A group of TikTok- and Instagram-famous physicians say they have a solution for the “red tape” of the current medical system: NFTs of cartoon doctors.
These NFTs, called MetaDocs, are supposed to give buyers access to real doctors, almost like a Web3 telehealth subscription. When MetaDocs launched in December, it claimed that its legion of celebrity doctors, who have a collective social media following of 70 million and have included “Dr. Pimple Popper” Sandra Lee and plastic surgeon Dr. Richard Brown of TikTok fame, would all be available via DM, group “ask me anything” sessions, or one-on-one video chats to those who buy in. MetaDocs founder Dr. Sina Joorabchi hopes it will evolve into a full-fledged virtual clinic in the so-called metaverse, where patients can put on a haptic suit and be examined remotely by a physician in virtual reality.
But now, MetaDocs is facing backlash from the medical community, in part because it is not actually licensed as a telemedicine service and thus its doctors cannot legally make diagnoses, write prescriptions, or give personalized medical advice to anyone who buys a MetaDocs NFT. A further wrinkle: Doctors are almost always required to be licensed in a state in order to practice there, including through telehealth services.
“At this point, we’re hesitant to refer to anybody as a patient,” Dr. Dustin Portela, a MetaDocs physician and practicing dermatologist, told BuzzFeed News.