While everyone in the cryptosphere is talking about the world’s unbanked and underbanked, there also appears to be significant blockchain applications for the world’s uninsured and uncared for – in both developed and developing countries.
One Russian blockchain startup, Robomed, intends to use blockchain technology to create a consumer-facing medical network targeting inefficiencies and red tape that hinders the healthcare industry today.
Issues with contemporary healthcare
Healthcare is the biggest elephant in the room for most developed countries – namely the US. According to Fortune, the US “spends more on healthcare than any other economically comparable country” and consistently sees a mediocre return on their investment. In addition, the exorbitant levels of spending are reflected in healthcare pricing for the individual: an MRI in the US costs four times as much as it does in France. Why?
One word: inefficiency.
In the US, the only healthcare providers that are significantly cheaper than the rest are Medicare and Medicaid, which are both heavily subsidized by government, and consequently beat out the inefficiency through brute force. The average American does not benefit from such programs either, with Medicare only being applicable to those 65 or older, or with significant disabilities.
There’s no incentive for a health industry that’s already so profitable to the providers to innovate. Consumers have no choice but to buy-in to essential services at incredibly high prices. Unlike decision-making when it comes to buying that brand new fridge from Home Depot – healthcare pricing isn’t elastic. Meaning that when you’re told the price of that life-saving surgery, you either cough up the cash or suffer the consequences.
All industries, from construction to food, are looking into how blockchain technology can help optimize processes and increase efficiency – how is Robomed intending to do the same to healthcare? The team from Russia aim to optimize healthcare through a value-oriented approach to medical services that operates through smart contracts.
The defining factor around the Robomed Network is that they are a B2C initiative targeting the average layman – the very demographic that has been entirely disenfranchised from representation in modern healthcare.
Sentiment is one thing, but how does Robomed’s platform intend to help the disenfranchised?
Apparently, they already are. The one-page executive summary boasts that prior to tokenization, Robomed already have 3 software products developed, 20 clinics connected, 1.7 million clients in their database and 2900 clinical guidelines digitized.
Of course, when a blockchain startup is seeking external investment, it’s important to remove any kind of abstraction and perform a qualitative analysis. In Robomed’s case, what function does the smart contract serve in relation to the platform they are developing? CEO of the Robomed Network project, Philipp Mrionovich answers:
“Smart contract in our ecosystem represents medical negotiations between patients and doctors from clinic. The patient does not acquire something unknown but concrete health results. The smart contract consists from a set of clinical recommendations for the treatment where every disease implicates a concrete list of actions”
Next, what does the Robomed token, the RBM, actually do? Where does it derive its value from to incentivize investors to buy-in? The RBM token’s stated utility is two-fold:
- RBM token holders are given the right to vote when determining the value of medical services within the network
- All clinics that are part of the Robomed Network are obligated to accept RBM tokens as payment by any participating client.
From the whitepaper, p. 4.
In effect, the value of the RBM token hinges around the size of the Robomed Network ecosystem – or the team’s ability to assimilate and integrate both consumers (patients) and sellers (clinics and doctors) onto it. If the team can build a consumer-facing system that successfully innovates on current iterations of healthcare, then this is arguably 3/4ths of the battle.
The Robomed presale is running from October 25th to November 15th, with the value of each RBM token varying between 0.000284 to 0.000426 ETH, pending the bonus issuance at the time and date of purchase.
In Crypto Insider’s discussion with the Robomed team, it was stated that the best place to get detailed queries answered on the platform was on their Telegram channel. It’s pleasing to see that Robomed is one of the ICOs that has moved away from the easily-phishable Slack channel.
Time will tell how Robomed’s developments go. But based on the concept alone, the team is hitting a major pain point in the healthcare industry.
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