Roni Zeiger, ex-leader of Google Health, and Gilles Friedman, founder of ACOR, teamed up to create Smart Patients and giving a chance to cancer patients to take matters into their own hands.
Smart Patients is an online community where cancer patients and caregivers learn from each other about treatments, clinical trials, the latest science, and how it all fits into the context of their experience.
There are more and more ways for crowdsourcing clinical questions, and the newest addition to the family of web tools and services is Figure 1, a photo sharing site for healthcare professionals. Registered physicians can share images, learn from others and bookmark useful cases.
I’m not sure this is what the medical community requires right now, but I’m always curious about further developments.
According to the co-founder, Joshua Landy, MD:
“I developed Figure 1 because I wanted a safe way to share medical images with the medical community, while protecting patients’ privacy.”
I’ve written about Curetogether.com several times (1, 2, 3, 4 and 5) since 2008 and it was quite an obvious step that 23andMe, the Google sponsored genomic company acquired them this week. It was obvious because Curetogether has a pro-active community while 23andMe wants to connect genomic changes to different phenotypes or even lifestyles.
It seems we are having more and more community sites these days. Google+ (which can be quite useful in healthcare anyway), then Pinterest and now So.cl, the community site of Microsoft. I liked the name (even if they had to register a domain name of Chile for that), but I’m wondering whether it could be used in medical communication at all.
Now it looks like a playground for the search engine Bing.com, but nothing more. According to Technorati:
Microsoft’s So.cl, pronounced “Social” is a product of Microsoft’s research lab Fuselabs. The site offers enhanced features such as Explore, Feed, Post, Video Parties and the ability to share any web content.
It looks like Microsoft has indeed created its own social network to compete with the likes of Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Pinterest. The timing of the launch is perfect, since Microsoft silently launched So.cl two days after Facebook became a public company.
Do you think it has a momentum in the healthcare space?
I’ve recently found some new and interesting services. Here they are:
Labguru: Plan experiments, track progress, get results.
Epi.md: It’s time to make health care social.
Medify: “Our goal is simple: to help you and your family more easily navigate, stay current, and manage the often complex process of finding answers, while empowering you to get help from those you trust most.”
Find The Best: Data driven comparisons of many healthcare-related devices and services such as electronic medical records.
I guess you have heard about HealthTap, I even saw Ron Gutman’s talk at Stanford a few months ago. I’ve never thought that letting patients ask questions and letting physicians answer these questions without providing clear credentials, without knowing or seeing the patient in person is a good idea. To be clear, I think it’s a very dangerous idea, because people will probably use the service and while this Q&A approach would work in all areas, medicine is an exception. Practicing medicine happens in person, through real doctor visits, or even when online communication between doctor and patient is encouraged, a first real meeting is required (remember the model of Jay Parkinson,MD?).
I just found a great article covering this issue. An excerpt:
[U]sers post questions and doctors post brief answers. The service is free, and the doctors aren’t paid. Instead, they engage in gamelike competitions, earning points and climbing numbered levels. They can also receive nonmonetary awards — many of them whimsically named, like the “It’s Not Brain Surgery” prize, earned for answering 21 questions at the site.
So far, so good. But there’s more. The professional credentials of the physician answering your question, such as a board-certified specialty, are not available on the site. Instead, you get a crowdsourced “reputation level” built up by accumulating HealthTap awards, by clicks of approval from other doctors and by other measurable activities at the site.
The advice itself is limited to 400 characters, a length the Times worries is “hardly well-suited for providing nuanced answers to some medical questions.”
I would love to hear what you think!