Imagine the world where patients with similar symptoms and disorders can get together and share their experiences about their struggle and symptoms. By connecting and contacting other patients with the same ailment, the new patients gather information and better prepare themselves or take precautions that improve their health. Not only that, but doctors also discuss their treatment plans and diagnosis, it gives way for better ideas on this forum. Started by Ben and Jamie Heywood in 2006 as a result of their brother’s ALS diagnosis and lack of community/forum to share diagnosis on this disorder prompted their action, Patientslikeme is a free community forum connecting patients where you can share medical information.
“We started with the assumption that patients had knowledge we needed, rather than we had the knowledge they needed. We didn’t have the answers, but patients had the insights that could help us collectively find them.” -Jamie Heywood, Co-founder, and Chairman
Around 23,000 patients have signed up for this venture in five chronic diseases categories-HIV (AIDS), ALS, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and psychiatric disorders (mood disorders). Presently, it has grown to about 300,000 patients have registered and entered their data for about 2300 diseases/disorders. It is one of the largest patient communities online. So the questions arise:
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Why is it successful?
Patientlikeme works in following steps:-
- First people share data like outcomes, symptoms, among other information.
- Next, the data set is gathered and turned into millions of data points about the disease.
- Data is aggregated and analyzed to infer new insight into the problem.
- It is “give data, get data” policy they have adopted. Whatever new insight is gained is open source.
- The patient information is shared with the policymakers with the hope that better facilities are provided.
- It is a free website, and revenue is generated using data gathered from patients and sold to drug and device makers, and pharmaceutical companies.
- It facilitates drug and devices trials by providing data.
The success of Patientlikeme, therefore, depends on following factors:-
- Whether the patients choose to share his/her information. So far, 23,000 patients have agreed to share their details.
- Whether it remains free to access.
- Also, the ease at which experiments are assisted is a matter of concern.
Why is it successful then?
- As it is one of the most famous free online patient platforms, patients come online and share their data/information. It is compounded by the fact that more data they share, more they are benefited in the end, and it is true for both the website and patient.
- Now, this data is used by the third party, which creates drugs/medical equipment/treatment plan based on this information.
- Now the patient gets better facilities/equipment based on the feedback/information they provided.
- And thus, the cycle repeats.
- It brings more active participation of people in making decisions concerning their health.
Competitors of Patientslikeme
Following are the competitors for Patientlikeme:-
Role of patients in future healthcare
The universal adoption of Electronic Health Records and smartphones apps used for health purpose is to push forward the role of patients in future health care. Online visitations are increasing the patient participation in healthcare, and digitalization has allowed patients to be more aware of their health condition. Medicine is becoming more patient-centric. The physician is no longer the central advisor but is part of the team to the patient care. The entire health care shall evolve with more participation for patients in their treatment, and the procedure shall become more transparent. The whole health care shall become digitalized. Also, with better access to medical data provided by patients, drug discovery, pharmaceuticals, etc. shall be accelerated and patients will play a more active role in these medical procedures.
Image credit: www.medtechboston.medstro.com