Healthcare // Patient Tools
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4/18/2014
11:05 AM
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Can Crowdsourcing Beat Dr. House?

Startup CrowdMed uses a mix of prediction market software, crowdsourcing, and gamification to help patients gain insight from hundreds of medical detectives.

best response. CrowdMed then rewards that detective. Or, to incentivize detectives to weigh in on their cases, patients can offer a cash reward to the most informative medical detective.

"Ninety percent of the cash reward goes to the medical detective who does the best job solving your case, and 10% comes to us. The average cash award on the site is $250," says Heyman. "On top of that, we have an optional expert case-review for $99. It's to help make sure you're asking the question correctly, using the right terminology, and making a good case."

CrowdMed hopes to work with insurers in the future, believing its site will help payers save money on unnecessary doctor visits, prescriptions, and tests. In the meantime, technology allows the site to run lean, according to Heyman.

"From when a patient submits a case to us, all the way to when they get the results, our site is 100% automated. Even if we only make $25, we don't have to put any marginal effort into a case."

Since CrowdMed only shares suggestions with users, it is not prescribing treatment or acting as a healthcare provider, Heyman tells us.

"We talked with a lot of attorneys when we were developing this because healthcare is a heavily regulated field. We wanted to make sure we weren't running into heavy liability. We wanted to make sure our medical detectives were protected. We are an information resource. We are simply providing diagnostic and solution suggestions to discuss with their doctors. We are an info resource like Wikipedia or WebMD."

Would you consider taking a medical condition to a crowdsourced site for advice? Would you offer health suggestions via CrowdMed? Let us know in the comments.

Download Healthcare IT in the Obamacare Era, the InformationWeek Healthcare digital issue on the impact of new laws and regulations. Modern technology created the opportunity to restructure the healthcare industry around accountable care organizations, but IT priorities are also being driven by the shift.

Alison Diana has written about technology and business for more than 20 years. She was editor, contributors, at Internet Evolution; editor-in-chief of 21st Century IT; and managing editor, sections, at CRN. She has also written for eWeek, Baseline Magazine, Redmond Channel ... View Full Bio

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Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
4/21/2014 | 4:01:30 AM
Re: Wisdom of the Crowd
Ariella, 

"She just brushed it off, saying her patients had never complained."

Maybe they all died before they could reach her. Seriously, she could kill someone if she thinks the side-effects won't affect anyone, ever. 

Once something similar happened to me. Since then, I always do my own little research on the Internet before even going to the pharmacy. 

Dr.House? I'd love to have a Dr.House around. 

-Susan

 
Juan MarioI563
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Juan MarioI563,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/20/2014 | 4:50:56 PM
Re: Wisdom of the Crowd
Really interesting Alison, thanks!

I think that you would be really interested in some of the most cutting-edge research that I have come across explaining crowds, open innovation, and citizen science. 

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=1919614

And you may also enjoy this blog about the same too: 

https://thecrowdsociety.jux.com/


 Powerful stuff, no?

 
Ariella
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Ariella,
User Rank: Ninja
4/19/2014 | 9:04:12 PM
Re: Wisdom of the Crowd
@Alison yes, sometimes doctors have rather limited views. For example, a doctor prescribed a medication for me once that made me feel very sick. I called her to ask about it because I saw the insert warned about just that side-effect. She just brushed it off, saying her patients had never complained. Right, so even if she has had several hundred patients taking that medication, that hardly represents the entire population.  But Dr. House would likely not ever trust the crowd over his own intellect. 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
4/19/2014 | 11:38:12 AM
Re: Wisdom of the Crowd
Alison, 

Very interesting. 

 "At the end of her struggle she ended up knowing more about her disease than most doctors because she ended up living it."

Exactly. This is precisely what many doctors fail to understand. 

It's infuriating when they think they can know more about how you feel, or what is normal or not in you than yourself. They love generalizing. Having the possibility of consulting the "crowd" sounds like a great idea that could help lots of people with not so easy diagnoses. At least, it's better than having the opinion of only one person who might be wrong. 

-Susan 
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
4/18/2014 | 4:50:27 PM
Wisdom of the Crowd
Having been in a similar position at one point, passed from doctor to doctor and receiving no real assistance (although most were very nice), I understand the allure of asking "the crowd" for suggestions. These could include the type of condition, which type of doctor to see, and what to do next, all good information when you're running into medical dead-ends. I think it was smart to allow the general public to participate as detectives if they know enough about a certain condition. It would be interesting to see the software in action, to see how the crowd performed in test cases where the diagnosis was known to testers but not the system or its detectives. 
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
4/18/2014 | 12:30:01 PM
Weigh in, doctors
I am curious to hear what doctors think of this idea. The dark side would be if a patient invested a lot of time in a crazy theory. Weigh in please, health pros. 
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