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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Crowdsourcing rare diseases for patients - Crowdmed

I recently discovered two crowdsourcing sites for medicine after starting to wonder how it would work in an ehealth type of application. Strangely, they both have a similiar name and function if I am not mistaken, medcrowd.com and crowdmed.com.  I am going to talk a little about Crowdmed as it looks more interesting.

To my mind, this is a very powerful crowdsourcing site to fetch opinions on rare medical conditions without an IBM Dr. Watson nearby. Is is a trusted source of information? I wouldn't know, but I like the way the site works, according to this article in the new scientist:
Anyone can join CrowdMed and analyse cases, regardless of their background or training. Participants are given points that they can then use to bet on the correct diagnosis from lists of suggestions. This creates a prediction market, with diagnoses falling and rising in value based on their popularity, like stocks in a stock market. Algorithms then calculate the probability that each diagnosis will be correct.
Here is the welcome email from the founder and CEO Jared Heyman:

Here’s a quick refresher on how CrowdMed works:
  1. Patients complete a questionnaire, which collects information regarding their symptoms, medical history, family history, basic demographics, medications, and lifestyle.
  2. Once a case is submitted, CrowdMed invites hundreds of Medical Detectives (“MDs”) to recommend potential diagnoses and bet on the ones they think are most likely.
  3. CrowdMed’s patented prediction market technology harnesses ‘the wisdom of crowds’ and provides patients with a short list of the most likely diagnostic suggestions to discuss with their doctor.
I started CrowdMed because I watched my younger sister, Carly, suffer through three years of debilitating symptoms, visits to two dozen doctors and specialists, and over $100,000 in medical bills before she was finally diagnosed with a rare but treatable illness. She was CrowdMed’s first test case, and our phenomenal community of Medical Detectives collaborated to accurately solve her case in just a few days, proving that large crowds working to solve a problem are often smarter than even the most expert individual. I want to share CrowdMed with other patients so they don’t have the same experience Carly had. Read more about CrowdMed’s story.
To get started, log in to CrowdMed and choose ‘Solve a case’ or ‘Submit a case’. And don’t forget -- for every 1,000 points you win solving cases on CrowdMed, you can donate $1.00 to the patient of your choice on Watsi and potentially help save two lives at once.
We love to help bring patients one step closer to the right diagnosis and treatment, so please visit CrowdMed today!
Together, we can help save lives.
Jared Heyman
Founder, CrowdMed