies are built upon transmission of historical data, and in a new global era…global data will be accessible, immutable, and secure for anyone with access to the internet.

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As we enter the web3 and metaverse era; Itheum unlocks data silos and generates new value for your data.