“Mr. Rosenberg,” the young, female voice on the phone said, “I got your number from my brother, _____. (One of the sons from the Omega Ambulance Service), and I’d like to have a discussion with you.”
I was about to ask “About what?” but the odds were very high that this was not a discussion to be conducted where Sauron was listening, and so I set it up at my usual place for such things, Jay’s Bar. I ended up meeting her about a week later.
As I walked in, I saw a very pretty young lady watching for me. She walked up, introduced herself (I’ll just call her Dorie) and we found a quiet spot to sit. I felt a bit uncomfortable at first – I didn’t want to look like a desperate old guy having a drink with his “niece” – but as soon as we started talking, that faded away.
Dorie, as it happened, was a bright and thoughtful young woman.
“Look, Mr. Rosenberg,” she began, “you see the same things I do. The practice of medicine in America has become a disaster, and the quality of care, from a practical standpoint, has plummeted.”
I knew exactly what she meant. When people have a problem, they wait weeks or months for an appointment. Then, when they get there, it’s likely that that the doc will do nothing but give them a referral to some sort of specialist, and they’ll wait further weeks or months. And even then it’s even money whether the specialist can do much for them.
The alternative is the Emergency Room, with long waits, mostly palliative treatments, and another referral. Plus crazy bills, of course.
I went on about that for some time (I had a neighbor who died while waiting for treatment). She nodded appropriately and then continued.
“There needs to be some sort of independent ombudsman… some sort of guide to the system, so people can get the care they need, without being stuck in the regulatory and corporate maze.”
She was entirely correct, of course – and I was surprised at the depth of a young woman’s vocabulary – but I still didn’t understand what she was proposing.
“Dorie, what exactly are you seeing as a solution to this mess?”
“Well, we started by looking at the Direct Primary Care people (private doctors you pay monthly and can see as you wish). But those people, while they are playing an important role, are also licensed doctors, and so are kept within very tight bounds.”
“Yes, of course.” Then I waited for her to go on.
“What we want is some kind of service that guides people through the process… what I mean is…” Then she pulled a piece of paper from her purse and handed it to me. It said this, more or less:
- A person has symptoms. They also have one or more physicians with whom they have a relationship, or an approval from an insurance company.
- Depending upon the symptoms, we can save them a great deal of time and pain by guiding them (for example), to private labs, where they can get specific tests done first, cutting out a good deal of time. (Blood levels of X, Y, Z, etc.).
- They can take those test results and hand them to the doctor permitted to them, which will get them directly to the care they need.
- The same can be done in a hundred ways, but people need guidance… and we need a network of professionals, labs, private doctors, and so on.
- Problem: The corporations that paid for Obamacare won’t like this, and will get friendly prosecutors to go after us for practicing medicine without a license.
“This makes perfect sense,” I told her, “but how will you deliver this to people?”
She smiled. “We’re building an AI program. It’ll simply be called How To Go To The Doctor.”
I sat there for a moment in silence. I’ve not been the biggest fan of AI, but this, assuming that it worked, would be a terrific service to the world… and particularly to Americans.
Finally I laughed, and she smiled again. “You like it?”
“I love it! And you think it will really work?”
“I do,” she said, “we already have it running on a test net.”
I sat there for a minute, mostly just enjoying the idea.
“Then what can I do for you?” I asked.
What she needed was information on structuring the whole thing to avoid attacks from the usual monopolists. And there I could help. I explained how they could set up a DAO to own and run it, that they could accept Bitcoin (Lightning) and Monero for subscription fees, and gave them the names of some physicians and med lab people who weren’t system drones.
It was funny, but I flashed back to the 1970s during this last part, and even said, “It’ll be fine with these guys, they’re cool.” Calling someone cool, at that time, meant that they wouldn’t rat you out.
So, there you have it. My little meeting concluded nicely and Dorie went on her way. I hope to hear about her How To Go To The Doctor DAO before long.
* As regular readers know, stories set in Jay’s Bar are fictional, though sometimes (or partly) based upon real people and events.
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